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Monday, November 10, 2008

Good Stories Need To Be Told - Tell Yours!

Some Tips from The PEiR Group

A lot of people see reporters as scheming, conniving members of a slavering wolfpack who would do anything for story.

And you'd be partly right. Most self-respecting reporters
would do anything for a story. If you're smart - you'll
give them one. Yours.

We frequently talk with members frustrated by their seeming inability to get "the word" out about their business, about how it works and about how the industry works as a whole.

The right exposure may lead to new business, contact from prospective customers, and leads. Sitting on your hands gets you nothing. You're going to have to reach out... you may not always succeed, but eventually an editor is going to spot what you have to say and assign a reporter to help tell it.

Many people we speak with el feel they have no story to tell, don't know how
to get it out there, and don't want to pander to what they suspect may be a hostile press. To this we say - "hogwash."

We’ll be getting into this more deeply in the weeks ahead but if you feel some press coverage could benefit your shop, try this approach first:

Put yourself in the reporter’s position. The story you may want to tell may not be the one they want to hear. What’s big right now and working? Your Green Program. The press is interested in how old-school business is using new technologies to “go green.”
Here's how to "pitch" your story:

1. Prepare a list of your shop’s best practices. Detail how your green effort (or any other successful effort you have mounted lately) works.

2. Prepare a fact list of measurable data you can give the reporter, TV crew. Show them how your green plan, for example, lessens your shop’s impact on the environment in quantifiable terms they can understand. Use a "Green Calculator" to determine how many trees you were able to save using
recycled paper or how many tons of carbon emissions you kept out of the atmosphere with your recycling or hybrid programs.

3. Don’t be afraid to pitch them. We are finding that many traditional newspaper and television outlets are looking for businesses to profile. Be subtle and don’t oversell yourself. Make sure the guts of the story are there and waiting before you pitch it.

4. Online submissions. Newspapers and television stations are like any other business; they’ve had to scale back their staffs. Once verboten, online submissions are now an acceptable way of reaching reporters and editors with little time. Often, you can find email addresses for the entire staff on the company web site. Pitch the assignment editor or individual reporter.
5. Keep it short, Mac. Reporters are looking for an angle, something different to report. Give it to them.

6. Relax. A lot of people get nervous when the cameras and notepads come out. Don’t worry. Have your facts straight and offer to show the crew around (to they extent you are comfortable, of course). Remember, photographers love interesting subject matter – give it to them. Action and faces, action and faces. That’s what photographers are looking for.

Okay? Good luck and let us know when news of your shop hits the streets!

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