Saturday, May 24, 2008

52. Know How to Tell Your Story in the Media

Publicity is by far one of the most effective marketing tools at your disposal, but how do you promote yourself to the media so that they will give your growing business the spotlight it needs?

Storytelling. That's right, because ultimately, business stories are human interest stories and every reporter is looking for a good story. In fact the press refers to the articles they write as stories. Here are 4 things you need to give the press to help them tell your story:

1. Personality. "A company is faceless without the people who run it," says Joanne Cleaver, a business writer whose work has appeared in Home Office Computing and Dividends Magazine. "In any story, you want the personality of the people to come through. You want to get a sense of who they are."

2. Facts & Figures. Reporters love facts and figures; they anchor a story in reality. However, if you prefer not to divulge sales figures, talk instead about your rate of growth. Say, "Our commissions have doubled in the last year," or "We've already met our objectives for this year, and it's only July."

3. Anecdotes. As impressive as numbers can be, they are not the whole story. Real-life examples of how you solved a client's problems bring your story to life. According to Cleaver, "Readers want to hear about real people, they respond to that. Your story says I've been there." Tell the stories behind the facts and embellish them with details that would make someone want to listen (This is where drama comes in handy).

4. Details that Reveal. Reporters have their antennae up for interesting details about the people behind the companies. More and more, that's the approach that reporters are taking, so you need to be open and to share details. Maybe the contents of your refrigerator reveals something insightful about your marketing strategy, or the fact that you work best in the nude. "No business experience is a straight line. Your motivation and vision for the business is affected by who you are. Think about the attitudes that have played into your success or your experience, " says Cleaver.

From The Art of Self Promotion #22, How to Tell Your Story in the Media by Ilise Benun