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Carolyn Moncel

It's the Little Details that Can Make or Break a News Story

 

by Carolyn Moncel

Have you ever heard of the saying, "One person's trash is another person's treasure?" Well, that statement is a true one, but never more so than in the realm of media relations where so many small-business owners find it so difficult to garner media coverage for themselves or their companies. Allow me to illustrate my point below in an actual incident that happened to one of my clients and the lessons we learned from this experience.

 

One day a new client approached me about getting media coverage for her company. She had tried writing and submitting press releases on her own but with little luck and decided that it was time to contact a media relations company. We made an appointment to meet and we discussed her business and brainstormed about ways in which to secure coverage in a creative and affordable way.

 

During that meeting and subsequent other ones, I became very familiar with her business and learned why she was so successful. But it was in a casual conversation, which had little to do with her business, that I learned about the information that would allow me to secure news coverage for my new client.

 

This particular client is a visual arts designer and runs a very successful business in the Midwest, but her one true passion since childhood is gymnastics. She participated in the sport as a child. She still follows the sport on television and even incorporates the sport into the name of her company. I learned that she liked to have people take photographs of her performing handstands near historic structures, and that she had done this all around the country.

 

It was through that conversation that I learned that she even had a photo taken of her performing a handstand just outside of the World Trade Center several years ago. I asked her why she hadn't shared this information with me earlier and she said, "It was such a little thing that I really didn't think it was very important."

 

In reality, it was that little-known fact that sealed the deal for local newspaper coverage. When I spoke with the reporter, I I was able to strategically mention this "little" fact to the reporter and explain that I could supply the actual photo. It mattered less to the reporter that this client was a self-published author and ran a successful business. While all of that information was great, it was the World Trade Center photo that peaked the reporter's interest. In the end, instead of receiving a small blurb in the newspaper, which was what we really expected, she in turn got a front-page story complete with her photo and references to both her business and her love for gymnastics. Plus, this was a very affordable decision because the client could never have afforded an advertisement the size of that article generated.

 

The point that I'm trying to make is this. Sometimes small-business owners need to depend on the services of communication companies in order to secure media coverage. But whether you are dealing with a big agency or a boutique agency or a freelancer, it's always important to share every detail because sometimes it's the little details, which can make or break a story.

 

 

Carolyn Davenport-Moncel is president and founder of Mondavé Communications, a global marketing and communications firm based in Chicago and Paris, and a subsidiary of MotionTemps, LLC.
Contact her by
e-mail.

 


Do you have a media relations question? Ask Carolyn! Your questions could be featured in an up-coming article. If you enjoy reading the Shoestring PR articles then sign up for our monthly articles via email or visit our Mondavé Communications blog - it's free!

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