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Carolyn Moncel

Finding Your Company's "Wow" Factor


by Carolyn Moncel

Sometimes when trying out a new PR angle for one of my clients or for my own company, I ring up my best friend in Chicago. Somehow by doing so and monitoring her reactions to my idea, I can accurately gauge whether or not the story will be receptive to the media.


My best friend's insight is always helpful; not because she's a reporter or a member of the media, but because she's your average newspaper reader and television news watcher. She represents the average reporter's audience. And if ever during a conversation she says, "Wow, I didn't know that!" I know that I've struck gold because it means that I've found the "Wow" Factor, and I probably have an interesting story to tell to reporters.


So what is this "Wow" Factor and why is it important? At its most basic level, it's a test for newsworthiness. In addition, I like to think of it as that certain something that ordinary readers just find interesting about any story. The information can be historical in nature, thought-provoking or eyebrow raising, funny or a satisfying tidbit for the curious minded.


Recently I put my friend to the test when a client from Paris, an American expatriate and cookbook author, was planning a small promotional book tour in selected cities around the United States. I worked on my story idea and when ready, I casually brought up the subject to my friend during one of our regular weekend gab fests.


I knew we had a winning story when in between bites of food my friend said, "Yeah, but I thought Paris was the 'food capitol of the world! How odd that you can't easily find soul food there!" Here was the "Wow" Factor I was looking for, and her reaction gave me the confidence I needed to proceed with pitching my story idea to local reporters back in the United States with great success.


Some Tips on Finding Your Company's "Wow" Factor


1. Look at your company's operations and accomplishments objectively. Too often small-business owners assume that because they know everything about their companies and the industries they represent that everyone else knows as well. Everyone doesn't know what you know so spread the word.


2. Keep a diary of interesting stories involving your company, and learn to view these stories as potential ideas for the media.


3. Dust off your company's fact sheets and statistics, and use these documents to develop your "Wow" Factor.


4. Share story ideas about your company with selected family or friends who are not directly involved in your business or industry.


The bottom line is this. The average business owner knows way too much about their business. That's why if a family member or friend finds your story interesting and says, "Gosh, I didn't know that!" then chances are, a reporter and his readers will have the same reaction. So the next time you have a PR angle for your business, go ahead and call up a good friend or family member before you reach for your reporter rolodex or database. Your family and friends can be your most honest critics. They think like members of the media and most importantly, they think like your potential customers. If you can impress them just imagine how many more folks you can wow!


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.
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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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