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
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
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
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!
you have a media relations question? Ask
Carolyn! Your questions could be featured in an up-coming
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