Thursday, May 31, 2007

One area I really struggle

Most business owners do not realise that they are an expert in their field. The media always require expert opinion when collating data for a story. How can you bridge the gap and get your business in the papers?

To do this affectively you need to keep a look out for any breaking story that is in the same line of business as yours. As an example say you are in the computer repair business and a story breaks out about a new virus doing the rounds. Contact the reporter or media organisation that broke the story and offer them your expert opinion.

At this point, do not talk about your business but rather focus on the story, possible solutions and problems if this virus is not controlled quickly. If you are lucky the newspaper will publish your expert opinion and next time a story requires further information they will get in touch.

Many people do not realise that the media organisations have an insatiable urge for new material. How can you fill this requirement? One way of helping the media is by writing articles. I sell franchises, so I write many articles about the franchise industry. I am careful that within these articles I never talk about my business but rather focus on the franchise industry.

I write about anything and everything to do with the franchise industry apart from the field I am in. The reason for this is that the media hates self promotion articles.

These articles have been published on many franchise websites, newsletters and magazines around the world. The only reference that the article was written by me is the signature at the bottom of the article which they are obliged to publish if they want to use my work. I call this viral marketing.

It is even better when the stories are published on the medias website as then you have live links back to your website. One article I wrote "Business Cultures Old and New" has been published in many different websites and publications around the world. It has been translated in many different languages.

I am actually amazed at which articles have worked for me. An article that I might have spent a week working on might never catch on whilst one that was written in ten minutes could really catch on. The secret is to write many articles and leave it the media to decide which ones they like.

One area I really struggle in is in creating a catchy headline. By chance I manage to get it right some of the times. I have noticed that the headline can make the difference between the article being successful or not.

Another useful bit of information is that negative articles tend to do much better then positive ones. People are much more eager to read about scams operating in your industry than they are about the opportunities.

I will leave you with on final thought. Never ever make up anything in your article and always research any facts that you include within. If you do quote any statistics, keep a record of where these came from just in case you are asked to substantiate your research. Your words will come back to haunt you if you have any half truths and your article does well.

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