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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   November 2008

How to Grab the Media's Attention

Want to make the news — in a good way? It's possible and often, not costly

Many mortgage brokers agree that it would be nice to have a full minute of advertising time during the nightly news or a front-page ad in the regional newspaper. These outlets are often too expensive for most brokers, however.

But there are ways to be featured in these prominent spots without investing a single dime in advertising. Doing something newsworthy as a business can help you garner media attention. Here are some ideas for newsworthy activities:

  • Host basic finance classes for people struggling or recovering from foreclosure because of the recent real estate crisis. Hosting these classes at your office will also allow your location to be featured.
  • Sponsor an annual charity event. You could start something as simple as a food drive or a walk-a-thon. Choose a cause that you are passionate about and create an event that will be of the most benefit.
  • Support local and current causes. When a hurricane hits, for example, many companies nationwide receive press acknowledgement for the things they do to help the victims.
  • Volunteer for interviews and discussions about industry matters. The more you can present yourself as an expert, the more likely reporters will call you to discuss industry-related issues, such as the recent housing bill or economic bailout, when they are in the news.
  • Volunteer with local government agencies. Offering your services as an adviser for events or activities with local officials can present even more opportunities for the spotlight to shine on you and your company.

Once you've gotten the interview about your event or about an issue, you must present yourself and your company in the best-possible light.

Start by practicing. The best way to know how you look and sound on camera is to be on camera. Ask someone you trust to film you and to ask you questions while filming. When reviewing the tapes, you will catch mistakes and adjust to present the best image on camera.

Consider taking a public-speaking course. The more comfortable you are speaking in front of a crowd, the more comfortable you will be in front of the camera.

Stay on top of current information about the subject on which you will be interviewed. Spend some time each day discovering the benefits of your actions, current news on the subject and even just mulling over how you personally feel about all that you know. If you understand the subject and are up-to-date, you will present a strong and educated image for your company.

Finally, avoid controversy. Some people say that any publicity is good publicity, but that's not always true. If you want the public to seek your services, you must be trustworthy. If there are problems or concerns brewing about your company, then you'll be better off pulling away from the event, situation or activity.

The news media can be some of the least-expensive outlets for promoting your business. By getting involved in the community and preparing for the spotlight, you can earn coverage in the prime spots.


 


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