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Have you fried the dog? – everything you need to know about approaching journalists incorrectly

My son is 10 years old and like everyone at that age he's a wonderfully happy person, but last night I discovered what a disaster he is as a marketer.

We chopped onions and bragged to each other in the kitchen. He had come all the way to page 56 in his math book and he was proud. I was glad that a well known trade paper had written so much about my new book about young entrepreneurs.

He wondered how I could be so glad to be in such a extremely dull newspaper.
- “Because it's hard to be in it”, was my reply. “You really have to come up with something they think is new. There are thousands of companies every day who want to be involved with their news”.
(Pom, pom, pom from a cheerfully humming dad at the kitchen sink.)
And then he said.... Get ready now ... It comes as a shock, it feels like a taboo, as something that makes the blood in my veins run cold as ice (a ridiculous statement, but now I know how it feels).
- “But why don't you just pay them a grand so they'll want to write every time you have written a new book”?
I winced and looked down at him as if I didn't really understand what he said.
- “I would at least write whatever you wanted if I got a grand”, he continued blithely.

(In this situation I was gasping for air and groped for something to hold on to).
It was as if he just suggested that we would stir fry our dog.

Are you waving a grand?

What do you do when contacting the press with your news? Are you waving a large bill (and promises to publicize everything someone writes, promises attractive irrelevant samples? Are you embarrassingly unaware of all the shameful proposal journalists get every day, telling them that they shouldn't miss the opportunity to write about this or that if you offer them exclusive deals, demand that they write everything you tell them to, argue that your company supplies the magazine with ads, etc?)

Well, if you do you've fried the dog. If there is something journalists don't like, it's fried dogs.

But what should you do to get noticed by the press?


1. Think about what you're going to tell
The basic rule is that you should tell people something that is interesting for the newspaper, radio program, website or TV program users. The good news is something that makes a journalist go;”Is this really true.”If you don't have something interesting to tell, create it. It's also an interesting challenge for you to create something that might actually interest someone besides yourself.

2. Get perspective on your life
Take two steps back from what you want to tell. What problem does the thing you want to tell the world about solve? Circle the problem you can solve and write your press release from that perspective. Why is what you say important to others?

3. How can you tell?
Keep your news short. An A4 is enough to cover what you want to say.
This means that you answer the questions, what, who, how, when, where and why.

4. Don't sell
The difference between a sales letter and a really good press release is the tone. If your sales letter talks about the amazing, super tasty and in every way fantastic humidifier you just launched, then the press release informs people that 95 percent of all those who have dandruff live in an environment that is too dry. Do you see the difference?

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
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