CrowdSourcing Publicity and finding the traditional media stories for small business


Where can I brainstorm to find (Different, Emotive, and Simple) stories about my small business in order to craft messages that will catch the attention of traditional media?

Where do freelance journalists and publicists hang on the web? Is there a 99 designs equivalent for publicity?

I've just finished reading Mark Mathis's Feeding the Meeding Beast. Published in 2002, it is focused purely on traditional media (not blogs etc). He claims the media craves:

* Different

* Emotive

* Simple

I would like to know of any good web sites where I can get coaching / forum support on finding the stories that the media like.

My particular circumstance is promoting a Little Rock, AR Real Estate Brokerage for whom I've developed their MLS website. I've helped this firm grow during this down economy by helping them adopt all the latest and greatest of Web 2.0. Google Maps, Street View, Facebook, Twitter, and various Real Estate 2.0 Stuff. All these advancements has really helped with the viral (referral) aspect of his growth but now I want to venture into something more traditional (Newspaper, radio, magazine, broadcast). I would like to know how to package up these advancements and serve them to traditional media. I think any one of these advancements meet the "different/new" criteria; but not necessarily the Emotive and Simple criteria.

I think there is an Emotive/Simple angle I just need help brainstorming. Maybe something like

* "Traditional Brokers leave options on table while xyz forced to foreclose".

As you can see I need some help. Probably multiple rounds of brainstorming.

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asked Oct 30 '09 at 23:39
Jeffrey Hicks
313 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

2 Answers


I've recently worked on a project that involved a PR company - and in observing their work, basically observed how they would operate as they built up my client's profile from nothing to appearing on television. Quite an interesting process.

  1. Create a profile - This is your bio - a 25 word, 50 word, 100 word, description of who you are (or what your company does). Always insert the URL. This would be your elevator pitch (the shorter ones).
  2. Get initial writeups - This can be from blogs, or if you have your own company newsletters, get someone to interview you. You can also call up the metro section or the smaller business section of your local newspaper or local business magazine. Interviews are the easiest to start. You need to keep building this archive, so you'll have to call up the smaller magazines. Have students practice on you.
  3. Collect your writeups - This is key - each time you approach a new writer, magazine, newspaper, provide a dossier of all your (or your company's) appearances, articles, press releases, et al. You should have at least a dozen after a few months.
  4. Get a Media Guide - Depending on where you're at - I think you can get a copy at your local library. This is where you will get the numbers/emails/faxes for all the traditional editor desk info. Now, you should update your profile/opening cover letter with a "XXX has been interviewed/appeared on YYY/"
  5. Keep Calling - This is where the value of PR agency actually comes in, that they've worked with certain people before. The really fantastic ones know who to pitch you to though - as in, they know who they mavens are in a particular industry. You can leverage on LinkedIn to find out more about them.
  6. Advertise - Most magazines and papers would gladly do a write up on you if you advertise in the publication. This means that you would have to pay though, but still an option to keep in mind.
  7. Write Articles - If you keep a blog, then you already have some material - if not, seek to exchange content with the publication by offering to write something or cover an event for them. Editors are also looking for cool stories, so do drop them a lead when you find something really worthwhile - or if there's someone you can introduce them to write to.
  8. Progression - The buildup is to reach the national/mainstream towards the end of the cycle - ie, starting with blogs, appearances, events, reviews, press releases, radio (you'd be surprised once you have a stack of profile, how easy it is to get on radio, especially business radio), regional television, national radio, mainstream national. There's a lot of reference that each step of takes - where in each case you build up your profile to reach the next rung/level. Once you've been on radio a few times, you are deemed safe to be on air - and then later safe to be written about as you are "getting popular" being on radio/tv.
  9. Events - Once you have a "public profile" - it's very easy for you to get invited into meetings, events, conferences - where if you speak for free, they'd be glad to have you. There are Rotary club meetings and what not, depending on segment that you are targeting, you can also pursue townhall and association meetings.

There's a great read about ideas in this book called Made To Stick.

Hope this helps! Its a lot of work in the beginning, but once you're setup - it's done for life pretty much. The best feedback that you would get would be from the initial smaller publications/writers who would at some point (after you have some coverage) paraphrase your pitch - they'd like to help, but sometimes it seems that they would only help after you've been through a baptism of fire. Either that or after you sign a check.

answered Nov 13 '09 at 19:29
Alex Lam
699 points


We actually hired a local PR agent. She works especially with small businesses and gave us a really good rate (under $2000). Then, she got us into several trade publications and put us in contact with several bloggers.

I know that for small operations it can be tough to pay that kind of money, but it was really worth it.

Or am I missing the question entirely?

answered Oct 31 '09 at 00:05
880 points
  • Any experience people have had with getting PR helps. Thanks. – Jeffrey Hicks 14 years ago
  • Carefully track the stats on home sales, how many days to close; get quotes from agents who love the functionality. From there, you can build that story out to neighboring states. Build relationships with any large companies or real estate firms based out of Arkansas. Figure out the angles. Deep search competitors' websites (the MLS of neighboring states) for leads. People aren't interested in you or your product, they're interested in what it can do for them. Due to the competitive landscape in mass communications these days, story angle needs to be very tidy/attractive. – Publicrelate 13 years ago

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