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To Make the News, Become Newsworthy

By Rusty Cawley
Posted Saturday, October 23, 2004

The PR Rainmaker knows: Before you can attract a reporter, you must have something to report. It doesn’t get any more basic than that.

Far too often, the CEO calls in the PR team and says, “Get us some news media coverage.” All too seldom does the CEO stop to think, “What do we have to offer that the news media would want to cover?”

And yet so many executives, professionals and entrepreneurs fail to comprehend this simple fact.

Instead, they have their flack call the reporter and say something along these lines: “We have a great company and a terrific CEO. Are you interested in doing a story on us?”

Reporters hear this sort of lame pitch day in, day out. And you know what? It rarely works.

When it does work, it is because the journalist is very inexperienced or was already interested in your company before you called.

Beware of either situation.

An inexperienced journalist is as likely to get your story wrong as right and will probably churn out an article that will get poor play and little readership.

A journalist who is interested in your company before you call probably has an agenda in mind. Odds are this journalist will discard your message and focus on that agenda while pretending to deeply care about what you have to say.

Publicity is not advertising. It is not a product or a service for you to buy. You cannot place an order. You cannot dictate content. You are not in control.

You must negotiate for publicity with those who are in control: the news media. And that means you must give a good reporter a reason to report about your company.

You must be newsworthy. You must perform.

Copyright 2003 by W.O. Cawley Jr.

About the Author
Rusty Cawley is a veteran journalist who now coaches executives. For your free copy of the ebook “PR Rainmaker: Three Simple Rules for Using the News Media to Attract Customers and Clients,” visit (www.prrainmaker.com).