Surf’s Up

by Shonali Burke on September 21, 2010

Urgent News

“If everybody had an ocean…”
Surfing the daily wave of breaking news is the key to scoring media placements to help promote you and your business.

When news happens, the media scramble to find ways to relate it to the lives of their audience, including reaction from everyday people, and analysis and commentary from experts.

This is one place where you can come into the picture as a source to get some great publicity for you and your business.

Breaking… or not

What is breaking news though? Breaking news is news that develops spontaneously, isn’t planned and contains an element of surprise.

It’s news in the truest sense of the word — from “hard” news about national and world events, politics or major scientific breakthroughs, to entertainment news about celebrities or sports stars — breaking news is what drives the media.

Why it matters

What’s so great about tying your expertise to breaking news is that it answers one of the most fundamental questions for the media: Why should they care now?

If you surf the news daily, you should be able to find topics you can comment on and show off your expertise.

But with the 24-hour news cycle, stories are breaking continuously throughout the day. It can be hard to keep up with everything and easy to miss those opportunities where you score some valuable publicity.

The easiest way to do this is to add major news sites to your favorites or bookmarks on your computer and update your browser throughout the day as you are working.

Setting up news alerts from Google and other sources that will send them directly to your inbox or phone is invaluable,

but be sure to set up these alerts around the topics that fit your expertise.

Scan the headlines even when you don’t have time to read the articles.

Bonus tip: Become a fan of NPR on Facebook as they regularly use it to look for sources for stories they’re working on.

Finally, have your media contact list ready so when you see breaking news that fits your expertise and you think you can provide valuable content, move quickly to contact media.

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Image: Keith Ramsey, Creative Commons

20-year PR Veteran and Chief Creative Officer of Wasabi Publicity, Michelle Tennant Nicholson’s seen PR transition from typewriters to Twitter. Called a five-star publicist by Good Morning America’s Mable Chan, Michelle specializes in international PR working regularly with the likes of Oprah, Larry King, BBC, The Today Show and all major media. Recently she secured a Dr. Phil placement for a client within eight hours of signing the contract. Contact her at PR blog http://www.StorytellerToTheMedia.com where she teaches tips from the trade.

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