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How to put “media specialists” out of business

March 7, 2011

I haven’t had time to do a roundup this weekend, so this will have to suffice.

In a column in the Langley Advance, Roxanne Hooper urges those considering shelling out $40 to learn how to get the attention of reporters not to forget about the importance of advertising in newspapers.

During Hulnick’s session, she vows to teach Langley business operators the best seven steps to productive a media relationship. She’s called it Getting Your Story Told: Making the Most of Media Opportunities.

“Small business owners all face the same facts when it comes to promoting their business,” she says, daring to suggest that publicity is far less expensive and more beneficial than advertising.

And if that wasn’t enough to get my blood boiling, Hulnick claims: “You can save thousands of dollars in advertising expense if you can get reporters interested in covering your small business. But that’s not an easy thing to do.”

At least from reading through this preliminary materials, I have to disagree with Hulnick.

She paints a picture for businesses to cut their advertising budget and guaranteed community exposure. She suggests, instead, that businesses place all their hopes on a reporter (like me – in fact, it is me) who will hear or read about your story, determine it has merit, and allot space in the paper.

While Roxanne may disagree and it may be unspeakable inside a newspaper’s offices, I’ve gotta say that the media person is probably right. If you can get someone to cover your business, that is an opportunity not to be missed. I, for one, completely ignore advertisements in papers. Sorry, but it’s the truth. However, if you can get your business’s name in the editorial font, you can get my attention.

That said, it should be infuriatingly hard to get your business’s name into a newspaper’s editorial space. Only the most unique businesses—I’m talking something on the scale of an artist who tattoos clients while skydiving—should get covered. For the rest, advertising should be the only option.

Unfortunately, media specialists thrive on reporters and newspapers willing to cover banks that change locations and the like. If we really want to put them out of business and help the ad salespeople, it would be best to look after our own house first.

Elsewhere, Revelstoke Times-Review editor Aaron Orlando digs back into the Times-Review’s archives to look into a controversy surrounding a meteorite that was found near Revelstoke some 45 years ago (and which may, or may not, have links to extra-terrestrial life). Ironically, the meteor was first reported in the Times-Review on April Fool’s Day. It’s a fascinating story, but impossible to sum up in 30 words so I won’t try.

The Columbia Valley Pioneer, which I came across the other day because they’re hiring a reporter, has a terrific website that is simple but absolutely beautiful. The Cheers and Jeers sidebar which changes each time you visit the page is a highlight.

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This blog had more visitors in February than any previous months. It’s still a one man show, though, so any help would be great. It’s easy, quick and the pay is shite. E-mail bclocalreporter (at) gmail (dot) com.

Have I made an error? It wouldn’t be the first time. Leave a comment and I’ll shamefully update the post.

We’re making inroads into our census of B.C. community newspapers, but there are still a lot of blanks in the Journo-lust Spreadsheet. How many journalists work at your paper? How often do you come out? Who’s your publisher? Participation is free! The benefits unlimited! The exclamation points boundless!

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