9 (More) Rules to Get Noticed in an Attention-Starved World

Written by Abby Nieten on October 23, 2012

Posted in Form Optimization

Remember Jared Ewy, yesterday’s guest blogger? You know, the guy who hitchhiked naked in order to generate publicity for his radio station (and failed – but learned valuable lessons from it!). Jared returns for part two of his two-post series on generating quality media attention for your company. In yesterday’s post, Jared asserted that the first rule of getting noticed is that you’ve got to make your content or your message matter. Now, Jared utilizes these next nine rules with his current company, name.com, to help them stay relevant (using methods that are actually relevant):

1. You don’t have to be crazy. It doesn’t have to be a stunt. Even better, it can be information that media entities know their interested parties want. Just look at the big, successful businesses’ Twitter feeds. They’re sharing easy-to-consume ideas from people who are sharing easy-to-use ideas. Sounds redundant, but it’s a big group hug that’s propagating useful data from one user to the next. It’s how the web works, and interestingly enough, is how actual, natural, flesh-y human discourse worked before the Internet made it more sanitary.

Example: You’re an expert, get a blog and a YouTube channel and share your expertise. Tutorials are huge!

2. Be proximate. Prepare your Top 5 list of the things you know. (You should have that on YouTube right now.) For example, if you’re a tech company and there’s a big story about a company’s website being hacked, then fire up that press release about the five or ten things people need to know to avoid being hacked. TV and radio morning shows love this, and Twitter and Facebook are almost embarrassingly lustful about it.

Example: We sent our “How to Transfer from GoDaddy” tutorial to the popular tech website Mashable during one of the many political firestorms that lead to a mass exodus of GoDaddy users.

3. Be there. You gotta share so people know you’re there. This means you’re retweeting and commenting on blogs and social media accounts that matter to you – so you’ll matter to them. This also means regularly sending out press releases about your company. People have to know you exist.

Example: Because we’ve been able to pay attention to our customer’s feeds and support issues, we’ve been able to build more conversations into simple social media testimonials and have even inspired people to create websites celebrating our company.

4. Create relationships. This is the second base of the “being there” concept. It’s the actual physical contact of meeting your local press. This could be taking a member of the local Twitterati out for coffee, or simply making that regular contact with the local media. Be warned: calling a reporter at a TV station may result in an empty feeling like, “She wasn’t even listening to me,” but these stations and publications are inundated with requests and story ideas. Be casual, be nice and be brief, and let them know you’re available for stories relating to whatever your expertise is. A lot of locks getting picked around town? Well, you’re the locksmith with advice. Is it bone cancer awareness month? You can offer discounted services to survivors and their families. But be patient. There was a time when bringing a box of donuts to a radio station got you time on the air, but declining revenues have management clamping down. No pay, no play. The good news is that you’re already creating the material (Rule 2 and 3) you can send to them on a regular basis.

Example: I send regular emails (short and hopefully helpful) to local business reporters. When there’s a story that affects the community and is in our field, they know who to turn to.

5. Be a part of something bigger. Look for opportunities to help. I look through the newspaper not just for news, but for instances where someone in the community needed assistance. In one case, a young man had lost his entire business to thieves. We took to the airwaves and helped raise money to get him back on his feet. The Denver Post and local TV both covered it. Now, with fundraising sites like IndieGoGo you can blast your social media audience with the opportunity to help. Plus, if you get your staff out helping people, this is the opportunity to get the pictures and stories a business needs for required depth online and in the community. I can’t tell you how many times I see on Twitter someone saying, “I use Name.com because they help the community.” If you’re going to build a brand, it might as well be a cool one.

Example: Does your community need a good Tweetup? We just did our first while helping some local families.

6. Give them something to look at. No matter the media, they want images. Facebook is starved for pictures. It can’t get enough, and you want your busy customers to care, give them a compelling image. This goes for video too, and never miss an opportunity for a good old fashioned press conference. The press wants fresh blood–new people to talk to–and  If you’ve got a bigwig coming to town with some interesting news, then don’t be afraid to hit up your press contacts for the photo op. But don’t forget the bloggers and the smaller industry news, because if the big TV station doesn’t care, you can fill the room with truly interested people and make that bigwig your best friend.

7. Your workplace is filled with stories. Every person in the room has something they can offer. At Name.com we use our staff for all of our marketing pictures and videos (why pay for talent when you’ve already got it?) Not only that, we’re about to embark on telling more of their stories, so that our customers recognize a human face, and the media sees a holistic picture of a company that will relate well with their followers, viewers, etc.

Example: This from my days at the Census Bureau. We found a need to humanize the workers going door to door. This started as a simple video campaign, and was sold to the media, like the Wall Street Journal, with various angles depending on the media source.

8. No one cares about you. If the first thing on your press release is that you’re offering a two for one sale, media isn’t going to blink unless you pay them to. Your customers might be giddy, but that’s the audience for a sweet sale price. Most media, even the terrifying new Internet, doesn’t much care about your BOGO if it doesn’t tell a story, help cure cancer or uplift a local child. Don’t be weak. If you’re going to spend time and effort on a marketing campaign, you might as well include some lost revenue as part of your investment for future gains.

Example: This is from a major fail where we didn’t invest enough to make people like our Facebook page, and it brings me to the next rule…

9. Don’t take yourself too seriously. That is all.