I got an interesting question from one of my subscribers:

‘I was wondering what would be the best way to market my new web portal business. Which reporters should I go after first?’

There are actually two answers to that question.

First, there is no ‘best reporter’ or best website, magazines, radio show, etc. That entirely depends on what you’re going to promote. For example, if you’re promoting a service or product that would be of interest to the general public, all of the major TV networks would be good resources.

So would the general circulation newspapers like USA Today, The New York Times, etc.

But, if you’re promoting a product that would only be of interest to a specialized, or ‘niche’ group, the major networks and general circulation publications would be of little use.

For example, if you’re promoting a service that repairs handpieces that dentists use, USA Today would not only be of little use, they would probably also have no interest in your story. You would be better off sending your press releases to the publications that only dentists read.

There is a way to turn that specialized story into a general interest story, though. Don’t just talk about the repair of dental handpieces. That’s specialized information.

Instead, talk about how you’re a single parent needing an additional source of income, for example.

Talk about how you started this business. Talk about how it’s changed your life and your economic situation.

Now you’ve got a story that would be of general interest.

On to the second part of the answer.

Whenever people ask me which TV network to send releases to or which national talk show to approach, my first question is:

‘How many interviews have you done already?’

Most people tell me that they’re just starting out with publicity, but they want to start with a bang.

That’s unquestionably the worst way to get started using publicity. The *only* way to start is by doing interviews with small radio stations and small newspapers.

Get your feet wet and learn how the ‘publicity game’ is played with these small media outlets. As you get more and more experience, move up to the larger media outlets.

It shouldn’t take long. A couple of dozen interviews and you’re probably ready for the big time.

If you jump right to the big time media outlets right away, like Oprah, USA Today, etc. you’re going to have problems.

It would be like you taking your first private flying lesson today and tomorrow trying to sit in the cockpit of a 767 jet. As soon as you sit in that seat, the other pilot will assume you know the rules. The same holds true for the media.

If you contacted Oprah and by some miracle you got on (you probably wouldn’t – you’d be screened out long before you got on), the people on the show would assume you know how to play the publicity game. Well, you don’t. You’d probably have a less-than-pleasant experience.

I’m certain many people get turned off to publicity because of this. It wasn’t the fault of the publicity process. It was simply that the person didn’t know the rules.

It’s easy and fun to get the experience you need. Then, when you’re ready for the big time, you’ll get the most out of the interview, including the most profit.

Be patient. Start small. Get the experience you need. Learn how to make sales using publicity. Then start moving up. Before you know it, you’ll be ready for Oprah.

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