Who do you think would be the best person to write a book on how to get free publicity? A corporate PR person or a TV news reporter.
If Jeff Crilley's Dallas presentation on June 25th is any indication, it’s a TV reporter. Mr. Crilley, an Emmy Award winning journalist, decided to write his book Free Publicity, when he discovered that all the PR books were written from the PR point of view.
Just like his book, Crilley’s brilliant presentation was filled with entertaining stories. Here’s one of many stories he used to deliver his wisdom.
When the Dallas Stars made their first Stanley Cup appearance, a news frenzy occurred in Dallas. A throng of reporters and a crowd gathered outside Reunion Arena before the first game. Two brothers who own a small Dallas ice company showed up at Reunion with a six-foot tall ice sculpture of the Stanley Cup. Asking for interviews, reporters pounced on the brothers.
Crilley ended up in a heated debate with a reporter from another station because they both wanted to report live at the top of the news hour with the brothers. Seeing the commotion, the brothers couldn’t hide their catbird smiles. They were featured on every Dallas newscast that evening.
The teaching point? Well, there are many. Here's one point: Don’t fight the news feeding frenzy. Instead, come up with an angle that feeds into the big story.
After telling this story, Crilley noted -- I don’t know how many Stanley Cup ice sculptures they sold, but I’m sure they got plenty of calls from brides who wanted an ice swan for their wedding.
For a successful media event, Crilley suggests -- just add reporter. To make this approach work, you need to provide visuals, craft a story, and evoke curiosity. Once you’ve created an experience, call your reporter. He’ll remember your efforts and start calling you for stories.
I’ve found that curiosity is a powerful marketing force. The last thing you want to do is bore somebody -- whether in person, in print, or on television. Boredom pushes people away from you, while curiosity pulls people toward you.
Look! What’s a six-foot tall ice carving of the Stanley Cup doing outside Reunion Arena? Let’s go and find out.I wasn’t at Reunion that day, however, I can picture a crowd being drawn to a glistening Stanley Cup.