The Power of Publicity – Finding Your Media Niche

Whether you’re a business owner, manager, or PR director, chances are you’re always looking for ways to get your name noticed. While advertising is a good start, enhancing your advertising with publicity creates a perfect marriage of exposure for your business. What is publicity? It is non-paid communication to promote your business in a positive way using media carriers such as television, radio, magazines and newspapers. Through publicity, you build mutually beneficial relationships between your company and the public on whom your success or failure depends.

When it comes to publicity, most people think they can write a press release, send it to a TV station, radio station, or newspaper, and wait out the avalanche of phone calls. But time goes by… and after realizing there are no reporters knocking on their door, they make a few calls to the newsroom only to discover that no one reads the press release. All that time and work is wasted. You are back at square one and you start again, but to no avail. So how do you end the vicious cycle of disappointment?

Research can make or break your pitch

Research. Simply put, you need to know your audience and know your media market. And research is key to both. So first of all, you should review your post and ask yourself a few questions: Is it newsworthy? Is it consumer related? Does it have a local twist? Is it a visual story? Which target group am I targeting: how old is my target group and what is their intended household income? The answers to these questions will help you build your “pitch” and determine which media outlets to target.

While most people go for the saturation effect, looking for radio, television and print media at the same time, the reality is that your message may not be suitable for all media. So that brings us back to the exam table. Now it’s time to do some homework and find out where your message is most likely to get media attention.

How do I get on TV?

TV newscasts communicate with their audience through pictures and conversations. Producers look for newsworthy topics that are visual and entertaining or informative “how-to” segments. They want compelling conversations and photos that grab the viewer’s attention. They don’t want a “talking head” who scoops up statistics or blatantly plugs in a new book.

Worried that your message isn’t visual? Try this: ask yourself how you would explain your message to a child? Did that help you come up with pictures or simple words that fit your message? Those pictures or simple words can be translated into pictures for a TV story. We once had a life insurance company that wanted us to arrange local and national TV appearances for their CEO. The pitch we made offered interviews to discuss the importance of life insurance and why it is vital for women to protect themselves for the future. Sounds like you can sleep through it, right? But we offered more than just the interview. We had the client create charts and bullet points with short snippets of information showing the female versus male mortality rate. The TV channels turned them into graphics and voila – it became a very powerful visual story that was successful for our client and the media.

Also keep in mind that the morning, afternoon and evening newscasts are each aimed at a different audience. The early morning shows are mostly watched by working adults and families getting ready for school. Notice how the news formats shift to more of a talk and lifestyle segment sprinkled with news updates after 8am, when most commuters have already left for work?

Say your piece on Talk Radio

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Radio talk shows engage their audience through words rather than pictures. Most radio stations turn to local angles for interviews. So it’s important to find out if your post has a local connection or is important to your community.

Because radio doesn’t require visual props or photos, it’s suitable for just about any message, as long as you can spend 30 minutes discussing your topic. Since you are actually having a conversation with the listeners, you need to be well versed in your topic and be able to answer a lot of questions. Your message must also be current; something people want to talk about in the office water cooler or over coffee.

Radio talk shows, usually found on the AM dial, also vary from morning to evening. Morning shows have shorter interviews during this “driving time” to work. Talk show hosts don’t have time for a 30-minute interview because the morning shows are jam-packed with news, weather, and traffic information.

Afternoon programs were once known to be aimed at women, but that has changed because so many people listen to the radio at work. Now you will find many business shows aired during normal daytime working hours. After work you will find the second “driving time” of the day. Unlike in the morning, listeners are more relaxed. They are on their way home after a long day at work and there is more time to air a 30 minute interview.

In the evening it is a mixed audience of people listening in from home. And don’t rule out the scope of overnight interviews – while you may think no one is listening, think again! Nightly talk shows (from midnight to 5 a.m.) are very important because of nighttime jobs that attract listeners – 2nd and 3rd shift factory workers, public service workers, and many other industries that operate through the night.

Pushing yourself

Print advertising includes magazines and newspapers. Although they are two different vehicles, their requirements are similar to television. Your pitch should be newsworthy, entertaining, informative and in some cases even visual. Newspapers operate on tight deadlines, so don’t wait a week after a popular article is published to offer your expertise or an interview on the subject. Magazines, on the other hand, often have a turnaround time of 30 to 60 days. Research the publication you want to contact and make sure they have a reporter covering your topic or post. It is also helpful to provide quality images. For example, restaurants that offer a recipe, a gym that offers tips for a toned tummy, even the latest jewelry trends can all be accompanied by photos to support the story.

I have limited the search, now what?

Once you know what types of media you want to target, how do you know what TV stations, radio stations, or print publications are available in your area? You can always subscribe to some kind of media directory, but why do that when the internet is full of free media information? Some websites you may find useful are,,,, and You can also use a basic search engine and search for your city + media, for example, type ‘Tampa Media’. You will find a whole list of media channels at your fingertips.

Now that you’ve found a list of media contacts, you’re well on your way to creating a Power Publicity campaign to drive customers to your business. Now that you understand why it’s so important to find your media niche, next in our series we’ll focus on creating a powerful message. To be successful in publicity, you need to make your message specific to your target audience and then find the best media tool to drive your message home. That’s why pushing those standard press releases didn’t work for you in the first place.

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About Marsha Friedman:

mArsha Friedman is the CEO of EMSIncorporated, (EMSI) a leading advertising agency that has represented many well-known clients such as Motown’s Temptations, Teamsters Union President Jim Hoffa, Jr., National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, Bristol Myers Squibb, Financial TV personality, Jim Rogers and dr .Barry Sears.

About EMS Incorporated:

DURING THE DAY is a nationally recognized publicity company specializing in arranging interviews on radio shows across the country, appearances on local and national TV, and gaining editorial coverage in newspapers and magazines.