The zen approach to publicity

Fish hookThe secret to a successful publicity campaign is having a story that captivates your audience.

This means finding a ‘hook’ – the thing that captures the attention and imagination of the media as the crux of a great story.

For a new small business, the hook is often the thing that sets that business apart from its competitors – but sometimes this isn’t enough. Sometimes a business’s point of difference simply isn’t different enough – or fascinating enough.

So how do you find a sharp hook?

In my experience, the thing you expend heaps of energy looking for is more often than not right under your nose the whole time (hence the zen appoach). You just don’t see it because it’s too close – or you might even perceive it as an obstacle and be desperately trying to get around it.

This is where brainstorming with an objective consultant can be helpful. And while we are willing to enable our clients to run their own publicity campaign, one aspect of our service that I would highly recommend they pay good money for is our publicity planning session.

This is where the hook or hooks come to light. More often than not, a client will be talking about their business features and benefits, history and personality, when something small and sharp slips into the conversation – a hook. Instinctively I grab it with both hands (carefully of course) and show it to the client.

That’s a hook?, they exclaim in surprise.

The hook might be something that defines the way they do business, something that occurs between them and their clients every day, or even something that’s holding them back from their audience – but they don’t see these things because they are so used to them.

One example is our client, Mardon Recruitment. They wanted to raise the profile of the company. During our publicity planning session while examining Mardon’s services and business model, proprietor Angie Mardon happened to mention that she always provides a human resources consultancy service and report for every client – free of charge.

This had become such a familiar part of her business model, that she was surprised to see our jaws hit the table.

What a great hook.

Another client runs an IT cooperative, where programmers concentrate on producing innovative technology and software, sharing a communal workspace in a highly desirable seaside location, coming and going during hours that suit them, and enjoying regular brainstorming sessions over a beer and game of pool.

The products they aim to promote are remarkable – but their work environment even more so – providing a hook that’s likely to attract attention from a wide range of IT consultants and businesses.

For more inspiration on finding your hook, check out How to Find the Hidden Hook, which also links to Fishing for Hooks.