The media need you. Need information and expertise you offer, that is. But they are not encyclopedias. They donít serve up information. They serve up stories.
That heap of paper that thuds onto your doorstep early each morning Ė itís called a newspaper, not an information paper. And that evening broadcast you watch to catch up on dayís events? They call it Evening News, donít they? Not Evening Information.
The media take huge mass and swirl of information out there every day and spin it, by a process that seems magical but isnít, into what we all call news. Into stories. Simply put, news is whatís new. Itís what everyoneís talking about today. Whatever that may be. Or, itís whatever news media, in their judgment, think we need to know today, so we can all talk about it tomorrow.
First, letís just get our arms around this key distinction between news and information. Itís critical to getting meaningful publicity.
News and information: two different things.
The media take a raw ingredient Ė information Ė and condense, distill, sort, and package it into a product called news. News, whether in print, on TV, or Internet, is delivered in tidy little packages called stories.
Compared to your financial planning knowledge, news stories are unbelievably short, simple, and Ė sorry to sayóusually shallow. (Thatís not as cruel as it sounds: audience Ė your prospects Ė usually donít need to know huge amounts of information, to decide they may need your services.)
But those stories sure do pack powerful punch of immediacy, urgency, and relevance to daily life.
Information: a financial planner devotes an entire career to mastering intricate details of investing and managing a 401(k) retirement account.
News: Congress passes a far-reaching retirement savings law. Suddenly, millions of Americans face a deadline to make financial decisions that may affect their quality of life for decades. The financial planner explains new law succinctly and clearly in an interview aired on local TV news, and guides viewers through choices they face. The entire story is two minutes long, just right for general public. By contrast, when financial planner speaks on topic as an expert before an audience of her peers, she will present for an hour.