Picking up some news as an afterthought remains a familiar practice even in the digital age, whether it’s grabbing a New York Times with your Starbucks or a USA Today while waiting to board an airplane.For a company with deep pockets, CNN may become the next great news impulse buy.Rupert Murdoch has made a bold, $75 billion bid for Time Warner. While the purchase is far from a certainty, one of the many possible side effects of such a deal would be CNN going up for sale, in order to avoid antitrust problems due to conflicts with Fox News. CNN’s sale, if it happened, could fetch an estimated $6 billion to $8 billion, an unnamed person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. (1)Speculation abounds regarding which company would want to pick up CNN, should the cable network become available. Popular guesses include CBS, Disney and Yahoo. Google, while less likely, has also been mentioned as a contender; Porter Bibb, managing partner at Mediatech Capital Partners, pointed out that the network could be a perfect complement to Google-owned YouTube. (2)This speculation got me thinking: What about Facebook?Facebook announced earlier this year that it would acquire WhatsApp for $19 billion. That price was around three times the estimated value of CNN, for a company that had, at most, $300 million in revenues at the time the deal was announced. I have no opinion about the WhatsApp deal, mostly because I have almost no idea what WhatsApp does. (At my age, this ignorance is permitted, though not encouraged. Thanks to Google I understand, vaguely, that WhatsApp lets users send messages and share information, which I thought I was already doing.) I do know, however, that CNN has real viewers and makes real, though not vast, profits.I spend a big portion of each day gathering information. I troll a variety of news sites to find out about things that are important to me. I also check Facebook to find out about people who are important to me. Because those people often share and comment upon news items, and because I sometimes react to the things they share, Facebook undoubtedly already has some idea which topics are important to me. If Facebook wanted to save me the trouble of scanning six news sites a day, I’d be happy to tell them more.It has long been a given that Facebook wants to know as much as possible about what its users do all over the Internet. And of course Facebook wants to maximize the amount of time its users spend on Facebook itself. So why wouldn’t Facebook want to get into the business of providing me with news that I, in turn, might share with my friends? It would mean my friends and I would all spend more time on the social network, which is exactly what Facebook and its advertisers ultimately want.Facebook also has a history of acquisitions, not all of which were intuitive from the outside. In a smaller deal than its WhatsApp purchase, the company acquired virtual reality start-up Oculus VR earlier this year. Bystanders have guessed that the acquisition was everything from a vanity purchase by CEO Mark Zuckerberg to a long-term attempt to develop a Google Glass competitor. Either way, Facebook has demonstrated that it is willing to reach outside its existing model. Comparatively, a news organization would not be much of a stretch.Zuckerberg is a bright guy who has some cash at his disposal. He doesn’t need me to tell him how to spend it. If he can snag CNN for, say, $7 billion, it would be roughly the equivalent of me picking up People magazine at the checkout counter. (In my case, just a copy of the latest issue, not the actual publication itself.) If CNN catches Zuckerberg’s eye, there is no doubt he’ll know what to do with it.So it wouldn’t shock me if Facebook got into the news business. It would seem to be one of the more logical ways for the social network to go about filling its users’ news feeds.Sources:1) Bloomberg, “Fox’s Carey Dropped Bomb on Time Warner’s Bewkes Over Lunch”2) Bloomberg, “CNN Said Valued at Up to $8 Billion by Fox in Time Warner Deal”
We all know what an electricity generator is and does, but when it comes to getting media exposure for your business, how good is your “publicity generator?” If you think about it, there are a lot of similarities between the two. Whether it is your business’s electricity generator or its publicity generator that fails, either way you will be left in the dark. The key to seeing the light is knowing how to generate your own “publicity electricity” and plugging yourself into multiple outlets — media outlets that is.Whether it is magazines, newspapers, TV, radio or the increasingly popular online news outlets, media sources all over the nation are constantly in search of stories from small and large businesses. EVERY business in the world has at least some element of it that is newsworthy. It just requires you to fire up that publicity generator and shine some light on it for the media to see.WHERE DOES PUBLICITY ELECTRICITY COME FROM?
There are a number of publicity angles, but the most well received publicity campaigns I have ever managed involved problem/solution businesses or products. Media outlets, especially trade specific ones, will often profile businesses or products that are uniquely solving a problem in a respective industry. It helps to present the editor with the problem, then provide some brief research or statistics — not sales or ad text, just facts — and show how your business/product can help solve the problem. Case studies work great. Show an editor or reporter how your business positively affected one of your clients and how it can provide similar benefits to others. This may also help get some free publicity for your client as well.Other great newspegs are novelty or human-interest elements. If your business has a product or service that is truly unique, unprecedented or cutting-edge, that lends itself very strongly to an effective publicity campaign. A newspeg gives the editor/reporter/producer the reason to run your story as opposed to the hundreds, if not thousands of other story ideas that he/she sees each week. To say that you have a new widget is not enough. What is different about this widget? What implications does the business/product have and how would it affect the industry or consumer market? And finally, and most times overlooked, is there an intriguing human-interest story involved? Where did the idea come from? Did anything interesting happen during the business/product development stage? Or do the people behind the scenes of the business have interesting story to tell? All of these newspegs are potential publicity generators for you and your business.PLUGGING IT IN
Now that you have your viable publicity generating prongs, how do you find the media outlets in which to plug them? Conduct meticulous media market research to find those outlets applicable to your campaign. In my extensive research for my clients, I find media outlets whose editorial profiles match the client’s business/product profile and pitch accordingly. You or your staff can do the media research at a local library or you can find a PR specialist or agency that can help you. Another great way is to use editorial calendars of media outlets and plug yourself into those opportunities. If you find that a magazine or newspaper is planning an upcoming feature on Innovative New Office Products, prepare your media kit for your new widget and pitch the appropriate editor.One bit of advice — don’t expect exclusive and extensive. Very few businesses or products (with the exception of publicly traded ones) get multi-page stories written exclusively about them. Although that can certainly happen, most mentions are in the context of a themed story or article, but can generate very strong responses.I’m sure you’ll find that once you generate your best “publicity electricity” — you will be shocked at the interest you can generate.
Do you remember the 1980’s hit by The Human League ‘Don’t You Want Me?’. The tale of a svengali who picks up a waitress in a cocktail bar and turns her into a success. She then desserts him and he wants her back.Life though is a little different. When we go to work and do a job our employers have a need for us. But they can call the shots and when they don’t want you they simply make you redundant. It’s not a nice feeling is it?I know this only too well. The worst one for me was in the 1990’s. I was running a TV production company and writing, editing and co-presenting a daily business news programme.One wet Tuesday afternoon the boss took me outside and told me ‘Oni I’m expanding my business.. but I’m using your salary to do it’. You can imagine my thoughts. A bit like Phil Oakey from Human League. Don’t, Don’t you want me?The answer in this case was a resounding no. If that’s similar to you then I know exactly how you feel. Redundancy, or the threat of it no matter when it comes is always a shock.Given the problems in the media at the time my reaction was to start a business. Then the internet was in its infancy and my focus was on franchising. I started and still run a successful contract cleaning business.If the same thing happened today I would be looking at an internet marketing business. There are often good reasons for this and they should resonate with you when considering an online future.Firstly, there are extremely low start up costs. My franchise business ran into several thousand pounds and I had to borrow the money against my home.Online you need much less and can create and develop your own products.Second, you don’t have to trudge round businesses or networking groups trying to sell your products. Once you have an online presence you can use various ways, SEO, PPC, Blogging, Article writing to drive traffic to you.Third, unlike multi-level marketing you don’t have to buy a range of products or services you don’t really need and then have to sell the idea to others or post catalogues through doors and collect them and order later.Fourth, you don’t have to take on staff who may or may not turn up and do what they want. I’ve had my share of these some of whom let me down badly. You can work alone or with a partner and put in the effort to be successful.Fifth, you don’t have to give up your time and put in a lot of physical effort. Online business can be set up to run on autopilot. You can do the work once and then let it work on its own without you having to do it yourself.So here you have five reasons to think online rather than offline. It is simpler, easier and a lot less hassle than traditional businesses. I’ve been in both and can assure you this is a lot less complicated than anything I’ve done before.An online marketing business can be run from almost anywhere and provide you with a good income in the short, medium and long term. All you need is some help.So ‘Don’t You Want Me?’.