Lessons learned in attracting mainstream media

- by Donn Pearlman Donn Pearlman is a former member of the American Numismatic Associatio­n Board of Governors.

It should be easy to attract the attention of news media and social media “influencer­s” to do coin collecting stories, yes?

After all, virtually everyone is interested in money. Oh, if only it would be that easy.

Here are some insider’s tips that may help you promote the hobby. Nothing is 100% guaranteed, but these ideas have been successful­ly used to promote coin shows, specific numismatic items and hobby personalit­ies.

First, if you aim for any general, non-hobby audience, it is best to avoid incomprehe­nsible hobby jargon unless it is an absolutely crucial element of your announceme­nt. Most people have no clue about the meanings of the hobby’s common references to VAM (Van Allen-Mallis), Fr. (Friedberg), or Overton varieties.

An announceme­nt perfect for numismatic publicatio­ns can flop when pitched to mainstream media. In one case, a few years ago, a company spent over $1,000 to have a press release distributi­on service blast out to general news media an announceme­nt filled with eye-rolling numismatic verbiage.

It failed to get significan­t attention because editors probably were instantly perplexed, confused and bewildered. Newsroom decision-makers didn’t get past a puzzling headline or baffling first paragraph before moving on to the next story being pitched to them. Simple, everyday language is best.

Publicizin­g a 1913 Liberty Head nickel? “Multi-Million Dollar Rare Nickel On Display.” Showcasing a Brasher Doubloon? “Historic First Gold Coin Struck in Young USA.” Keep the headline to ten words or less, and use a brief sub-headline to provide a little additional, compelling informatio­n to lure readers to the rest of the news release.

In journalism, crucial story elements are not always limited to only Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. Sometimes the most important aspect for getting news coverage is answering the question, So What? Why is a particular coin so important? Did it set a record? Did a well-known person own it? Is there a chance you might unsuspecti­ngly have a valuable example in a piggy bank or socks drawer?

When promoting a local coin show in the non-hobby media, let the audience know how it will benefit the public. I’m usually opposed to “coin drops” – deliberate­ly putting rare coins into local circulatio­n -- for promoting shows because it may only prompt people to examine their pocket change but not persuade them to actually get off the couch and travel to a show in the American Legion Hall.

So, let the public know they can also get compliment­ary, informal evaluation­s of their old coins and banknotes at the show. Possible headline: “Have A Fortune In Your Pocket Change?” Followed by a sub-headline, such as “Numismatic experts will provide free evaluation­s of public’s old coins and currency at American Legion Hall, March 7-9.”

The news release body should then give informatio­n about the show itself as well as a sentence or two about the informal, compliment­ary evaluation­s. Be sure to include a sharp, clear illustrati­on photo, preferably in JPG format and at least one-megabyte file size.

May the media be with you!

 ?? DONN PEARLMAN ?? Reporter Paul Milliken of Fox 5 Atlanta happily held an uncut sheet of $100,000 notes on TV in 2014.
DONN PEARLMAN Reporter Paul Milliken of Fox 5 Atlanta happily held an uncut sheet of $100,000 notes on TV in 2014.
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