Lessons learned in attracting mainstream media
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!