In the News business, you get what you pay for

Back in the day, gossip rags and celebrity media were frowned upon as second-tier. In the new age of citizen journalists, bloggers and a shrinking traditional media – the celebrity press is acting like the leaders of the pack.

All hail TMZ – the entertainment medium is the industry standard in breaking stories that people actually talk about and share on social media.TMZ exclusively released the audio tape of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling sharing his feelings about who should attend basketball games for his NBA team.  This led quickly to Sterling’s banishment by the NBA.

Then, the media company followed that up with the release of the elevator fight seen around the world between Beyonce’s sister Solange and rapper Jay Z.

These are just two examples of TMZ lapping the field in “talkable’’ stories. Of course, they do come with a price. The company pays big dollars for quality content that will raise their brand above the competition.

What can normal businesses take from the TMZ model? To start with, it shows that quality stories may very well be worth the investment; and it does not hurt if that content has star appeal, either.

Fact is—The Media Likes Facts

arena-bathroomI enjoy The Count column in The Wall Street Journal. The column has interesting numbers and stats about sports or the sporting community. On Wednesday, WSJ reported in a big bold red number a fun fact about the new Consul Energy Center in Pittsburgh:

250Number of local college students that are being recruited to simultaneously flush all the toilets in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ new arena to test water flow.

The sophomoric teenager still lingering inside of me (thanks in part to my 12-year-old son) will always stop at a flushing toilet fact. But more importantly, people interested in getting quality public relations buzz should remember that facts – especially those that are easy to understand – will often get the attention of the media.

So don’t flush potential media coverage by filling your copy with marketing speak instead of facts.