Is Your Industry in Trouble? Use Media to Save It.

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Your industry may be in trouble. You may be a fisherman in the Gulf, a textile worker in New England, lawyer in Manhattan, or parts supplier in Detroit. How can you help during the crisis -- and save your job along the way?

Increasingly, the answer is for you to learn how to use media. Right now workers hit by the BP oil spill are suffering more than they had been. That's because the media lost interest in their plight. Consequently, those jobless are not receiving enough help, at least not fast enough.

Since this is the age of media - big time - learning how to leverage and exploit this tool isn't rocket science. This area of expertise is known as "getting publicity." Thanks to the web, this can be done only for the cost of sweat equity and a good idea. Recall how last Sunday on "Mad Men," Don Draper pulled a stunt in The New York Times which will probably save his ad agency.

Where to start on the learning curve for mastering the publicity game is at the public library or bookstore. Find books on publicity or, the larger focus, public relations. Understand the importance of a catchy or sticky idea, packaging it to sell, and then identifying where and how to sell it. Doing the right things will have more impact than doing a lot of things. For instance, an article in a newspaper in India about unemployed lawyers in Manhattan could bring in actual job offers from businesses in India related to legal outsourcing.

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