Evidently, we don’t have enough bad news

“If it bleeds, it leads.”

This is an old maxim of the news industry. “Leads” means it is the lead story at the start of the broadcast or at the top of the front page.

Ask any newsperson, bad news sells.

You’ve probably seen the mechanics of this while driving on the highway. You may have seen a beautiful sunset over rolling hills of fresh green grass while driving. Some people may have glanced at it. A few might have even commented on it to someone else in the car.

What happens if there’s a car accident on that same highway? Everyone slows down to look. There’s enough rubbernecking to cause a traffic jam. We just can’t seem to help being fascinated when something negative and dramatic happens.

The news media knows this and capitalizes on it. That’s why they search long and hard to find bad news to give you. It sells newspapers. It boosts ratings. For the media, nothing is quite as wonderful as a good disaster.

The problem is that the news media periodically suffers a shortage of bad news to fill the required broadcast time. So, in a desperate attempt to give you a steady supply of “bad news,” they are often forced to recycle bad news by telling you the same thing over and over again.

In order to keep the level of “bad” high enough, they will often filter out any good news that might also be part of a story.

As a cheap substitute, some media will even go so far as to provide you with bad news from distant places that have no relevance to you or your business.

Today’s news is as good an example as any. The Associated Press has lead articles with the following headlines:

• Mistrial for Mississippi mayor accused in duplex attack
• Syracuse teen charged with deadly sniper shooting
• Missing Massachusetts teacher and teen student found in West Virginia
• Two plead guilty in North Carolina tainted syringe case
• Nokia seeks 1,000 voluntary layoffs

None of these stories will probably have any direct effect on you or your business. They are presented to you not because any of it really matters to your life, but to keep you fascinated and keep you rubbernecking.

This has a direct effect on your mind set and will adversely affect your business success.

A steady diet of bad news from the media is like living on candy bars and potato chips. Long term, that type of diet will kill you.

This isn’t to say that there are not some very real challenges in the world around you. But it is more difficult to solve problems when you are only exposed to doom and gloom.

Most of the damage that comes from bad news depression is self-inflicted. When business people believe there is nothing that can be done, they do nothing. It’s no surprise that their business suffers.

A steady diet of bad news drives you down into a sense of apathy and despair. You get a sense that “everything is bad.” There is an overwhelming thought that “nothing can be done about it.”

This is simply not true. You don’t have to solve all the problems in the world, just the problems in your business.

There are specific steps that you can take to help you step on the gas and get your business growing despite the economy and the gloom you see on the nightly news.

Imagine that you were able to increase your average sale by just 20%. You would see a dramatic shift on your bottom-line profits.

Imagine you stepped-up your promotional efforts and added some new clients. You would expand your sales volume as well as add stability to your company.

Imagine you created a program that reactivated former customers. Not only would you increase your sales, but you would rediscover some old friends as well.

Incremental improvements like these are quite achievable and can have dramatic bottom-line results.

Ready to stop being a bad-news-candy-bar-munching-potato-chip-eating- business-couch potato? Here are the steps to take:

1. Turn off the news. Listen to music when your drive to work. Stay away from newspapers. If you watch TV, stick to the Discovery Channel.

2. Decide you are tired of the bad news of the world dragging you down. Decide instead and that you’re putting all your efforts into growing your business.

3. Work out a program that gets your business promoting and growing. If you have programs that have worked in the past, do them again. If you need help, bring in an experienced professional. We assist clients in implementing programs that increase their sales volume and increase their bottom line. (The number here at Sentium Strategic Communications is 1-800-595-1288.)

4. Stay committed. Stick with your program. Celebrate your successes as you go. Learn from the tests that don’t produce sufficient return.

While a big payoff is nice, you’ll find that often it’s doing a number of small steps that will make that big difference. The secret is to keep doing what works.

So, shake off what you’ve been hearing on the radio and seeing on TV. Get yourself moving forward and you can get the improvements you need.

Let me know how you do. I’m always interested in your success stories.

To your business success,


Looking for help getting the right message to produce exceptional results for your business? The first step is to make a simple phone call. Call Sentium to set-up a no-obligation telephone consultation. It will cost you zero, zip, zilch, nada, but could give you answers that can dramatically boost your sales results. Call us at (800) 595-1288.

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Richard Wilson is the Founder/Chief Marketing Strategist for Sentium Strategic Communications which helps companies craft the right message for extraordinary results. Over the past 31 years, his clients have ranged from start-ups to major technology companies.
© 2009 All Rights Reserved. All people who are looking to dramatically boost their business should read this e-zine. Don’t even think about reproducing this document or its contents without written permission from Richard Wilson. But feel free to forward this or e-mail it to all of your friends. For reprint permission, please call 800-595-1288.