How do you best promote yourself, your business or your cause using publicity? The list could easily be 100 items long. But 14 items stand out that can make yours a winning publicity campaign. If you follow these 14 tips, you tremendously increase your chances of getting publicity.
Even better, all 14 tips are easy to put into action.
Here are The Magic 14:
1. Establish a Consistent Look - A great way to get your release pulled and looked at first, is if the editor becomes familiar with your name and the look and quality of your previous stories.
2. Submit Anything To Start Off With - Get your name on file. Whether or not they run your first story isn't important, you just want to have a "previous story" on file the next time something important in your field comes up.
3. Keep On Submitting - Always be on the lookout for good stories. Editors need to see your name popping up regularly, not just once or twice a year.
4. Watch The News - Become "The Authority" on your subject. Watch what's happening around the world. Send out timely press releases connecting your story to local, national or world news. Be ready when editors call wanting to know about something that broke the news this morning.
5. Keep Up On The Trades - Understanding the trends and aims of your profession is essential to your being able to speak knowledgeably when called on short notice.
6. Piggyback Your Cause - Find community events where you can offer your services. If media personalities know you can deliver a good interview, they'll be very interested in talking to you.
7. Be A Character - Don't be afraid to get out of yourself. Study successful talk show hosts. Watch how they work topics, how they keep your attention. Become a fun, knowledgeable person to interview. Your character is as important to an interviewer as your story is. You don't have to be outrageous (although that can be a real plus), just an enjoyable, knowledgeable expert in your field.
8. Network In All The Right Places - Go to the gala balls, the fund raising banquets, the Lions Club or Country Club events. Anywhere the press might be looking, be sure they see you hanging out. Make a point of striking up a conversation as often as comfortably possible.
9. Remember Names - Everybody loves to hear their name. Especially reporters. Carry a small spiral notebook and write down names and details on every media person you meet. It helps immensely in remembering who they are the next time you run across them around town.
10. Be 100% Reliable - Reporters become incredibly frustrated when someone cancels or postpones an interview ' or worse, don't show for the interview. Establish a rock solid reputation for being a reliable interview. Also become known as a person who can be available on short notice for an interview. Reporters will love you for that.
11. Be A Source Of Referrals - Many times the reporter interviewing you will ask for the names of two or three other people in your field they can interview. Don't be afraid to give them the names. There are three solid reasons for this. First, the people you refer to them will be very grateful to you for the opportunity. Second, the reporter will be grateful and will look on you as a great source of information. And third, very frankly, the people you refer to the reporter will almost certainly not know how to either do a good interview or how to turn that interview into additional business. It's very unlikely these other people and their interviews will be a threat to your business.
12. Follow Up On Stories - ALWAYS send thank you notes for any interview or story a paper or station runs. With a little imagination you can often parlay this "after the fact" moment into more coverage. One singer more than doubled her coverage by sending flowers to a PBS television station after her interview thanking them for the time and wishing them a successful fund drive (which just happened to be in progress). Her flowers and note kept showing up all day, along with clips from her interview.
13. Stay In Charge Of The Interview - Don't let interviewers take off on their own paths. Remember always, you are the authority on this topic and a bad interview will ultimately reflect only on you. If an interviewer is trying to dig in areas the general public will find boring, be courteous, answer the questions quickly, and then point the conversation where it should be headed, towards the more fascinating and lively topics. A good Q&A, following my system, will almost guarantee that you stay in control of the interview from beginning to end.
14. Finally, Don't Be Afraid To Create News - Write a book, do a survey, author a research project, anything that'll take yours out of the "boring profession" category. Always look for the angles you know will fascinate the general public and become the authority in those areas.
My favorite saying concerning the media is: "Media people are very willing to make you as famous and wealthy as you'd like if you just give them a good story."
There are tens of thousands of media people waiting for your good stories. Give them what they want and they'll reward you very handsomely.
By Paul Hartunian
Photography by © Timur Suleymanov