Getting publicity for yourself or your business is never an easy task. There are times you have to believe that you have to have the cure to cancer, autism, or some other malady to get the media’s attention. Possibly solving world peace or even worse settling the scorched earth from our national politics!
What do you have to do to get the attention you crave? Fairly simple…lift your trumpet to the heavens and start blowing long and hard. It really isn’t that hard, it just seems that way. But it does take a few things to take advantage and get noticed. Things such as;
- Time and patience
- Devotion to your business and the pursuit of publicity
- Hard work
- Creativity, yes it will take some creativity
If you hire a publicist then you can give the headaches to someone else. But not many businesses, including writers, have those financial resources available to utilize.
Here are a few things you can do to garner publicity for your business, organization, or yourself if you are in the market for…anything! From new product offerings, charitable events, writing projects, or another job. Just remember the above items in addition to following these guidelines. These are only a few of the innumerable ways to attract publicity to help you:
- Learn to write short, succinct, concise and catchy subject lines for your e-mails. Think along the lines of the newspaper headline years ago “Headless body found in topless bar” (yes a true headline). I got quoted and interviewed in a magazine about security practices. The subject line I used in pitching? “Security practice? Good security takes a lot of it!”
If you can tie your headline, and e-mails, into a national story or person then do it. From politics, sex, religion, or any nationally or regionally known, figure. Just don’t make any nasty accusations that you can’t back up.
- Sign up for the “Help a Reporter Out” site. You will get three e-mails Monday-Friday with reporters, producers, and newspapers looking for sources for their articles and stories.
Pay close attention to the closing dates and times and be on pitch and not overly self-promotional unless requested.
- Start reading and responding to discussion groups on Linkedin. Don’t be shy if your opinion is opposite of anyone else’s, this is what makes people notice you. This is how I got interviewed for a podcast, by posting a controversial discussion.
- Begin writing & posting a blog regularly. You can sign up for a free site or go to a paid site. You can even post blog discussions on linkedin as well. I post with a personal blog and on linkedin, security subjects mostly.
Don’t forget to try and write a post for another blog site within your realm of knowledge. If you don’t get asked to write one…then write them and ask. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no? So what, move on.
- Look at industry magazines, or an organization you are affiliated with including churches, and see if they accept freelance material. Many do, but you have to spend the time to investigate. Look at their editorial calendar to see what they are looking for. Keep in mind that most print magazines have a lead time of at least 6-12 months, so keep your pitch relevant to what they are looking for.
- Know a reporter, or even the proverbial friend of one? Then pitch them for a story about an event or incident in the news that you are knowledgeable about. Make your subject line eye-catching (see the #1 tip). There really is no reason to put it into proper news release format; what’s more important is that it’s timely and interesting. Will they always bite and interview you? No, but it never hurts to try and don’t feel like an ambulance chaser.
Because of my specialty, workplace/school violence prevention, I feel that way when an incident occurs and I can add something to the conversation, but I don’t like the idea of taking advantage of a sad situation right after the fact.
Sometimes it takes a while for them to call you. I had been talking to a Phoenix television station for more than a decade on workplace violence prevention. I had stopped sending information to them to relieve them of their Robert Sollars fatigue. Out of the blue I received a request for an interview on workplace violence for a public affairs show with the #1 anchor in Phoenix.
- Take cookies, or something similar, to the local newspapers, radio/television stations, and your favorite hosts/anchors to give them. I’ve done this when both of my books came out. I took cookies to the stations and several of the hosts in the shape of a .9mm Glock. It worked; I got several interviews out of them.
- Another great way to get publicity also is to do something that is so far outlandish, outrageous, and out-of-this-world that it literally forces people to notice you. We have all seen the people dressed in costumes for tax preparation services or something similar. In my hometown a new transmission shop welded a manikin together using transmission parts and placed it outside their business. It worked; they were soon inundated with busted transmissions. No matter what you do to catch attention and make it noteworthy you have to keep everyone safe. So make it legal, moral, and ethical.
As I stated before these are only a few ways to get publicity. Find and figure out more ways than those above to get your message out. So go guerilla and be creative! The more unique, outrageous, and unusual the idea the better the chance it’ll work in your favor.
Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues. You can follow him on Twitter@robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear