Ex-Journalist and Publicity Expert, Sue Papadoulis, explains the top seven journalist secrets for an effective publicity campaign to help you get some fantastic free publicity for yourself and your business.
Sue shares her insider journalist secrets about getting publicity. What does publicity mean? How does it differ from advertising? And what are the secrets to getting free publicity in the media?
Without further ado, here are the top 7 journalist secrets for an effective publicity campaign.
Secret #1. Publicity is not advertising.
It's not you spending money on an ad, and there’s no money changing hands whatsoever. That means basically, that you’re not having to pay for it - you're not having to pay for it in terms of taking out space in a newspaper or magazine, and you're not even doing what's called an advertorial, where you might have been called by an advertising person offering free editorial in exchange for an ad.
Genuinely, it doesn't work particularly well either and similarly for advertising because people don't believe advertising, but they do believe news stories because they have great credibility.
What Is Publicity?
Publicity is generally a process of identifying a story about your new business and making sure that your story ends up on TV, on radio, newspapers, magazines, online, news outlets and some blogs.
Here are the steps to getting publicity for yourself and your business.
- Work out a story.
- Contacting a journalist and telling them about your story. You do that mostly through a press release that's an appropriate way to contact a journalist.
- Understanding how to position your message so that you get leads back to into your business. This is a really important point. In my book, it's not worth doing publicity unless you're actually making a profit from it.
Secret #2. The key thing is not to make an announcement.
One of the first things that people do when they're trying to get publicity is that they think:
• What can I talk about?
• What can I talk about myself?
• What is it that I want to get out there?
We are always thinking about ourselves and what we should get out there. That is the biggest mistake you can make when you're trying to get free publicity in the media because a journalist is not in the business of promoting you or giving you publicity. They're in the business of great stories.
Think more about how can you help the journalist and how can you make the journalist feel like this is not some kind of a promotion for you.
So, making an announcement is one of the biggest mistakes you can make and that comes on to the banner of:
• announcing some new events,
• announcing your great new website
• announcing that you just moved
• or you - talking about any of your stuff
Only big business and government can get away with making announcements because their announcements affect thousands, if not tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people.
If your announcement does not affect say, tens of thousands of people, then it's not worthy of making an announcement. The trouble with an announcement is that they make the journalist feel like this is some kind of promotion for you.
Secret #3. Have the right attitude and interest in helping the journalist with their audience.
Many business owners don't put a lot of thought into matching their target market to the target market of the media. That's a really key thing.
If you can match your target market to the target market of the media, that really is one of the biggest positive steps you can make to ensuring that you get your story published.
An awful lot of people send journalists a whole lot of stuff that has no relevance to the audience whatsoever, and that starts to annoy journalists. So, you have to put some thought into that.
Secret #4. Always think whether the story’s going to help the audience in some way.
Another tip to having an effective publicity campaign, make sure that you're thinking about what's in it for the audience.
Rather than thinking about yourself, your role in this equation is actually to make sure that more people in the audience of that media outlet, say a TV program, that more people actually want to watch that TV program because of your story. That's your role!
Secret #5. Worry not about the level of writing skills.
You don't have to have great writing skills to have an effective publicity campaign. I've helped many people where English is the second language to get fantastic publicity simply by following a template.
You don't have to write the story. You just have to be able to communicate your idea, which is done most appropriately through a press release. And if you can follow a template, you can very easily put one of those together.
Secret #6. Stop worrying about not having the right contacts in the media.
It's got nothing to do with contacts. It doesn't matter who you know in the media - it's all about your story!
So if you have a good story, a journalist would definitely be interested in you.
Secret #7 For An Effective Publicity Campaign - Stop worrying about not having the perfect website.
If you’re going to wait until your website is absolutely perfect, then that day is probably never going to come because I've never seen a perfect website yet - I don't think it actually exists!
So if you’re waiting for that, my key point is don't wait! Get started now with whatever knowledge and tools you have.
As long as you are centred on helping the journalist and having a story that interest’s their audience, you're well on your way to getting some fantastic free publicity.
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