So you have a blog and it is doing well. You are building a community and your hits are looking good. The only thing is: it just doesn't seem to be going to the next level. Sure you have some fans, but nobody outside of your circle knows who you are. How to fix it? One word: publicity. Getting publicity in the mainstream print press can take your blog to the next level like nothing else. It can even turn you into a household name. Tanya Burr’s career went into the stratosphere when she was on the cover of UK Glamour. How did she do that? In a very simple way. She emailed the editor, Jo Elvin, and told her she should be on the cover. Luckily Jo agreed and Tanya has gone on to win many awards. How can you get some of that for yourself? Read on to find out.
These should be around 500 words. Make them a concise summary of facts that the editor or reporter needs to know. Remember to include your contact details. Think of themes and seasons. Remember that while newspapers and websites generally have a short lead time, magazines work three months ahead. So think about what is happening three months from now and pitch them your great story. If you send a great press release at the right time there is a good chance you will get featured. If you don’t get a reply you can send a reminder a week later maybe, or follow up with a phone call.
Here are some tips for writing a press release:
- Include all of the facts. The who, what, why, where and how.
- Make sure you put your contact details at the bottom.
- Have a hook: survey your readers and then publish the results. The press love surveys and statistics. You could also take what is unique about you, or something that has happened in your life, and write about that.
- Write the press release in the third person.
- The best tip for successful press releases is to have a newsworthy story and then target the appropriate media. You can find the contact details of relevant media by scrolling down to the bottom of their site and clicking on the contact button.
A good format is to have a short and clear headline that catches the reader while letting them know what it is about. Paragraph one should sum up the entire story in a few sentences. Paragraph two should have a hook and tell you why the story is important, paragraph three should give the details: who is involved and how it happened, paragraph four should have a relevant quote that gives information, opinion and credibility. You could even get an expert in their field to give you another quote to back up your argument. For example: if you are a food blogger you could get a comment from a nutritionist or a doctor. If you write about fashion you could ask a fashion designer for a quote. People are always flattered to be asked and Twitter has made people more accessible. The final paragraph should tell people where they can find more details, get involved or just learn more about you.
Have a USP
One of the best ways to be featured is to be unique. Like it or not, you, and your blog, are a product. And the best way to sell a product is to make it as marketable as possible. To be marketable is to have a Unique Selling Point: a USP. Think about what makes you stand out, what makes you different. What do you have to offer that other people don’t? Find out and market it.
Work The Twitter Hashtags
If you put #journorequests into Twitter you will get results from journalists looking for people for articles or comment. You can also make good use of hashtags like #blogger or #mblogger (mummy blogger)or #fblogger (fashion blogger). This makes it easy for journalists, PR people, and other bloggers to find you.
When I launched my blog Frost Magazine seven years ago we had a launch party and invited everyone. I mean everyone: all the media, actors, singers. It does not matter who you know, just call people up. People love being invited to things. Over three hundred people turned up to our launch party and it was a huge success that got a good amount of publicity. If you are worried you cannot afford one then don’t. It is possible to get a sponsor, and many clubs and pubs will give you a free space if you bring in enough people. Just make sure there are some free drinks to start off. To do your own event you could hire a hotel room, buy some wine and nibbles, and then invite all of the important people that can make a huge difference to your career. Plenty of PR people do this. Let the hotel know what you are doing and they might even throw in a member of staff, or some food for free. The key is to invite the press and use that to get sponsors to help with costs, while using the promise of free stuff and a good time to get the press there. Just have nerves of steel and call up companies, the press, and the publicists of celebrities. Create a buzz and people will come.
Hitch a ride to a star
Brand names are important. We live in a world that is obsessed with celebrity. A good way to get mainstream publicity for your blog is to interview someone who is success or famous. You can then offer excerpts from your interview to the media, or even allow them to publish the article. Just make sure you get full credit and a link. Going to parties and events can also increase your profile and get you into the mainstream media, either by getting photographed there and featured in the social pages, or by calling up journalists with gossip and pictures from the event.
Write a book
If you write a book in your niche and then put out a press release about it to the media you should get a good response. Just make sure you have some copies to send to people who request them. I have published four books now and each time I have got great publicity from them. Writing a book shows you have stamina. It impresses people and makes them take notice. It also makes you an expert in your field.
Hire a publicist
This is the expensive option but if you can afford it then do so. You have to spend money to make money. Investing in your business is always a good idea. To find a publicist head to Google or Twitter and found out who is the publicist for your favourite blogger. Then contact them and ask for a quote. If you don’t want to spend a huge amount of money then you can find a PR company who is up-and-coming. PRWeek.com has a great list of PR companies you can choose from.
Keep a contact list
The best way to become your own PR person is to have contacts. Buy copies of the magazines you want to be in and rip out the page which has a list of all of the people who work there. Sign up to Gorkana and PR Newswire Gorkana do mail outs of people moving in and out of jobs. Use Twitter to find out the names of editors and writers. Just type in the name of the publication in the search button. Do your research and build up that list. You are who you know, but you are also who you can get to know you.
Know what is happening
Have your finger on the zeitgeist. Know what is happening and comment on the trends before anyone else does, then pitch your knowledge to editors and journalists. Know what events or holidays are coming up and give a timely pitch to the publications of your choice. You can sign up to Dairy Directory to get notifications of important events in advance.
Be persistent. Perseverance is everything. Find that line between being irritating and being pushy. Do you think Madonna and Oprah became successful without telling people what they wanted and going after it? Never stop pitching, get yourself invited to the top events, phone up successful people who can change your career even if you do not know them. Be ambitious and fearless, even when you are shaking and think you are about to lose your nerve. You can do this.
I hope this has given you the knowledge and the inspiration to become your own PR person. PR is the best way to turn your business into a success. Good luck.