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Danek Kaus
Publicist/Screenwriter
Mountain View, California
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10 Keys to Getting Free Pubicity

Getting free publicity is one of the best ways to promote your business. Here are 10 key elements to getting free publicity on a consistent basis.
Written Nov 24, 2008, read 2056 times since then.
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Getting free publicity can be considered both an art and a science.  It is an art because those who are most successful at it use their imaginations to create media interest.  it is also a science in that there are certain specific steps that  you can take that will dramatically increase  your chances.

Here are 10 keys to creating a successful publicity program.

1. Have a press release.  Better still, have a press kit.  It's amazing how many people try to get media coverage without such basic tools.  If you invented a cure for cancer, and  you called journalists to announce it, they will tell you to send them a press release first.  Without a press release, you're dead in the water.

2. Put your press release/press kit on your website.  A recent survey found that about 80% of journalists now search the web to find sources and experts.  You should have a section of your website dedicated to your media material.  It's also helpful to journalists who are doing a story about you to have all your important information in one place they can go to at any time.

3. Have a news hook.  Be sure the press release has some news value and is not a mere self-glorification.

4. Target the right media outlet.  It's a waste of money and time to buy a massive list of media contacts and send your release to everyone on it.  Send your release only to relevant outlets and/or journalists.  For example, weekly local business papers are only interested in business stories that impact their community.  Pester them with too many irrelevant releases and when you do have something they might be interested in, they probably won't even bother to read  your material because you've sent them so much useless material in the past.

5. Target the right journalists.  Using the example of the local business publications again, don't send your release about software to the reporter who covers the construction industry. 

6. Be helpful. Depending on the story, the journalist may need to speak to other expert sources.  If you can lead them to other sources of information, especially when they are on deadline, it will be appreciated and rewarded with greater receptivity to  your next story pitch.

7. Be available. Journalists are under the constant pressure of deadlines. They need to be able to reach  you.  Fast. So find out what the deadline for the story is and make sure the journalist can reach you for at least several hours leading up to that time.

8. Honor deadlines. If a journalist asks you for a piece of information that you have to research, get back to them when you say you will.  Stories  have been delayed or outright killed for lack of a critical piece of information.

9. Be brief.  Journalists are extremely busy people.  If you call them, first ask if they are on deadline. If they are, call back at a better time. When they do have time to talk, be courteous and get to the point quickly. Then get off the line. When journalists know you respect their time, they are more likely to take your calls in the future.

10. Start local. Even if you have dreams of being interviewed on national talk shows or new shows, it is easier to get local coverage first and use it as a stepping stone to build your credibility.

 

 

 

Learn more about the author, Danek Kaus.

Comment on this article

  • Markitect 
Berlin, Connecticut 
Bill Doerr
    Posted by Bill Doerr, Berlin, Connecticut | Nov 30, 2008

    Danek -- Concise, accurate and extremely useful. I very much appreciated your no-nonsense, no-fluff approach to a very important topic. thank you.

  • Publicist/Screenwriter 
Mountain View, California 
Danek Kaus
    Posted by Danek Kaus, Mountain View, California | Nov 30, 2008

    Hi Bill,

    Thank you for the kind words. I enjoyed the post on your blog about selling, knowing when to stop talking when you meet someone.

    It's kind of like the trailer for a movie. Tell people just enough to get them hooked, intrigued, curious, without giving away the entire story.

    Thanks again,

    Dan

  • Sex Expert, Pleasure Coach 
San Jose, California 
Chrystal Bougon
    Posted by Chrystal Bougon, San Jose, California | Dec 01, 2008

    Thanks Danek. Great article. Hey, did you see the FREE Biznik event I am hosting in Campbell tomorrow night? We are going to do two rounds of Speed Network out on the patio. Go to events in the bay area and you will see it. Hope you can make it!

    Chrystal

  • Writer & Sugar Artist 
Pflugerville, Texas 
Kyla Myers
    Posted by Kyla Myers, Pflugerville, Texas | Dec 09, 2008

    Hi Danek, as a newbie trying to promote my non-profit (not yet 501c) event, what I don't know could fill an ocean. How does one go about releasing a press release?

  • Publicist/Screenwriter 
Mountain View, California 
Danek Kaus
    Posted by Danek Kaus, Mountain View, California | Dec 10, 2008

    Hi Kyla,

    I went to your website and found out a little more about the event.

    Here is some food for thought:

    This food event lends itself to more than just sending press releases. It has something more important than the news -- delicious food!

    Have someone hand deliver your BEST baked goodies, along with your press release/press kit to the local food writers or editors of the features section of the newspapers. Do this a couple times a week for a few weeks before the event. Send something different each time.

    Do the same with local DJs. Have a spokesperson show up at the radio station with goodies in hand and your press release. They might just do an on-the-spot interview.

    Repeat process and stir with local TV. They tend to book a couple weeks out, so start early. You'll want to deal with what are called the "assignments editors" in the newsroom.

    Also pick out food writers and offer them exclusive interviews with celebs (before the event is best). Send a press release to this effect. This can be done by email.

    Sending cakes by email, probably won't work. I'm in Silicon Valley. I know about these things.

    TV and newspapers like visuals. If you have photos of imaginative creations from the past, include those in your press kits. These should be hard copy, not emails.

    If you have any video, of celebs or cakes, send that to the TV assignments editors, along with press kit (and the FOOD!)

    Do NOT send attachments to journalists who don't know you. They will not open the email.

    You may or may not get access to the inner offices of the media. If not, ask the receptionist to call back and have someone come out to pick up the goodies. If they won't, don't make an issue of it. Just leave it with the receptionist. Be sure to give him/her a generous sample too.

    You don't want to make waves or get in trouble with Security. But if you keep showing up with new delights, there's a good chance people will come to the front desk to get their next sugar fix or allow you to come into the back offices.

    You might want to call ahead to get the names of the people you want to approach. Usually the operator at each media outlet has a list.

    Deliver the goodies in a cake box with that person's name on it in big letters.

    Include a cover letter addressed to that person with your press kit.

    Something like, "Hi John, I thought you might be interested in covering our event, (fill in the blank). Here's a sample of what people will be enjoying."

    Don't show up at the TV station shortly before the next news broadcast. Best times are mid morning and mid afternoon.

    A lot of local TV stations will interview local people during the morning and lunchtime news shows. Pitch the assignments editors of those shows, or the producers, if they have them.

    Call the newspaper newsroom and ask anybody who picks up the phone when the deadline is. Plan to arrive at least a couple hours before deadline, when people's time is a little more flexible.

    I hope this helps.

    Danek

    P.S. Would you like a couple sample chapters of my new book, "You Can Be Famous! Insider Secrets to Getting Free Publicity."

    They're actually quite low in calories, but tasty.

  • Writer & Sugar Artist 
Pflugerville, Texas 
Kyla Myers
    Posted by Kyla Myers, Pflugerville, Texas | Dec 16, 2008

    Thanks, Danek, I'd love a couple of sample chapters.

    Thank you also, for the advise. I think you may have gotten the wrong impression of our event. Although we are a food event, we won't really be having much in the way of real cake. Our event is a sugar art show and cake decorating competition. Most of the cakes are not real, they are Styrofoam, unless they are sculptured, in which case they must be real cake.

    What we do have on our side is a growing interest in cake decorating and sugar arts. Largely due to shows like Food Network's Ace of Cakes. Here is a review and some pics one blogger did of last year's event:

    http://www.mysweetandsaucy.com/2008/02/that-takes-the-cake-art-show-competition/

    We do have photos and even a video of last year's show. We sent it to Mailbox News after our last show and they printed 3 pages of photos! This year we are advertising nationally.

    The main thing I need now are some major sponsors and major prizes.

  • Artist/Art Teacher 
San Jose, California 
Kushlani Hall PhD
    Posted by Kushlani Hall PhD, San Jose, California | Mar 25, 2009

    I enjoyed the article immensely. It offered me concise answers to alot of questions I had. Thank you so much!

  • Publicist/Screenwriter 
Mountain View, California 
Danek Kaus
    Posted by Danek Kaus, Mountain View, California | Mar 25, 2009

    Hi Kushiani,

    Thank you so much for the kind words!

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