3 Insider Tips for Online and Offline Publicity: Part I

Publicity — By

You’re here because you’re interested in publicity. Now where to focus to get the best results?

First, let’s look at how people view publicity compared to advertising. Did you know that publicity has 7 times the credibility compared to advertising? Wonder why?

Publicity implies something is newsworthy. Those who view publicity do so knowing they won’t be hit with a big sales pitch. Now that same halo of credibility also extends to online press releases.

Publicity, by its very nature, is free. You don’t buy media space or time. So when you do get publicity, especially in print or broadcast, that visibility is worth thousands of dollars. Or more.

Of course, no one would question the value or impact of publicity. So why do so few people attempt do-it-yourself publicity?  There’s no shortage of free publicity tips out there.

Somehow, somewhere there is a real disconnect. Fear of failure, perhaps? Or maybe it’s intimidation from all the publicity, public relations and PR experts out there doing the very same thing.

Not to worry. Because the web has leveled the playing field. Dramatically. You’re about to discover some proven best practices, that when followed, can put you miles ahead of even the PR professionals.

Publicity Tip #1: Google media and reporters in your city and niche

For traditional media publicity, search online for your topic. You can add your location to further narrow your search as well as connect with media in your area. Once you’ve located the reporter, DO NOT email them. Read some of their past stories. If their stories allow comments online, comment on them. The goal is to build an understanding first and a relationship later.

A quick search tip: say your topic centers around health. Then, do a search for “health reporter (insert your city)”. Now searching is an inexact science. So just remember if you don’t get something right away, then approach from another angle. Find the web sites of the media outlets in your city and then do a search on the website for your topic and see what you get.

It’s possible that with the media industry downsizing, local outlets might not have dedicated reporters for a specific topic. But they do have writers that cover the main areas: money/finance, consumer issues, business and more.

Publicity Tip #2: Use Twitter to join conversations with reporters and media personalities

Twitter, a microblogging platform, has removing many barriers between the public and the media. You can follow these reporters and media personalities, see what stories they are covering and give them feedback. Often, they will ask for feedback and read “Tweets” or responses on Twitter live on air. Check out my PR Leads on Twitter article for more on the topic.

Here’s a real insider resource for tracking down the media on Twitter. It’s a database that is constantly updated where  you can follow reporters right from the page, without going to Twitter directly. Oh, and it’s FREE!

Publicity Tip #3: Give current events your own unique twist

You can subscribe to Google Alerts on any topic, any keyword, even names. So if you find a reporter that covers your industry, create a Google Alert for their name. That way those stories will show up via email and it’s all 100% automated.

Ever hear of a news aggregator or a mashup? Alltop is my current favorite. You can also dig deeper on Alltop into categories and sub categories. There’s even an Alltop portal page on bacon!

Keeping tabs on what makes news provides the perfect springboard to launch your publicity. For example, a student of mine had a baby sling product. So when Brittney Spears was seen a couple years back dropping her children, he had a press release ready and “piggybacked” off those embarrassing incidents. (Something to the effect that Brittney wouldn’t have had those baby fumbling challenges if she was using the right type of baby sling.)

Now if you use this technique, a word of caution: you don’t want to imply that the public figure or celebrity is endorsing your product. You are just making a connection, nothing more. And it’s best to only refer to the personality in text, no images.

This is ONLY part one of a two-part series. In Part II, you’ll discover:

  • What makes for the perfect “sound bite”
  • What the media wants (even craves) that goes beyond the words”
  • Two proven story ideas that work year in, year out like clockwork

Share your comments and feedback. Have you tried any of these techniques?

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  • Anonymous says:

    I’m enjoying your tips. Thanks for sharing.
    J. Aday Kennedy
    The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker
    Children’s Author of Klutzy Kantor & Marta’s Gargantuan Wings

  • Ron Schmidt says:

    Hi Marc,
    Are you available for hire on an ongoing basis as a pr consultant/marketing strategist? We’re only interested in the best and the brightest and your credentials speak for themselves. Why? Because we’re sponsoring a major marketing campaign and public relations year long North American tour for The Salvation Army featuring a “VIDEO AIRSHIP” as our centerpiece to get everyone’s attention, along with a combination of FREE traditional media and of course the viral capabilites of the Internet. Please call me at your earliest convenience. Ron Schmidt CEO, The Marketing Consultants Group 888-574-8257 Ext 77. Thanks Marc, keep up the great work!

  • Robert Earl says:

    Mobile version covers page with white blob. Can’t read text!!!!

  • Marc Harty says:

    Thanks! Hope you put them to good use.

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty says:

    Thanks! Hope you put them to good use.

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty says:

    Hi Ron,

    Thanks for reaching out to me here! Sounds like an interesting project. And YES, I do consulting and services for a select few companies that fit the profile where I can add the most value.

    I can call you later today or first thing on Tuesday. I look forward to hearing what you have planned.

    ~ Marc

  • Marc Harty says:

    Hi Robert,

    Yikes! Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I’ll get my team right on it. Can I ask what device you are viewing the site on?

    ~ Marc

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