5 Easy Steps to Getting Started with Publicity

If you’re like most people, getting media write-ups is on your “someday” list.
 
You know that getting publicity is the fast-track to exposure, and that it also gives your brand a golden stamp of approval. And you know the fact that you can’t buy positive publicity, you have to earn it — is what makes it invaluable to your brand.
 
But getting publicity feels daunting, and you’ve heard it’s expensive, so you’re focusing on other marketing tactics for now.
 
Don’t let this misconception hold you back from giving your message the momentum that only publicity can generate. With publicity, you don’t have to spend a lot of time and money to get great results.
 
I’m going to show you five easy steps to getting started with publicity. Follow them for a no-stress publicity strategy that’ll get your product or message into the media in no time.
 

5 Easy Steps to Getting Started with Publicity

 

1.Spend a day in the life of your customer.

Do you know what you have in common with the reporter you want to pick up your story? You’re both trying to provide engaging content to your customer! Your best-fit media is creating features, product round-ups and sharing inspiring profiles that speak to your customer.
 
That’s why your first step is to spend a day in the life of your customer. What does she do first thing in the morning? Pour herself a cup of coffee or tea? Does she check email, browse the Internet, or read her local paper?
 
Envision her starting a new project at work. Does she need to do some research? Find inspiration? What media does she trust to keep her up-to-date on industry trends?
 
How about errands? What kinds of magazines catch her eye while she’s standing in the checkout line at Target?
 
And, finally, what media does she consume when she’s avoiding her work, or maybe just trying to escape the tedium of washing yet another load of laundry? Does she sneak a magazine into the bath? What’s her most indulgent read?
 
Think of your most valued customer — the one you love to work with, or who wears your line and recommends it to all her friends — and run through these scenarios. Jot down the names of all the newspapers, magazines and TV and radio programs she turns to during her day.
 
 
 

2. Spend a few hours browsing the magazine racks at your local bookstore.

Now that you have a good idea of how your customer uses the media for work, family and mini-breaks, it’s time to dig a little deeper into the publications she trusts and enjoys.
 
Go to the stacks and pull every single magazine you think she’d be interested in.Grab a dozen titles, and bring them to a table to browse.
 
Resist your temptation to read the articles that look interesting to you, because you’re on a mission. Flip through the pages, looking for any sections that feel like a good fit for your expertise, life story or product. In a notebook or spreadsheet, jot down the names of the magazines that make the cut, as well as the section you’d like to be featured in. If you’re unsure of the section, you can flip to the Table of Contents, and check the headers. Also take down the headline of sample articles.
 
 
 

3. Create your contact list.

If, as you go through the magazines, there is a byline with the name of the writer that put together a story or product round-up, you’re in luck! This is your new media contact, who you’ll want to enter into your notebook or spreadsheet.
 
If not, flip to the page listing the staff and contributors (aka the masthead), and take down the name of the person in charge of the section you’re targeting. If there are two or more editors for the section, take the person with the lowest-looking title. That’s the person responsible for scouting out new sources.
 
Voila! You’ve just created your personalized media list.
 
 
 

4. Network with the media.

No one likes to make a cold call — not even a seasoned publicist. Luckily, we now have a free resource that lets us connect with journalists on social media. With Muckrack.com, you can search for journalists by name or search a publication to find the Twitter handles for all the contacts in their database.
 
Create your own private Twitter list filled with media contacts, and check it every week. Make a point to connect with the press you want to cover your business. This is your chance to warm up those leads!
 
 
 

5. Be a source.

Going back to our first step, it’s so important to remember that you’re an expert on your customer — and your right-fit media is tasked with creating new, compelling content for this same customer. Whether they’re introducing her to new products, sharing life lessons that inspire, or divulging hard-earned expertise, you can help the media do their job better by being a knowledgeable and engaging source.
 
When you feel ready to email a journalist your idea, think of your role as a co-collaborator, who can help her provide informative, inspiring or entertaining content to this common customer. Refer back to your book of ideas — how can you help the editor file her monthly feature or the newspaper columnist bring a new twist on his tried-and-true topic?
 
A top misconception is that you need a press release to get publicity, but a simple email introducing yourself and your idea is more than enough to get that feature introducing your work to the magazine’s audience.
 
 
So, start your efforts now — your business will thank you for it. You’re just a press mention away from being crowned the Next Big Thing.
 
For even more tips on how to get professional publicity on a DIY budget, check out Get Famous.
 

Back to you, what are your best publicity tips?

 

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Brigitte Lyons

Brigitte Lyons is a PR & media strategist for micro businesses. In addition to working 1-on-1 with clients to help them break away from the pack, she shares tools to amplify your voice in a media landscape dominated by big industry. She is also the creator of and the creator of Your Media Map — a DIY publicity program.
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