How to Be Your Own Publicist
By Maggie Parker
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Keeping a public relations firm on retainer can cost as much as $10,000 per month or more. Unless you’re VW, that’s probably a bit over your budget.
So who needs outside help, anyway? You can still get your product in the public eye (without a giant scandal) by learning to be your own publicist. Here’s how:
Read. Sift through magazines and scroll through websites to find out where your product fits. Nothing pisses off journalists more than receiving a pitch that has nothing to do with their publication or beat.
Stalk. In business, as in life, a little online stalking goes a long way. Look at the masthead for the name of the deputy or managing editors (editorial directors are far too busy) at appropriate outlets. Search LinkedIn and MediaBistro for their email addresses, or track down the publication’s email formula (email@example.com, etc.). Send a quick note to introduce yourself and your business.
Know the time. Reporters love a good peg. When pitching, find ways to tie your product to current events like holidays or trending news.
Go out. Networking events are great ways to mingle with the media in a laid-back environment. Check out Meetup.com for ones in your industry and area.
Study. Take a crash course in press release writing to learn how to structure your in a way that makes you and your business irresistible. You’ll be better at writing press releases than most publicists in no time.
Be yourself. As a non-PR professional, you actually have a leg up. Journalists generally view publicists as annoying opportunists to avoid at all costs. A pitch coming from a founder is much more sincere than a pitch coming from a professional pest. So, feel free to flaunt your non-publicist self.
photo: Ernesto Victor Saul Herrera Hernandez / Getty Images