As someone who’s written hundreds of articles for fancy publications, I’m often asked the best way to land free publicity.
Outside of knowing when you have truly have something that’s noteworthy and knowing which audiences are most likely to find your something relevant, my colleague Josh Steimle recently wrote about the subject for Entrepreneur; specifically how to get great PR in 15 minutes per day.
Josh was kind enough to interview and quote me in the article. This is what I said: “Indirect PR pitches are the best way to increase your chances of a media placement. Rather than talking about yourself, explain a larger trend that might interest the journalist or publication you’re pitching, complete with stats, anecdotes and data.
“Your contribution should be only part of the story. Doing so not only makes the press’s job easier but demonstrates greater objectivity, further increasing your chances of a placement.”
In my experience as someone being pitched, that approach leads to a lot more placements.
Since we’re on the subject, now go watch Ace in the Hole, All The Presidents Men, State of Play, and Spotlight—all good if not remarkable movies on journalism.
“What is art?” is perhaps the most futile question ever asked. It’s like trying to argue what the best color is.
But I think I’ve found what the definition of great art is: a visible, audible, or experiential creation that gets people talking. Yes, that includes shock artists that insipidly use controversy to attract publicity. And no, art doesn’t have to be properly marketed or seen by lots of people to make it great. But if an original creation, whether accidental or intended, doesn’t make a lasting impression on at least one beholder, it can’t be great art. Am I wrong?
Panting by Jonathan Janson, a Vermeer impressionist
In case you didn’t know, Nintendo has been on a storm over the past year (I’m a big fan). Their stock has doubled over the past 12 months thanks to their nifty little DS handheld and motion-sensing Wii console.
So in commemoration of Letterman’s 60th birthday, Nintendo sent the late-night host a candid and personalized letter along with 2 handhelds and games that it’s pitching to an older generation, all with an insane amount of message consistency. The letter copy is far from the bloated stuff PR peeps normally send. Have a look for yourself.
Assuming Dave’s publicists personally delivers the loot, I’d be surprised if Letterman doesn’t name drop the product on his show. So let’s recap how to earn quality free media:
- Build a good product that’s in demand. You can’t make a ball roll up hill, neither can you with a crappy product.
- Get creative when pitching individuals, bloggers, newspapers, magazines, and TV personalities. Asking for coverage is lame. I’m amazed PR reps still do it. Get creative when pitching, and it better be good because bell cows have seen it all (see above example).
Despite being a celebrity, people still love free personalized goodies. Everyone has a flattering point. Make sure you product or service can do that, and it will be a lot easier to get free coverage.