If you make time for your dream and you have enthusiasm and passion for your product or service, then you can and should do your own PR. After all, who else would better represent you than you? Exactly. Save the money and get better, faster results.
- In the first two hours of my PR campaign in New York City, without so much as an appointment, BG was in a studio, being carried by a celebrity and being recorded on a national CBS television show. True story.
- Within 5 hours of sending out a group of press releases, I was interviewed for a story for Reuters News Wire that was released to over 1 Billion subscribers the very same day.
- 2 days after submitting a press release to two dozen editors, one of my clients was interviewed live on the Fox and Friends national television show.
- I submitted a press release on Monday, by Wednesday I confirmed seven features in national magazines, three features in Italian magazines, an appearance on New York's most popular morning news show and a feature on a tv show in Japan with over 2 million viewers.
My placement brag sheet includes: Good Morning America, Reuters News Wire, ACCESSORIES Magazine, The New York Times, New York Daily, Mytech.it, Donnamoderna.com, WPIX New York, NewsDay, Fox and Friends, BET 106 & Park, BET The Center, ABQ the Mag, The Grand Rapids Press, The Grand Rapids Magazine, ABC news affiliates, The World Entertainment News Network in London, Shefinds.com, Brides Magazine, Fuji TV Japan, Wendy Williams Syndicated Radio, Overview Magazine just to name a few. I've even caught the attention of producers at The Late Show with Letterman!
Want celebrity endorsements or involvement? There's a great little website called ContactAnyCelebrity.com that will give you access to almost any celebrity via their "people" - managers, attorneys, publicists etc. You'd be surprised how easy it is to get a celebrity to oblige to your request when you send a compelling note - especially if your need has anything to do with something they are interested in - or better yet, a worthwhile cause. Whether they were endorsements, product comments or event involvement, here's a list of my obliging celebs:
- Tom Hanks
- Angelina Jolie
- Sean P Diddy Combs
- Muhammad Ali
- Calista Flockhart
- Alan Trammel
- Ray Charles
- Johnny Benson
- Judd Nelson
- Diane Sawyer
- Joan Lunden
- Russell Simmons
- Wendy Williams
- Patricia Field
- Jennifer Connelly
Don't get too excited, it wasn't all easy or quick for that matter. Many of my placements or endorsements took quite a while to secure, but the point is that I still got results - even if it wasn't in 2 hours. Whether you're creating a press release or a full media kit just remember to be creative!
Here's some good advice:
Press Release - A press release needs to be visually appealing; the content should be short, to the point and compelling. The intro line is ultra important - make it catchy!
Media Kit - A media kit should have dimension. Do NOT send in a bunch of papers in a folder which will inevitably get shoved in between all the other hundreds of boring, plain, one dimensional folders claiming to have the next big idea in them. Put a sample in your media kit, throw it in a gift bag, vary the paper sizes, textures etc. - create depth! Then send it over in a rockin' Fed-Ex box that screams "Open Me, I'm the next best thing!"
Submitting a press release or pitch letter - It's always best to target a specific group of contacts and send "one-off" emails that address the individual specifically. If you need to send a bunch of emails out quickly then don't forget to send them BCC which ensures that each recipient can't see who else you've sent it to. No one wants to think that you're emailing every editor on the planet for fear that they will run the same story as all the other guys. Keep your email SHORT! Just say something like "Hi, I'm forwarding the press release for Blah Blah and was wondering if you would be interested in the story". Attach a PDF of your release and let it fly! If your email subject line is enticing then chances are they will read the release.
Follow up - It's very easy to annoy the media so the best case scenario is that they will call you begging for your story after reading your whizbang press release! If they don't, cuz mostly they won't...send a follow up email to confirm their receipt of your release or take a deep breath, get your game face on and pick up the phone. Be super nice, non invasive and DON'T be a fast talking, polyester suit wearing, chain smokin' salesman! They'll be done with you before you even finish your sentence. Just be sincere, get to the point and say something like "Hi Bob, I was just calling to make sure you received the email pitch I sent you about blah blah" Get prepared for rejection and just keep trying, you may be one call away from a feature!
The bottom line is to never give up!
Even when you're out of your element, just do the best you can. I don't have all the answers, and I really don't know what the heck I'm doing most of the time but as long as I never lose my enthusiasm and I just keep believing that perseverance does pay off, then hopefully one day soon, I too will be jumping up and down on Oprah's yellow sofa.