Register your business, rev up your mailing list, start a blog, network network network.
On a list of an entrepreneur’s priorities, publicity is usually an afterthought. It’s for “when I can afford it” or “when I’m ready to level-up”.
You know what I’ve learned? Publicity should be on every entrepreneur’s top to-do list.
And here’s why…
A targeted blog or magazine feature can:
– solidify your place as an expert in your field
– gain client trust and brand recognition
– increase your revenue by bringing in new leads
When I thought about starting a business, I wanted to do more than pay my bills. I wanted to start a movement.
So I began studying publicity. I interned, researched, took online classes, and eventually took the leap of pitching complete strangers.
You know the craziest thing I learned from all this? Publicity isn’t nearly as difficult as some would have you believe.
Publicity Myth #1: It’s all about who you know.
It’s true. Being well connected with influencers and journalists makes getting publicity much easier. But the fact is, you can start from scratch. The information is out there, and it’s all about defining your goals and using your time wisely.
When I started working as an independent publicist, I couldn’t rely on a corporate database. I built my own list of contacts, from scratch. I learned to research effectively and start online conversations with complete strangers.
As someone who has lived with anxiety my whole life, I can tell you it was a big leap for me. But when I realized the opportunities that came with pitching, I couldn’t get enough of it. Neither could my super happy PR clients!
My motto, it’s not about who you know, it’s about how you work.
Bottom Line: You don’t need a database of contacts to start generating publicity.
Publicity Myth #2: You need someone else to pitch on your behalf.
Many of my clients get nervous about pitching themselves or their business to an editor. “Won’t it look more professional if I get someone to write on my behalf? You know, so it looks like I have a team working for me?”
Of course first impressions matter, and if you’re in a position to hire a publicist, go for it. In my experience, what’s more important is the content of your pitch.
I once pitched a local Brooklyn blog called Brokelyn about a free coding class I put together. They posted an article within the next few days, when I opened registration.
I had to close down RSVPs after over 100 people joined my mailing list and reserved tickets for my event — within hours of the post going up. I did no additional marketing, posted no ads, and started off with zero people on my mailing list.
Doing your own publicity also helps you develop personal relationships with writers. So next time you have an idea or want to launch a product, you can shoot them an email and get things moving right away.
Bottom line: You can generate your own publicity by doing your research and presenting a strong pitch to the right writer.
Publicity Myth #3: It’s impossible to get people to open your cold pitches.
I built my entire PR business on cold pitches to people I’ve never met.
I grew up in rural Colorado and studied storytelling (not publicity) in college. I wasn’t part of any relevant networking groups and didn’t have journalist friends. I learned how to make every word count, from a powerful subject line to a clear and concise pitch.
My cold emails have an average of a 50% open rate, which is much higher than the 10% industry average.
Bottom line: With the right technique, you can start from scratch and build your own powerful network.
Publicity Myth #4: Following up is hard.
When you first pitch your ideas to a writer, you think you’re getting in their way. But if you did your research and you know that your story is worth the writer’s time, you’re doing them a service.
Consider this: writers have crazy deadlines and need to push out a lot of content on a regular basis. If you can propose a story that fits the goals of the publication, you’re making a writer’s life easier.
Following up, when done according to the guidelines of a publication, ensures a writer has a chance to review your idea.
Bottom line: There is a difference between spamming writers and being of service to them.
Publicity Myth #5: Publicity is expensive.
Yes, hiring a publicist can be expensive. But doing your own publicity is free.
It only costs how much time you’re willing to invest in it. That’s why it’s an incredible skill for entrepreneurs and start ups to learn.
Another benefit? Getting featured in the right publication is so much more effective than placing an ad.
You have to pay for ads. You don’t have to pay to get a feature in a blog or magazine. And getting that feature gives you a stamp of approval from the publication. (You also get the chance to throw their logo in your burgeoning “As seen in” section on your website!)
Bottom line: You can do your own publicity for free, so why not give it a shot?
I’m curious, what’s getting in your way?
Leave a comment below with your thoughts, and I’ll be sure to get back to you!