PR 365: Breaking Through

PR 365: Breaking Through

By: PR 365

The one thing I have learned as a public relations professional is that a lot of people are incredibly impatient when it comes to getting results for a campaign. Don’t get me wrong, I am one of the most impatient people I know and when I’ve tried to secure a placement through traditional media and it doesn’t work, while I’m completely frustrated by it, I always re-group so that I can figure out a way to break through.

So today’s PR lesson is all about finding a way to get your story heard by the masses. It’s not easy, but trust me, it can be done. So let’s get right down to it. Let’s say you’re an author who has just released your very first novel. You have a publicist at the publishing house that published your book working on pitching you to media outlets but so far, they’ve come up empty. So what are some sure fire ways you can get some traction?

Share Your Cinderella Story: First – if you’d like to break into television, then you must feature video of yourself on your blog or website. While your first appearance may not be on Good Morning America, you should aim for the local station in your area. Share the story of how you managed to turn your dream of becoming a novelist into a reality. Everyone loves a Cinderella story…what is your personal fairy tale?

There is No Such Thing as Overnight Success: If you’ve published a non-fiction book or if you’re the owner of a business and believe you have what it takes to be booked on Oprah, well, take a number and come back down to earth with the rest of us.

The way to build buzz about your book, business or brand is to first start out in your own backyard before you venture out into the great unknown. I recently interviewed Anita Renfroe – she’s the comedienne and singing mom whose parody of the William Tell Overture went viral on YouTube and catapulted her career. Anita’s story though is not one of overnight success. Did you know that she had already been performing for more than a decade before her kids convinced her that sharing one of her songs on YouTube would be the way she could get the masses to take notice? Little did Anita know that her kids were absolutely right. While she released the video on Mother’s Day, by Labor Day, nearly 1 million people had seen her song and by then, the national shows finally took notice and the rest is history. Since “The Mom Song” made its debut, Anita Renfroe is an in-demand comedienne and singer who has appeared on all the national morning shows. She even admits that had that video been released at the beginning of her career, she probably wouldn’t have been able to handle the instant notoriety as well as she does now. Thanks to her kids and perseverance, she is truly living her dream.

Stay on top of the News: Keep in mind that journalists and producers are constantly working on deadlines and oftentimes, they don’t have time to speak with you about your innovative idea for a business. However, if your idea to become an entrepreneur sprung out of you being laid off and then finally taking the bull by the horns and deciding to pursue your dream, then suddenly, your story takes on a lot more weight. The next part though is the tough one. You need to back up your story with numbers. Are you in business for one year and your sales have skyrocketed because you’re serving a need that was not met previously? Do you know other entrepreneurs or authors like yourself who would fit well together as a story to pitch a journalist or TV producer? While you may want to be in the spotlight, sometimes strength in numbers is the way to go.

Do Your Homework While you may be on the HARO newsletter database where you receive an email blast three times a day with a slew of PR opportunities, you may find that following a few of your favorite writers to be a successful outlet for you. Most writers have blogs and while you may feel intimidated to reach out to them, don’t. Make sure you read their columns and know what stories interest them so that you are not wasting their time when you are pitching them.

If They Won’t Cover You, Then Blog, Blog, Blog! – That’s the beauty of blogging – even while you’re waiting for that big publicity break to happen, you can be writing on your own website or blog, offering advice, sharing details about your latest book, or offering your own commentary on subjects that make sense for your brand. Once you’ve posted your blog, then share it on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Digg. The only way for people to take notice is for you to be sharing your thoughts and opinions on topics that make sense for your book, business or brand.

Make New Contacts Every Day: I have to admit, when I first went off on my own, I became incredibly discouraged when many of my former contacts pretty much blew me off when I was attempting to pitch my clients to them. At first, I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t make any headway and then it hit me. Before, I was working for a major TV network and now, I was out on my own representing projects that weren’t slam dunks. And so, as much as I liked and respected my former “friends” in the TV booking industry, I pretty much left them behind to meet new media contacts who did not necessarily know the old me. Suddenly, I was starting to get bookings again and before long, my clients wound up on national TV. Don’t ever expect your old professional friends to come through for you – you come through for yourself and you will succeed without any strings attached.

That’s it for today. If you have a PR question for me, please send us an email at [email protected] and we’ll be sure to respond ASAP!