Thursday, March 11, 2010

5 Publicity Myths

You don't need special skills or experience to generate publicity for your business, organization, product, or service. And you definitely don't need to be discouraged from trying to get media exposure by people who tell you otherwise. Here are the top five publicity myths I'm seeing and what you need to know about them.

  1. You have to express yourself well in writing. Sure, it helps to be articulate and get to the point quickly, but if you've got a great story to tell, it will shine through, whether you write "your" when you mean "you're" or make a few spelling mistakes. Journalists are more forgiving when the source of a good idea is somebody who doesn't write or pitch for a living.
  2. It's important to send your news to as many media outlets as possible. In fact, that could get you in trouble. You want to send your news to the most appropriate media outlets. That might be a handful, it might be 100. Be realistic about who might care about your story.
  3. You must have media connections. If you've researched your targeted outlets and determined which reporter/producer/gatekeeper is the right person to receive your pitch and if you've got the right story for them, you don't need special connections. I once placed a story on the front page of The Wall Street Journal through a reporter I had never communicated with before. It was a good story and I got it to the right person.
  4. Fairy dust is a must. Effort is what's really required. Make the effort to offer a good story, understand what your target media outlets use, find the right person to pitch to, and express your idea clearly.
  5. If you don't experience immediate success, you must be doing something wrong. Sometimes you're in the right place at the wrong time. One of the keys to publicity success is persistence. Don't give up. Learn as much as you can about why your idea was rejected and use that knowledge with your next pitch. Your skills will improve with practice, and so will your success rate.

This isn't rocket science. You can do it yourself. Take the time to learn about the process and how it works, and you'll be better prepared to enjoy the success that many others who don't do this for a living -- including retailers, physicians, consultants, authors, and nonprofit leaders -- experience on a regular basis.

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