Publicity for your personal brand. When establishing yourself as an expert , it is what you crave most. You fantasize, "if only you can get a feature story written about me or get quoted about my industry on TV, then Ill surely have unlimited traffic and hundreds of thousands of twitter followers, right?"
What most novices to pitching the media, don't realize is that there are certain phrases you use that can kill your brand's chances of getting coverage in both traditional and online press.
How to Make Journalists Hate You
Publicity can generate brand awareness for you and your company. It can help solidify your credibility and reach your audience with minimal dollars spent. It also happens to be elusive to many people who desperately want to promote their personal brands but fall flat (and upset many reporters and editors along the way) because they actually believe the following phrases:
"My only goal is to get famous."
There are many reasons why you would want to get publicity. Getting famous is just a narrow minded look at why.
The first step of any public relations plan is to define your goals and how they tie in to your overall business strategy. They may include:
- Build brand awareness
- Increased traffic to your website
- Generate new leads
- Announce a new product or service launch
By establishing the desired outcome of your publicity plan, you can better analyze the results and pitch better angles in the first place.
"Lets throw this idea out there and see what sticks."
Planning is an integral part of your personal brands publicity campaign and it starts by defining your strategy. Focus on the quality of your PR efforts. Don't make it a numbers game and try to throw out as many press releases and story pitches as you can think of. That is a surefire way to end up in spam filters and the bottom of trash cans.
Instead, create a publicity calendar of news angles tied to the release of your industry's trend reports, your inbound marketing campaigns, product or service launches, holiday tie-ins, speaking events, etc. Sure, there will be times that you will want to piggyback your press on current events, but having a plan is good sense for both business and PR.
"You're a reporter? Do I have a story idea for you!"
Want to make a reporter cringe? Just use that line right there.
Publicists have their own sort of little black book and its called a media list. They hold these lists as close to their hearts as a bible because this is essentially the foundation of all of their relationships.
Your media list is a compilation of reporters, editors, and journalists that includes their contact information, types of stories and industries they cover, the publications they write for, their favorite way to be contacted, and their deadlines. Consider your media list to be a living and breathing document and update it often.
Another way to annoy a journalist and fall flat on your face is to wing your pitch.
Just as you took the time to prepare your strategy, news angles, and media lists, you'll need to craft a quick pitch that intrigues the reporter and gets your story picked up. Depending on the type of correspondence they prefer, you will want to modify your pitch for phone calls, emails, and voice mail messages. Above all you want to be quick and to the point while demonstrating the relevance of the pitch, why their audience will find your story compelling, and being respectful and aware if they are on deadline.
If the journalist does not think the story is a good fit, it is perfectly acceptable to ask if there is another journalist for the publication that may be a better fit. If so, get the information. If they do want to pick up the story, offer to send additional information (like your media kit) and establish a time that you will follow up with them.
Just as you would handle any other aspect of your business and personal branding campaign, having a well-thought strategy in obtaining publicity and developing PR relationships is the key to a successful outcome that can include credibility, increased sales, and notoriety for your personal brand.
Keep the conversation flowing… what are other common mistakes entrepreneurs make when pitching their personal brand to gain publicity?
Kimberly Bordonaro is a brand strategist and the founder of Brandspiration, a blog that uses ridiculously fun lyrical references to explain how everyday entrepreneurs can create their distinctive brands.