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Publicity Tips

Joan Stewart

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In a funk because other speakers seem to be snagging all the media attention? It's time to snap out of it and start claiming your share. Here's a baker's dozen of tips that will boost your publicity efforts and help you finally get the attention you deserve.

  1. Every time you speak before a group, offer to submit a short summary of your presentation for the group's newsletter. Don't forget to send your photo. It gets you in front of those you just spoke to as well as those who missed you the first time around. Many groups also send their newsletters to the media. Be sure the last paragraph tells people what you do and how to get in touch with you.

  2. Call the advertising department of every newspaper and magazine you want to get into and ask for a copy of their editorial calendar. It's a free listing of all the special topics and special sections coming up during the calendar year. It will tip you off to sections where your story idea would be a good fit, so you can query the editor weeks and even months ahead.

  3. Call a reporter from your local newspaper and invite her to lunch or coffee. Offer yourself as a resource. Ask "how can I help you?" Feed her tips and story ideas. Become such a valuable source that she keeps coming back to you for more information and eventually writes about you.

  4. Consider starting your own television show on your cable TV station's community access channel. The station will provide the camera equipment for about $20, and you can produce either one show or an entire series of programs. Air time is free. Call your cable company for details.

  5. Build a network of other speakers who concentrate on your topic or area of expertise. Agree informally that you will refer reporters to each other whenever the media calls. Often, reporters want more than one source for a story. It's a chance for all of you to get additional publicity.

  6. Whenever someone asks you to write for their e-zine or online magazine, visit their Web site first and see if they have a resource section where you would be a good fit. Ask to be listed for free, in exchanged for providing an article.

  7. If you publish a paper-and-ink newsletter, be generous with comp subscriptions for the national and local media. You'll be amazed how many reporters start calling you for interviews.

  8. Don't forget newspaper and magazine columnists. They're always hungry for fresh ideas. Keep in touch with them and feed them ideas regularly.

  9. Call local radio and TV talk show hosts and invite them to call on you when other guests cancel. They will be thankful you offered.

  10. Write articles for industry newsletters. My favorite resource is the Oxbridge Directory of newsletters, which lists more than 18,000 newsletters by topic and includes detailed information on the type of audience and subjects covered. Most larger libraries have this resource directory. The online version includes only basic information, as well as contact names and phone numbers. It's enough to get you started.

  11. Write articles for electronic magazines and include a paragraph of information at the end that leads readers to your Web site. My favorite resource is John Labovitz's well-organized site. You'll find more than 2,500 e-zines on more than 80 subjects.

  12. Contact your trade association and ask them to refer reporters to you. Many reporters who don't know where to find sources start by calling trade associations.

  13. Always refer to yourself as an "expert" in your marketing materials, at your Web site, in your one-sheets, in your introductions, and in your media kit. The media always seek out experts and interview them.
Joan Stewart publishes the print newsletter "The Publicity Hound® Tips, Tricks and Tools for free (or Really Cheap) Publicity." For more great tips or to order a sample copy or back issues, visit her Web site.

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions