Mistakes will naturally be made in a do-it-yourself marketing campaign or DIY publicity campaign. But if you know some of the pitfalls to avoid, you can be one step ahead of the game.
As professional publicists, we’re in the business of telling people what to do — giving them tips and techniques to utilize to guide them on their journey toward publicity success. But even more important than advising clients what to do is teaching them what not to do.
Increase your chances of achieving stunning publicity results by avoiding these common mistakes:
Pitching Off Topic — You’d be surprised how frequently this occurs. You have to know — inside and out — what you are pitching, and who you are pitching it to. Don’t pitch your “law of attraction” approach to business performance to a button-down, conservative business journalist. Pitch it to an outlet that would be receptive. This may require some additional research. But when you take the extra time to create a media list specifically tailored to your product, service or expertise the results can be amazing. What’s most important is this: You won’t be wasting the media’s time. This is key to building lasting relationships with journalists.
Bad Subject Lines — Your subject line is the first part of your pitch the media will read. Don’t expect journalists or editors to open every email. They won’t! They have neither the time, nor the patience, so you have to make the subject line of you email count. The subject line acts as a filtering system. If your pitch is tied to breaking news, your subject line should mention it. And be sure to avoid words that are typical in the subject lines of emails found in your spam or bulk mail folder.
Attachments — Don’t send them! Create an online press kit instead. By embedding the link to it in your emailed pitch, you’ll be making it easier for the journalist to stay organized, giving them more time to focus on you and your pitch. Attachments are easily lost. And if you don’t have a relationship established with the person you’ve sent the pitch to, they may be wary that the attachment contains a virus and not open it all.
Waiting — If, after reviewing your pitch and online press kit, the journalist contacts you, do not wait a week or even a day to respond. Get on it! They’re on a deadline and so are you. They’ll move on to the next expert if you don’t get back in touch with them in a timely manner. Your availability and response time are keys to a successful do-it-yourself publicity campaign. Your success depends on a fast response, which means staying on top of your emails and voicemails.
Bad Connections — When it’s time for your interview, make sure you call in on a landline. A dropped call or a bad connection can lead to confusion, wasted time, or worse, for you and the person interviewing you. Good crisp connections are key in achieving success in any publicity campaign. The key to good, clear connections goes beyond the phone line to your message. Practice what you’re going to say so you can deliver a clear, concise message that connects with the interviewer and the audience. And don’t forget to practice your sound bites. These are what people are going to remember.
Self-Promotion — Take a promotional break. When you’re being interviewed, remember that the interview is your promotion, so let it do its stuff. There’s no need to say, “In my book…” 15 times. Let the conversation develop organically and follow the lead of the interviewer. Remember, he or she is a professional and has built trust with the audience. Let the interviewer guide you so the audience will trust you as well. When you take a backseat to the interview’s power of promotion you’ll be amazed by the results you’ll receive just by being yourself.
Remember, you have to sell yourself to the media. Every mistake you avoid will raise your value higher, allowing you to gain media attention and publicity success you deserve.
A DIY publicity campaign is a tough hill to climb, but the rewards and success you’ll find at the top are well worth the effort. If you can avoid the basic mistakes mentioned above, you’ll be on the road to publicity success.