Monday, December 20, 2010

Public Speaking: Joan Stewart's Top Ten Ways to Get Free Publicity

They're referred to as Publicity Hounds and I'll bet you know at least one.

They're the people smiling back at you from color photos that accompany their profile story in the morning paper. Turn on the radio and there they are again, chatting away on a local talk show. Two months later, they show up on the cover of your trade journal. Then they're being interviewed on the 11 o'clock news. While you're buying expensive advertising to deliver your message, they're doing it for free.

During my 22 years as a newspaper editor and reporter, I have seen well-meaning people fail repeatedly in their attempts to beg and cajole the media to pay attention to them. That's because media relations is a sophisticated game with its own etiquette, protocol and rules. Today, as a media relations consultant, professional speaker and ezine publisher, I teach people how to create free publicity to sell a product or service, champion a cause, create an image and establish their expertise.

Here are my Top 10 tips for free publicity:

1. Send news releases about new products and services, contests, awards, open houses, speaking engagements to the media, and post them online where consumers can find them. The handy checklist "89 Reasons to Send a News Release" is yours free when you subscribe to my free ezine, "The Publicity Hound's Tips of the Week" at

2. Write "how-to" articles for newspapers, magazines, trade publications and newsletters, and for online article directories, and offer lots of free advice. It helps establish you as an expert. See Special Report #6: How to Write How-to Articles That Position You as an Expert.

3. Get onto the speaking circuit. Speaking to community groups and trade associations is a wonderful way to "create the buzz" about your business.

4. Create a website chock full of free advice, articles by and about you, story ideas about your business, and an electronic media kit.

5. Write an ezine. A free electronic newsletter helps you sell your products and services to an international audience and costs almost nothing compared to expensive direct mail campaigns. With permission, you can send the ezine to reporters who cover your industry. See Special Report #38: How to Publish a Profitable Electronic Newsletter

6. Get to know reporters. Offer yourself as someone they can call on for background, commentary and story ideas. Call and ask, "How can I help you?"

7. Start your own TV show on your local cable TV company's public access channel. Air time is free. You pay a minimal amount to rent the camera equipment.

8. Look for photo opportunities. Local newspapers, TV stations, weekly shoppers, trade publications and other media are always looking for interesting photos. Call the media with ideas, or submit your own photos.

9. Blog, and post comments at other blogs. Bloggers, unlike journalists, love to link to each other, and getting in front of one influential blogger can really create a buzz online.

10. Participate in online discussion groups and offer lots of helpful advice. Reporters lurk here, and if they're impressed with your messages, they might contact you for a story. Use a signature file in your email that explains what you do and how you can help solve people's problems. Link to your web site. Above all, be patient and persistent. The key to savvy media relations is understanding how to dovetail your wants and needs with those of the media.

Publicity expert Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound, publishes "The Publicity Hound's Tips of the Week," a free ezine that shows you how to generate thousands of dollars in free online and offline publicity.

Subscribe at and receive free the handy checklist "89 Reasons to Send a Press Release." Contact her at 262-284-7451 or at

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