Publicity, Part 3: How to get publicity

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Imagine for a moment that you get your hometown newspaper, open up the business page, and are happily stunned to see a big article about you and your work.

Now imagine that it\’s not your hometown newspaper—it\’s actually 5000 miles/8000 kilometers away from where you live.

Thrilled? You should be! I certainly was when I saw the photo I\’ve posted, featuring my book cover in an article about my ideas and the talk I was doing the following week.

I\’ve been similarly thrilled to see \”my name in lights\” in such places as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, and even Woman\’s Day, each of which have cited me multiple times. And even more thrilled to see coverage around the world…in major publications in Australia, Romania, Colombia, and elsewhere. I even had my book cover blasted across an electronic billboard in New York\’s Times Square. And I\’m especially thrilled since none of this media attention cost me even one penny.

It also gladdens my heart that when I get this kind of coverage, it means more people are learning that green and ethical business can be profitable business—that all of us, together, are creating a new, earth-centered business paradigm. And it doesn\’t hurt that my high media visibility sometimes brings in a new client or speaking invitation.

In a typical year, I do 50 to 150 interviews in print, Internet, and broadcast media. I do this without a public relations agency, and without a corporate presence; I am simply one solopreneur working from a farmhouse in a rural area.

Would you like to get free exposure for your business? It\’s not that hard.

We talked about press releases earlier in this series. The Kauiai writeup came from a press release sent by the meeting organizer who brought me in.

But there\’s an even better way to get in front of reporters: offer to be a source for reporters who are already looking for story sources for a specific article. Conveniently, there are several no-cost services that match reporters looking for sources with sources seeking coverage:

• HARO (Help A Reporter Out): www.helpareporter.com
• Reporter Connection: www.ReporterConnection.com
• Pitch Rate: www.PitchRate.com
• Radio Guest List: www.RadioGuestList.com

Sign up for some or all of these, follow the Twitter feeds of @helpareporter, @reporterconxn, @pitchrate, @profnet, @prleads, and @radioguestlist—and pitch when you match the criteria the reporter requests (DON\’T spam them with inappropriate responses, unless you want to get banned).

Now, some pitching hints to turn queries into coverage:

• Respond as instantly as possible (except for Radio GuestList—in most cases, the radio producers have an ongoing need, and you\’ll stand out more by waiting a week or two until the deluge dies down). These queries may draw 200 responses, so the fastest in get the closest consideration. Consider setting up a separate e-mail address to receive and respond to queries, and check that account every hour from 6 a.m. to 6 pm. US Eastern Time (or better yet, turn on audio notification just for that account).
• Stay on topic and relevant—don\’t try to make a fit where one doesn\’t really exist. That means paying attention to such factors as geographic needs, size of company, or anything else the reporter might specify in the query (yeah, it would be nice if more reporters put the restrictions in the headline).
• Give the reporter something to quote right in your query (I usually do between 2-5 bullet points or one very meaty paragraph).
• Mention your relevant credentials and include a link to your media room on your website.
• Set up Google and Yahoo Alerts for your name, book title, and perhaps main topic keywords (if not too general), so you can see if you get quoted—reporters won\’t always tell you.

What goes in a media room? Anything a reporter might find useful in researching a story, such as photos for reprint, a list of media that have covered you, press releases, a bio, and—very important for radio or TV) sample interview questions. You can see one of my media rooms at http://greenandprofitable.com/contact/media-room/#media —you\’re welcome to use it as a model.

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