Friday, August 22, 2008

Wacky ways to get yourself known

I've always been fascinated by strange, creative and off the wall publicity strategies. From time to time I like to post ideas from the field - especially publicity stunts that go beyond what many people believe to be "traditional media"

The following story was submitted by Shana Mahaffey
Publicist – San Francisco

When Kemble Scott's debut novel SoMa was released, he figured he probably wouldn't be getting on Oprah. As a new author, the chances of getting any publicity were slim to none. He thought it would be especially tough for his book. Set in the underground of San Francisco, he knew that newspaper editors (especially book review editors) tend to ignore work they think is too edgy.
So Scott decided to take the pitch for his book directly to readers.

What could be more democratic than YouTube?

He created a series of companion videos that told the true stories that inspired the novel. Even though SoMa is a work of fiction, the places featured in the book are real. The videos revealed a side of the city few in mainstream society knew existed. Collectively, the videos have been viewed about 60,000 times. That was enough to create buzz for the book.

Scott went from being a relatively unknown writer to hitting the San Francisco Chronicle's bestsellers list the first week the book was for sale. That was before Scott had done a single public appearance, and without any coverage from mainstream media.Eventually SoMa would hit #4 on the bestsellers list. And the story of the YouTube videos became a marketing vehicle itself.

Scott was the first to use YouTube to promote a work of fiction this way, and that led to mentions in newspapers and on the notorious blog ValleyWag. An estimated 300,000 different books are published each year in the United States, so it's a monumental task to get one to stand out from the crowd. It's also widely believed that books don't benefit very much from traditional advertising. That's why you don't use TV commercials for books. Instead, books tend to succeed by word of mouth, like one neighbor telling another over the backyard fence. Now, in the grassroots age of the Internet, YouTube can be just like a little neighborhood.

For more information on this Wacky Idea visit:

Thanks Shana

Friday, August 15, 2008


This article was written by me and originally published in Association Meetings Magazine last April. You can find Association Meetings Magazine online at

On any given day, up to 70 percent of all the stories in newspapers across the United States were either released or pitched by public relations firms, publicists, and corporate communications firms. In the case of business news — often released by business owners or their industry associations — this number approaches 100 percent.

Publicity is such a powerful complement to traditional marketing that most major corporations staff entire departments with people whose only job is to get their company in the news.
Associations too can employ this marketing strategy. And when they do, they see their membership rosters swell, their political and civic agendas gather momentum, and their meetings and trade events grow.

Unfortunately, many organizations fail to get the coverage they desire. This failure comes from a misunderstanding as to how mainstream news agencies work. If you hope to exploit the media's insatiable appetite for information, you must first understand a few simple truths.

First, the media needs you

Most newsrooms are short-staffed and their reporters have little time and need a constant stream of new ideas. You should never allow your organization to implement a new service or product, promote a cause, adopt a new social position, or change leadership without notifying the media.

When your association has a meeting or trade event, alert the local media. If you have a speaker of national prominence on the agenda, alert the media. Will your speaker grant interviews to the press? What awards will be given, to whom, and why? Is the event open to the public? If so, how may someone attend? What industry trends or changes will be discussed? Have you hired a new director? Can you guess? That's right, alert the media.

Before a meeting, you might consider encouraging your members to send press releases announcing their plans to attend to the newspapers in their hometowns. This alone would get your organization coverage in newspapers across the country. And your members will learn a valuable marketing strategy they can use in their business lives over and over again.

Second, reporters are relationship-oriented.

If you want to get expanded coverage for your events, it's not enough to blast-fax a release or send it out on a news wire. While appropriate for simple announcements, such as awards, pitching a feature story idea requires personal contact. Fax or e-mail your release directly to the reporter, then follow up with a phone call. Introduce yourself and confirm the reporter received your release. Then — and this is critical — ask if you can continue. Never begin pitching a story idea without first getting permission to do so.

The media needs you. But they owe you nothing. Help them by providing them a steady stream of new ideas. Respect their time. Treat them as cherished partners. Understand when they decline a story. Become a valuable, trusted, and dependable resource and they will reward you with priceless exposure for years to come.

Michael Hart is a speaker and trainer on publicity. For more information on his programs, reach him at (205) 678-9661 or To learn more about this subject, send a blank e-mail to to receive Hart's report, MEDIA BLITZ, free of charge.

Free PR Newswire Seminar

This link will take you to a recent Webinar I delivered for PR Newswire called -
"Maximizing Publicity, Minimizing Cost"

In this program I reveal some of the more important trends taking place in the media and how to get tons of free exposure for your company, association, meeting, organization or event

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Live Interview with Zig Ziglar

On my main site I'm building a directory of many of the better interviews from my radio program The Success Radio Network

This week I posted a great one with legendary business expert and speaker Zig Ziglar. You're invited to listen to it here:

Make sure to visit the site often as I continue to post some of the greatest business interviews from some of the greatest business minds

Monday, August 4, 2008

Pitching Orphan Media

A recent article on media trends claims that 67% of all people now claim to get their news reports from the web instead of print papers. If this number is accurate the opportunities for publicity seekers are now officially boundless. Unlike print papers the web presents some fascinating advantages, one being the “inventoried article”.

For year’s sister publications, (Newspapers owned or published by the same group) have shared articles among themselves. I’ve written articles for a Business Journal publication in one city that was reprinted in Business Journal’s in different cities without me doing a thing.

However on the web the dynamic of these inventoried articles changes. Articles are no longer restricted to sister publications. Any site can reprint an article provided proper credit is given and often do so.

Three weeks ago I was mentioned in an article published by Forbes Magazine. Forbes posted the article to their site and within days the article was reposted by MSNBC. Then the Sydney Herald (Yes Australia) picked it up.
Read it here - There’s no telling where this one article will go.

But here’s where the opportunity explodes. Many publicity seekers shun pitching smaller web based publications and blogs (I refer to these smaller - independent news providers as "Orphan Media") because they feel the smaller audiences won’t pay off. As I’ve been preaching for years (My upcoming webinar sponsored by PR News Wire is on this exact topic) media outlets are starved for information. So starved they’re willing to publish competing news media’s stories. Smaller outlets are easier to reach, easier to sell, easier to work with and with a little luck your story could travel around the globe.

Don’t fall victim to the belief the articles only trickle down from the big guys. It’s the big guys doing “most of the heavy lifting”. So when it’s time to pitch that next great story idea don’t be foolish. Tell it and “sell” it to anyone that will buy.