This post is the second in a series of excerpts from OneCoach CEO John Assaraf’s interview with publicity expert Paul Hartunian.
If you’re a newcomer to the publicity game, it helps to understand some basic rules. Here are two fundamental principles that will greatly enhance your efforts to generate publicity for your business.
Rule #1 for PR novices: Start small.
Do your first radio interview with a radio station of a hundred watts or less. (You can find out how much power a station has by looking in any media directory.) Working with a small station will minimize your jitters and allow you to get comfortable with how radio interviews work.
Ditto with newspapers. For your first press interview, go with a paper that has a circulation of 1,000 or less. Again, you’ll find the numbers in media directories. Once you get comfortable with small media outlets, start working your way up to the bigger ones.
Interestingly, the bigger you get in the newspaper, radio and TV worlds, the more professional the interviewers get. They know how to make you feel comfortable, which makes the interview a lot easier.
Finally, don’t get too excited. When asked to give an interview, many business owners see it as their “once in a lifetime publicity opportunity.” As a result, they get overly excited, have unrealistic expectations, and come across as nervous or unprepared. Or worse, they violate the unwritten rule of never giving a sales pitch during a PR interview.
Stay cool, calm and in control. Once get into the flow, you will begin to see publicity opportunities all around you.
Rule #2: Don’t expect instant results.
Too often, business owners send out a very good press release but nothing happens. So they throw in the towel and give up on their PR efforts.
But reporters are like crafty old bass lurking in the fishing hole. They rarely bite the first time you throw out a line. Instead, they wait to see what you do next.
A week later, send out a second press release. This will pique the reporter’s interest further, but chances are he still won’t respond. However, the reporter is getting to know your name.
A week later, send out a third press release. If it, too, contains information that will be useful to the reporter’s readers, listeners or viewers, you may soon receive a phone call. At the least, the reporter will keep you in mind the next time he or she needs an expert on your topic.
Why do reporters play it so close to the vest?
Put yourself in their shoes. They have the potential to give you what amounts to thousands of dollars worth of airtime or space in the newspaper. Before they give it away, they want to make darn sure you know what you’re doing.
PR isn’t like winning the lottery. It’s a gradual process of building relationship with various media outlets. Provide useful information each time, and after a while the results begin to flow.
So start small, be patient and stick with it. Your rewards will come in time.