Look at this dumb stock photo girl. She'll probably never be a real media whore because she doesn't know how to write a proper press release. Oh well, so long as she gets out of a car commando-style she'll have half a chance.
Over the years I’ve accumulated a good stack of press clippings; newspaper articles, radio interviews, Breakfast Television appearances, magazine mentions, and blog links. You could say I’m lucky or you could say I know how to work it.
For this week’s Story Time Tuesday, I’m not going to tell you a story, I’m going to give you some pointers on how to get attention for your events and even your name in the paper. It’s as easy as … not being an idiot.
1. Write a press release. Sounds silly, but you would not believe the amount of people that have asked me, ‘How do you always get your events featured in the paper?’ When I tell them I sent a press release they look at me like I just asked them what is the square root of infinity.
The job of the press release is to make the busy reporter’s job easier. Write a good hook for the event about why what you’re doing is interesting or important now. Then tell them all the who, what, where, when and how much. Don’t forget to include your contact info so they can book you for an interview. Keep it short and punchy and send it at least three weeks before the show.
2. Have a good idea. That’s the tricky part. The things that I get press on are things that no one else is doing. Teen Angst – totally started that myself. Sparkle Bunny- I was the only person doing a play about a forgotten 90s trend in 2005. Dance Dance Party Party VanCity – it’s got so many spins an editor can put on it you’d think it was a fly-girl. Say Wha?! (happening this Tuesday July 20) okay, I’m not the first person to make fun of bad writing, but I’m probably the first person in town to program a night dedicated to it who sent out a decent press release and awesomesauce poster to go with it.
3. Take pictures! Never underestimate the power of a good colour high resolution photograph. I spent decent money on my photographers for my Sparkle Bunny and F*ck Off and Die‘s promo pics and many of my shots appeared in local papers. Sparkle Bunny was even the cover of the Georgia Straight’s fringe pull out, probably because it was a tall, colourful photo with the perfect amount of negative space.
When choosing your photos don’t just pick them with your own vanity in mind, put yourself in the shoes of an editor. What is the most interesting, attention grabbing, clean photograph? That’s the one that will get used.
4. Spread the word. Spread it like a disease; like swine flu. It took me three years of hard viral marketing, spamming, e-mailing and press releasing before I got the attention of an editor at Random House who messaged me to say, “This TeenAngstPoetry.com website of yours would make a good book.” And I completely agreed.
5. Make friends with the press. How do you do that? Be reliable. Be ready at the drop of a hat. Be persistent but not annoying. Don’t piss off the listings editor by e-mailing them every day to double check that they got your event. Send it once, relax and let them do their job. (Thank you event listings editors!)
Granted, I could go a lot further. I’m no media whore like the way Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Courtney Love are. Our goals are different. Some people want to be famous for being famous. Me, my goal is for people to come to my events and have a good time. Hopefully they’ll throw in a little respect because no matter how silly my events may seem I take this all seriously. But serious in the most fun way possible.