I made it

TOP TIPS: Five ways to create a buzz …

Getting publicity for yourself, your product or your business is more competitive than ever. Here I outline five ways to create a buzz … I made it

* Sell your personal story

Possibly the most successful way of gaining publicity – which can be life-changing. For example when via Featureworld Natalie Balmond’s story appeared in the Daily Mail, and then on national TV, her business was transformed overnight. Natalie told the story of how she had successfully concocted her own eczema cream in her kitchen to cure her daughter’s eczema and how she now sold it – needless to say the orders flooded in.

* Help someone else and sell their story

If you (and no-one else in your company) has a personal story to tell then find someone to help who has. A good example of this was a recent interviewee Jeanette Leach whose story about her dilemma of whether to have her 32JJ boobs reduced appeared in the Daily Mirror and then ITV Daybreak. Following this, Jeanette received offers of bras from one manufacturer and an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon. Another recent interviewee (also represented by Featureworld) was offered clothes. But ensure if you offer something like this – you follow up your offer properly. If the person you offered clothes to wears them, blog and tweet it, put a pic of them in your clothes on your website, send out a press release. As a publicist it never ceases to amaze me how many PR people have great ideas that could really sell – and then bizarrely let them fall by the wayside.

* Apply for an award

Recently I blogged and tweeted about how I have been asked by arguably Britain’s most influential and prestigious national newspaper to nominate entrants an award for ‘inspirational women’ – it was a marvellous opportunity for someone to promote their organisation and I have put someone forward, who is being considered. Even if that lady does not get through, her organisation has been put up to top editors, who might well commission her story anyway. Sadly many awards are worth nothing – just puffs that you can buy so check them out carefully. But there are some gems (this award was one of those), which are run by national newspapers and magazines themselves and because publicity is guaranteed, even just being an entrant in one can prove life-changing.

* Commission a survey

Running a survey and publishing the results is possibly one of the most effective ways of gaining publicity in a national paper. As a feature writer, I am always quoting results from surveys even months after they were initially published and I am constantly asked by editors to write features to follow on from surveys. Again, though, if your company is going to do such a survey, ensure you gain the most from all your hard work by backing up your findings with a case study. If your survey reveals, ‘More happily married couples live apart …’ for example try to include some real people to contact. Sadly I am often asked by national newspapers on a tight deadline to follow up a survey and find some case studies for them – and when you ring the company involved, they ‘don’t know of anyone’. Unsurprisingly the story falls down and the double page plug they could have got does not materialise.

* Put yourself or someone in your company forward as an expert

Journalists are always looking for someone to quote on stories. If you are running a company, it’s a given you should be an expert in your field. Professionals such as doctors and psychologists can register with the press office of their governing body to become such an expert. Otherwise, ensure you say you are available for expert comment on your website. And then – and most importantly – be available! You might be very busy – and you might not be able to answer a call during a consultation with a patient for example – but if you want to gain publicity you must make yourself available. I am again amazed at the number of experts who ring back a week later – by then the story has been printed and a rival who squeezed in the five minutes to chat in between meetings has bagged that valuable plug instead.

You might also like: Why the journalist deleted your press release
How a mention in a national newspaper transformed a business overnight

Written by journalist and media agent Alison Smith-Squire. To find out more about creating a buzz contact Alison.

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Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website Featureworld.co.uk, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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