Today, Mary shares with us the great things she learned from the workshops she attended.
Lessons from the Summit of Awesome: How to Get Publicity
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to have an opportunity to attend the 2011 Summit of Awesome in Baltimore. This outstanding event is produced by Hello Craft, a non-profit trade association whose mission is support and advance independent crafters and the handmade movement, empower small business owners and educate the public as to the benefits of buying handmade. In Hello Craft’s words,
“The Summit of Awesome is an annual conference that brings together crafters and makers from across the U.S. to learn, grow, and be prosperous in todayâ€™s economy. With a desire to help sustain the handmade movement and support independent crafters within the community, Hello Craft welcomes independent business owners and makers to the 2011 Summit of Awesome.”
The days were filled with so many excellent sessions that I found it hard to choose which ones to attend. I wished I could have crafted my own version of Hermione Grangerâ€™s Time Turner necklaceÂ so that I could have attended all sessions. But I digressâ€¦
Following are my bullet-pointed lessons learned from two of the sessions I attended, both of which addressed the topic of garnering publicity: â€œShameless Self-Promotion,â€ was lead by Laurie Henzel and Debbie Stoller, owners and founders of BUST Magazine; and â€œThe Press: How to Get and Deal with Coverageâ€ with Kelly Rand , Editor for Crafting a Green World/Co-Founder of Hello Craft and much more, and Christine Ernest, Communications Director for Hello Craft.
- Identify the publications you are interested in, then read them to get a feel for the types of stories they cover.
- Do your research to make sure you are pitching the right person. You want to find the person who is most relevant to your topic.
- Use Google to find the right contact information for the person you want to pitch. If you look around, you can find the contact info for just about anyone in the media, but it may take some work.
- Once you have identified the person you want to pitch, read their articles, follow them on Twitter, and get a feel for their work so that you can tailor your pitch to them.
- Send your pitch 6 months ahead of time for national print publications, or 1-2 months for local.
- Pitch a story, not a product. Pitching your products for placement generally doesnâ€™t work since editors like to discover items on their own.
- Make a good pitch via email with a great subject line that will compel them to open your email. If it is for an event, be sure to include the What and When in the subject line should be succinct since they can get cut off by some mail applications.
- Address your email to the particular person you have identified, and use their name in the body of the email (youâ€™d be surprised how many pitches that editors get addressed to the wrong person, or â€œTo Whom It May Concern.â€)
- Only attach 1-3 low-resolution images in your email. Although, it is best to have 1 outstanding one.
- Put all relevant information in the body of the email (some people prefer not to have links, others donâ€™t mind, as long as the link works!).
- Always make sure to include the Who, What, Where, When and Why in the first paragraph. Editors wonâ€™t bother to dig around for the key information.
- It helps to refer to other stories they have printed that are related to your topic, to show that you are familiar with their work.
- If you are pitching a story, describe briefly what your story will be about, using short paragraphs and bullet points. Include a brief bio that highlights why you are qualified to write about that subject. And make sure to include all of your contact info.
- If you are promoting an event, it is helpful if you partner with a charity and/or other companies to get wider attention for your event/story.
- If you have received press before, mention your previous press, including quotes relevant to the publication and story you are pitching. Print publications are best, but if you donâ€™t have that in your portfolio, be sure to mention relevant blog coverage you have received.
- It should go without saying, but sure to include your contact information, including your website.
- Follow up, but donâ€™t be annoying. If someone says, â€œNo thanksâ€ to your pitch, that means, â€œNo thanks,â€ and leave it at that. However, if you havenâ€™t heard back from the person youâ€™re pitching, it doesnâ€™t hurt to follow up with an email saying something like â€œI just wanted to make sure you go the letter, and wanted to know if you needed any additional information.â€