Have you ever wondered how people get publicity? Maybe you’ve done some research into hiring a publicist, or considered putting together a press release, only to be shocked at how expensive it is with absolutely no promise for publicity.

I will never forget the day I reached out to a local firm here in Washington, D.C. where I live, and was told that to hire them was $5,000 per month, with a 6-month contract, and they would not promise me any results.

I didn’t have $30,000 to hand over for potentially nothing. Regrettably, I hear this story all the time. Entrepreneurs who’ve been burned by PR agencies, thinking that hiring them was going to be their magic ticket, despite the hefty cost. They paid the fees and got little or no results.

Maybe you haven’t hired a publicist yet but perhaps you’ve dropped hundreds or even thousands on press releases, only to see them dismissed or totally ignored by the press because the journalist didn’t feel that it was a good enough story to report on.

Have you felt this level of frustration and even trepidation in handing over so much control and money to PR people and press releases that just don’t deliver? It might seem like these are your only two options but they aren’t.

There’s a time and a place for publicists and press releases but I’d like to introduce you to a third option, that I’ve discovered really due to my own tenacity and personal dedication for success that’s more affordable, scalable and actually gets results. That option is publicity.

If you’re wondering why I know all about publicity, allow me to share just a little of my background.  I’m a serial entrepreneur who has this knack of finding things missing in the marketplace. Most recently, a freak accident left me with a broken foot and an awful big, clunky medical boot. This literally happened the day before I was going to New York City, fashion capital of the world.

After scouring the Internet for anything to make that boot look better, and realizing there was nothing on the market, I started Castmedic Designs. This is a fashion accessory line for medical boots to make the almost 4 million people put in boots annually look and feel better about themselves while healing.

When I launched this company, I had zero money left to hire a publicist, and certainly not for the $30,000 that I was quoted. I taught myself everything I could about getting publicity for my new company and my new product line. I had to educate the market about something that was completely new to the marketplace. How in the world was I going to let people know that this existed?

How many of you reading this have thought the same thing? How can I get more customers? How do I get people to find out about my product, my service or my company? How is my competitor getting all of this exposure? I figured out a lot of things that worked and I created formulas that get journalists’ attention.

Since launching CastMedic Designs in 2012, either me or my products have appeared in over 200 media outlets, including the Steve Harvey show three times, Dr. Oz, other national media outlets like Parenting Magazine and the Washington Post, and even the local affiliates of ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS.

This free publicity has resulted in thousands of more customers and over six figures in sales, and the best part about it, I did it myself. I didn’t have to spend $30,000 on a publicist and, I got the same results, if not better than they would have gotten for me.

My clients are also seeing similar results including some with as much as 5-figure sales after just one local appearance. And others now getting large sponsorship deals and being paid to speak on their topic.

Even if you haven’t ever hired a publicist, how much money have you spent trying to get people to notice you? From your website to SEO, maybe Facebook ads, even paying for press releases to get your message out there, but no one’s taking notice.

Let me share my solution of how to get noticed at no cost to you, other than learning the tools and a little bit of time to implement them.

What is Publicity?

First of all, we’ve got to make the really important distinction of the difference between publicity and a press release. The definition of publicity is, notice or attention given to someone or something by the media.

That’s what’s so important. It’s what they also call earned media because you’re getting third party credibility. The best part about publicity is it’s free.

Publicity is what gets you on TV, radio. It makes you a star in your industry.

As I mentioned, you can hire a publicist from anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 a month for 6 months to get you free publicity, or you can do it yourself with the same and probably better results because you are more passionate about your business than they will ever be.

Three-Pronged Approach to Publicity

I have a simple three-pronged approach to publicity:

  • being newsworthy,
  • having a great hook for your story, and
  • finding the right journalist.

Once you know how to do this, you can get media coverage over and over and over again, which allows new customers to find you. It gives you credibility in your industry, and the best part of all, you get to charge more money because of that credibility.

What is a Press Release?

The definition of a press release is, an official statement issued to newspapers or any media outlet, giving information on a particular matter. The key here is “issued to.” You wrote it and you gave it to the media and you paid to do this.

A press release is really no different than paying for advertising.

Everybody puts out press releases because they think that’s what they’re supposed to do, that sending a press release out will result in tons of press coverage. It just doesn’t happen like that anymore. You are spending a fortune for something that in our digital age of email and social media, you just don’t have to pay for anymore.

You will have better results finding the right journalist, building a relationship with them and getting publicity that way, than you ever will by sending out blind press releases.

I’m not saying that the press release is dead, but there really is a time and a place of when to invest in a press release.

I issued a press release for my book, PR for Anyone 100+ Affordable Ways to Easily Create Buzz for your Business. I decided to do a press release for SEO purposes and to get mass Internet searchable coverage about my book as part of an intentional marketing plan for my book launch.

With the nature of the topic, I was confident that it would get picked up on enough websites to make it worthy of the investment of paying for a press release. It’s important to note that I wrote the press release. I paid for it and all of my contact information is there. It’s just like advertising. I paid to tell the world about my book the way I wanted them to hear about it.

When you pay to distribute a press release, it goes out across the wire and it’s picked up by media outlets in its entirety, with your exact press release on every site. Rarely, if ever, do you see a unique story written. It’s usually just your press release that is posted.

What was great for me is that the press release about my book appeared on over 1,800 sites, so this was great for SEO and I sold quite a few books, but it’s also short-lived, being on all these sites, because they’re replaced with the new press releases regularly.

I really think you’re better off learning how to promote yourself in a way that journalists want to see it done and getting your own free publicity. You will easily see a return of investment on learning these skills in the new customers you get, the credibility you establish and the higher fees you can charge.

What if you could be the one regularly quoted in media outlets where your customers are instead of your competitors? How much business could you bring in from that publicity alone? Imagine if your peers and reputable names in your industry were taking notice of you and wanted to work with you. Or that you were getting paid speaking engagements because people were taking notice of you because of all of the publicity you are getting.

Publicity Provides Credibility

Bottom line, publicity provides credibility. Having someone else write about you means someone other than you loves you and they are sharing that love with their audience.

Publicity is for you if you are doing things that make an impact on the world. Whether you have a product or service-based business, if you have a message to share, you need to know how to get publicity.

I love to use this analogy because I think everyone has a Joe’s Pizza in their community and they all compare their pizza to authentic New York pizza. Let’s say Joe’s Pizza sends out a press release saying they are the best pizza outside of New York. Well you know that they sent it out and it’s just them saying how great they think their pizza is.

Let’s say you’re flipping through your local paper and there’s an article titled, “Hidden New York Pizza Gem,” and it’s written by a journalist, and in the article, he talks about he’s from Brooklyn. He was born and raised in New York and he accidentally stumbled upon Joe’s Pizza and this is the closest thing to New York pizza he’s ever had outside of New York.

Which one do you think is more credible? Which one would make you want to go to Joe’s Pizza? Obviously, the one written by somebody else. Now as I mentioned earlier, there are times when a press release makes sense. What would that be?

When to Issue a Press Release

Why would you use a press release? If you have national news to share. If you’re taking a big company public. If you are launching a business with national appeal. Even something like my book that I really thought had potential to get picked up because the book provides such a great service to business owners. For me, however, I gained value in the 1,800 links to the release that provided SEO versus having a story written about the book.

A press release with legs can do wonders for your SEO. Lastly, you can share press releases on your website, which helps with SEO, and it also lets customers learn more about you. These are just posting press releases on your website. I’m not recommending paying for them and then posting them on your website.

Why Wouldn’t You Use a Press Release?

It costs a lot of money. They’re usually about $300 to $500 depending on where you’re sending them out to. Sometimes I’ve seen them as high as $700 and $800.

Most small businesses can’t afford to send press releases out on a regular basis.

How to Get Publicity

My recommendation is to learn the tools of publicity. Make yourself newsworthy. Learn how to write a great hook. Find the right journalist to submit it to. With these tools in place, you’ll have the media sharing stories about you, for free.

To Your PR Success,