Publicity comes in all shapes, sizes and locations, but it's up to you to create the buzz! I'm still amazed at photographers who look at their competitors and think the story they're reading in the local paper or online is completely random. Rarely is anything random!
It's Marketing Monday and the perfect time, especially since this is the slow season for most of you, to think about publicity moments.
Publicity is all about exposure for you and your business. It's a key to building a solid reputation and brand awareness. Some of the synonyms for "publicity" are public attention, public interest, public notice, media attention/interest, face time, exposure and limelight. Pick any one of them and it's not about who you know but who knows you. Publicity gives your business and advertising credibility.
Let's start with one obvious tool to help generate publicity.Never be without a camera. You don't always need to have your main gear with you. While I know cell phones do a lot these days, I still prefer a decent point and shoot with more flexibility for a decent shot. You want a camera with you all the time because you never know when something is going to be worth capturing that puts you in the "limelight."
- Outlets for "exposure" are everywhere. The obvious big winners are stories in the local paper, on the community/city website, etc., but that's at the top. All along the way you've got your blog, other public blogs, being involved in community events, direct mail, various related websites, conventions, brochures, etc. Don't forget to offer the use of your images, from a community event for example, to the hosting group, company or association, We're looking for anything that gets your name out there.
- Never assume you or your story aren't newsworthy! Especially with publications, never assume they're not interested in something you're doing. At Rangefinder Magazine, we used to go regularly to the story stash to look for something interesting when we had space to fill. Not every story is going to be a cover feature and often we had small sections within the magazine that simply needed something interesting for people to read about.
- Guest posts are perfect for building your brand! Look for opportunities with other photographers along with members of the community to write a guest post. The goal is to get your name out there together with some of your images. For example, you might have a mom in the community who blogs about things to do with kids. It's the perfect vehicle to get your name out there with some picture taking tips to raise the bar on the quality of images Mom's are capturing. Just be helpful.
- Another example is a post about storytelling. Nobody tells a story better than a photographer. Sharing a guest post about how to tell a story with photographs is the perfect way to let the community know what you do for a living without being in their face. Once again, just be helpful to your readers.
- Enlist the help of a PR agency. Most of you will initially think your business isn't big enough to hire a professional publicist, but this is a nothing-ventured-nothing-gained scenario. Until you talk with a company like this, you have no idea what the cost might be.
- Use an online publicity company to help you spread the word. Again, not everything you send out will get published. Look at companies like PRWeb and Newswire. While they both take a little time to get used to, the biggest challenge is developing your the discipline, and staying focused. Do your best to publish a new release twice a month.
- Utilize social media! When you do get a little exposure, use Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest to get the word out. Even if the story being published was one you wrote, give people the link to take a look. Remember, the key word is creating buzz, and you're the key to making sure people know what you're doing and when something about you or your business has been published!
No one blog post can cover everything you need to do to become your own publicity machine, but at least these points give you something to think about. Most important of all, you know how to hold focus on your subjects. A great publicity campaign is about holding focus on your business!