CHAPTER 4: BECOME YOUR OWN BEST PUBLICIST

 

BY TJ Walker

Whether you have a team of a dozen publicists promoting you or you are doing it all yourself, you must become pro-active when it comes to initiating, generating and maintaining your media relations. If you look at the most well-known gurus in your field or any other field, chances are they handle much of their own PR, no matter how big they are or how well-known they have become.

For example, Donald Trump has a monopoly and a near universal brand recognition for his niche; let’s call it the “caricature of an obnoxious cartoon character business mogul who is filled with arrogance and hubris.” Whether you love Trump or hate him (you can probably figure out where I stand), it is undeniable that he lives, eats and breathes his brand and that he is personally responsible for it. Trump has in the past claimed that he handled his entire PR himself personally (typical overstatement on his part). But there is no doubt that he has spent many hours of every day actively courting and reacting to press inquiries.

Here are seven essential things you need to do in order to be your own best publicist, no matter how big your organization is and no matter how many pr executives you have working for you.

  1. Always give media people your personal phone number and let them know they can call you any time of day or night—they should not have to go through handlers or other pr people to get through to you.
  2. Return media calls instantly! Or at least within 5 minutes, no matter what.
  3. Call reporters and producers directly with ideas for stories, even when the stories don’t directly involve you.
  4. Invite reporters and producers to parties and social events frequently—and don’t expect them to give you coverage.
  5. Socialize at nightclubs, restaurants, beach and ski resorts where media types hang out.
  6. Make real friendships with media people.
  7. Initiate interesting newsworthy ideas and opinion every single day.

Say “yes” to everything, and I mean everything. If a 5th grade class in Butte Montana wants to interview you for school radio show and their school only has 12 students, then you do it, and you act like it is the Today Show. You don’t have to give them 2 hours of your time, but you can give them 2 minutes by phone. You never know, the 11 year old interviewing you just might be a 21-year-old producer for the Today show in the future. Plants seeds now. Everywhere.


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