Becoming Your Own Publicity Machine
So let's, talk about publicity real quick publicity doesn't happen by accident. I mentioned it earlier, those images out there that you see in the newspaper, those stories that get published, they don't happen just because somebody was going by and, you know, a reporter happened to drive by your house and saw that your daughter was getting married, decided take a picture the wedding. This is from j conrad levinson, who is the founder and father of guerrilla marketing he's the one that coined the word people like buying products from companies they perceive as giving something back to the community. And we're going to talk about this tomorrow, and we also go into giving back to your community, which is so important. So when you start talking about publicity and getting involved out there, you want to be involved in everything you could possibly be involved in a new community, so getting involved with quanis lines called exchange called rotary what other groups are there in your communit...
y that you could be a part of? Not necessarily photo related? You want to be involved helping the chamber of commerce, you want to do a charity tie in and be there not just to photograph the event, but maybe it's, a charity that pulls at your heart strings, and you want to actually be there as a za participant maybe it's going to be the walk a thon to fight breast cancer? Maybe it's going to be unaids related causes cause anything children, families, whatever it is that pulls at your heart strings it's an opportunity for you to be involved be active in the school system. Most of the people we'll certainly all five or you five of you and most the people that are probably watching and listening are qualified to help the local school out with some kind of a career day you've got the ability to be about every school system has lost money, they've lost their tax basis, they've lost their funding for different projects, you know the band has been killed, the football team always survives and there's nothing wrong with that, but it be fun if the arts survived all the time, just a cz well, but you've got an opportunity is an artist and photographer to go in and talk to a group of kids to help inspire them in terms of photography career day being involved with p t a how about poor traits instead of a bake sale? It's just one more idea I mentioned teaching a class, so when we talk about publicity it doesn't happen by accident and everybody always seems to act like it does so what I'm going to suggest is that you send out two releases each month for three months then back off toe one every other month and then just do every other month for release include a picture every time don't send out a picture of just one person if you can if you've got pictures of a bunch of you send it out and guys you don't need you could just carry anybody's little happy snappy here you don't need to be shooting this with all your major gear that drives your business every photographer should have appointed shoot should have a phone that will give you quality so that you can get that image that you might want to use of a press release um and very your themes one thing might relate to one thing one thing is going to relate to something else in your business one thing might relate to today um here's an example area photographer attends international photographic event in his or her continued efforts to expand the broad selection of cutting edge photographic services. Blank recently attended the creative live program marketing for photographers then there's a quote then there's a close and then this for more information contact with your name, phone and email address. Now what I'm suggesting you do with that is you're going to write up you're going to do a hard copy release and their two ways to do this one is to always remember the clue to include the photo and two is to send it out fedex or ups now I'm talking about the hard copy you're actually sending to the newspaper, the hard copy you might send to the president of the local chamber of commerce, but there's another step to take here because because of social media because of the internet, we can do a lot of this stuff electronically. Now this is a company called vocus dot com they're part of pr weber pr web is part of focus, but vocus dot com allows small businesses, and they have a small business package to do a press release now here's one that that I went ahead and generated this is actually going to drop next, uh, wednesday morning and it's about jared, one of our students today, the best in online education for photographers brings jared and burns to creative live is the headline unix oh, you're pointing out that's, jerry, and this is jerry, that was like a vanna white thing you just did! Yes, I'd like to buy a ball like jared. You always want to have a summary in your formal press releases because a lot of times when you send him out electronically, whoever picks him up isn't necessarily going to publish them. They might have published the whole release, but they might publish the summary, so your summary gives you that and then you've got the body and then you've got an image now, one of the things that I want to get here today is well taken image later and we'll grab a shot of the five you hear it creative, live and we'll run that with the press release what happens when it actually goes out? You've got the ability to actually look at how it looks, look at how it looks, help out, see how it looks, so you've got the ability to take a look at it before you send it, you've got the ability to email, sherritt tweeted google plus like it, and then the next step is the way vocus sets up their system to be able to actually go in and analyze where it's going to go, so you've got the ability to pick the region, you've got the industry you can pick, and we're not going to spend time on it today because I know a lot of people aren't going to do this, but if you do, you've got the ability. You've also got the ability to pick up the phone, and you've got the ability of called focus and talked to an account exact that knows what they're doing. They've got the ability to give you a package deal that lets you do a certain number of releases once a month certain number per year, for example, so the irregularly sending out press releases you've got the ability to take what? What industry you're going to go after in this case, if I opened up the arts and entertainment magazine, it would say photography uh, there I can't remember their all the different asked every everything every category of magazine is out there in terms of what their topics are when you're released actually runs you've got a chance now this is one that related to the going pro project that scott born and I did this was last year it went out on april twenty first going pro celebrates first anniversary, this particular one had two hundred fifty thousand raw impressions, which is sort of a meaningless number, but it makes you feel good to know how many eyeballs saw it, but then when you scroll down, if you look at online pickup, you really get into the magazine's themselves where to get published, what magazines picked it up now this is necessary magazine worth dot com picked it up in their online story, so as you go through, you've got a chance to actually see and what happened here on this one, we had forty five companies that actually picked it up, so forty five different websites ran the story that morning that we wrote and published now is in addition to that if we go back here, I haven't put them in yet, but you've also got the ability to put in links you've also got the ability to put in other names so you can you can take the reader through on interactive presentation and when that drops, what you're going to get back is a u r l for your release, which now you go ahead, you send your own database, so you're going to send it to all of the people that are in your local network, you're going to send it to the chamber of commerce. Now you have to remember that just because you send it out does not mean it's going to get published. This is like the old new york lottery commercial that used to run this is, hey, you never know, you never know when it's going to run, we had a case years ago where we actually ran a release in the magazine that was about somebody being promoted, and we'd had it in the file so long that the guy had actually been fired and wasn't there anymore it's kind of embarrassing, but at the same time it was still good publicity for that particular company, so you don't know when it's going to run or not. At some point, some companies hang on to them, it might run in print, it might run on the internet, but the point is that you're going to have a release about something you did that's related to your business. Now the next step let's just show you one more page here you've got all these anall analytics that you can draw from, um on this particular release uh bottom right corner I don't need to walk over and point on the bottom right hand corner you've got the headline impressions that's just raw impressions that means how many people saw it come up that's all it is it's a meaningless number that just makes you feel good because it's so big the ones you really are interested in are your full page reads that for this particular press release went to I think it was twenty, three hundred different publications and people actually read the full release and open it up in a full window on their computers and then the interactions relate to people that actually did something with it it got picked up, what else did they do with it that they forward? We're going to go and all of that information is all available through focus so that you're working with a company like focus, they can help you become mohr effective. Now the other piece of this you're always going to be better off to work with your own publicist if you can afford to do that and there are people in every single community where you can actually hire somebody that's going to stay on top of this and to michael's point that gives you the advantage of being able to free yourself up for some of these other things that you've got to be doing, but I know an awful lot of photographers are just starting out and I'm not suggesting you've got to go out and hire a publicist, but you're always going to be better with an expert, but here is a way that focus helps you that you can do some of these things yourself now this I love this because everybody always says there's nothing to talk about where I live there's nothing really good here. Yes, there are there's so much to talk about where you are you got a new printer let's assume that you've decided to get into wide format printer and you just bought that big gaps in that you've got you want to let the community know about it, you want to let the community know that you've got you've got the ability to do that at the other side of the coin let's assume that you just went with a new lab and you've got a new lab now that's handling stuff and you just brought in companies like bay photo or white house custom color and you're working with them you want to let everybody know you're moving your studio, you hired a new photographer, you're attending a workshop, diversity expansion, your business monthly, smug tze you've gotten involved and maybe you're the coordinator for smugmug and you're doing local meet ups every month and you're coordinating them who's the speaker next month it's another press release new promotions, new products you might offer we've got some great prices today from album epic a let's assume that you've just brought in some new albums and you're expanding what you're offering your clients I mentioned new lab already knew packages you got involved with the charity you're now not only involved with the charity, but you're chairman of this year's holiday party for whatever lions club rotary exchange all of these things are news worthy just because they're not newsworthy to you and just because somebody's car didn't drive through your front window this morning, making it newsworthy on the six o'clock news doesn't mean that you don't have something to talk about launch of a new website or blawg london launch of a new block is great because especially if you think of the fifty companies that are around you that you're in your community that you might interact with if they know you have a block now. And if some of the things you're writing about what's the wedding what's the town you live in jared syn amish snow snow by the end of the day you'll have me saying it right but in your block you had that piece about the wedding tour great thing here it is for the community here it is telling people something else that's going on and then consumer bundling consumer bundling we're going to talk about a lot which is sort of like going back to the ad that I had before where you're working together with a florist and let's say a travel agent and a photography company the three of you were working together well that becomes another press release especially if you're cross promoting each other's products hit the wrong button that's the challenge that's really the challenge that everybody has everybody is too close to their own business you don't see it the same way you wake up every morning and it all seems the same to you you don't see it the same way that everybody outside does and I've said this to at least three of you when we did your website review for summer school you're too close to your own website you look at your images you see him a certain way you write something out and you think he were absolutely dead clear on what you meant but it wasn't perceived that way by your audience everybody is too close to their own businesses so that's when you want to bring in a friend another family member have your spouse take a look if your kids were old enough to understand some of this stuff have them read if you've got a teenager have them read what you just decided to publish and see if they understand what you just said it's really easy and this is probably we're about to take a break how are we on questions? It's great it's the perfect time for questions? Well, good we have so many of them so, um, way are wondering if you could kind of step back a second for we have a global audience and maybe just talk about what a press release is in general and or send it and pour from money kelson she says, how do you send out a release and what does it entail and where would you send it to so just a little background on there? They're two ways that you can really send out a press release one is the old fashioned way, which is hard copy, which I still think in certain cases work and that's why I said I'd send it out in a in some kind of overnight courier envelope, which is why I said fedex or ups you're going to write up the press release that press release is going to talk about what the event is, what you did, what you want to talk about it's going to have ah quote in there from you about the event or the timing and it's going to finish with on about paragraph it says who you are where you are why you do what you do some component that's just what we call standard boilerplate that goes with every press release at the very bottom you're going to have a tag line that says for more information call and that component you would send out to a publication in hard copy I would give him a hard copy written out I would give him a disc with with it with the press release on it and I would also given the photograph file on the disk as well as a hard copy of the photograph and that comes into the office in some kind of overnight envelope just to get through the new the noise the second way is using companies like bogus that air on focus that air online to give you the ability to electronically send out a press release and that's where other sites that might be interested in the same thing you do other publications would print those up and they would tie it back in and possibly run it on their website but that way it's all done electronically so what I'm suggesting which a lot of people would say why would you still send out the hard copy I just believe that you want to play all the odds and you can of getting something in front of somebody now at some point today and tomorrow we're going to talk about networking and one of the most important things to getting things published is to get to know the people of the magazine and get to know the staff get to know the people at the local newspaper so when you send something out, you're not just sending it up blind, you're actually sending it out to somebody's personal attention because you at least know enough about the publication to know that that person let's say is the editor for the society page or they run the sports section and you're sending out pictures from I don't know from the local high school football game last friday night does that make sense? Thank you. I'm glad you guys always not we'll let you know okay, we'll let you know, okay? Jean home would like to know if you've been touch on the return on investment on these releases like focus. Do you have any idea what that would be? Um yeah, I mean way turn on investment for for focus. It depends on the package you have. The package you have based on the number of releases is what determines what your cost is. If you were just going to do a totally random let's, try it once and see what happens. I would caution you against that because you need to build up a little track record, but if you did do just do it one time, I don't know it's somewhere between a probably one hundred fifty and three hundred dollars depending on what package you chose, I would check with focus to be sure so your costs your actual cost isn't that much. The issue is who picks it up and this is about building brand and you're you're building branding and remember you're not doing publicity by itself if I had that target still up on the screen and maybe we should have made a big one that we just had behind me the whole day publicity is just one spoke of your marketing efforts you can't do it by itself and you've got to do it with other things which include being involved in the community, having promotions and above all, this is probably a good spot before we break if you haven't made it a point to be the best possible photographer on planet earth, then everything I talk about over the next two days is a complete and total waste your images are how you're going to be judged I had a post last week a guest post on on photography being the great equalizer it doesn't matter who you are where you are, what your background is what's your demographics are in terms of financially are you successful? Are you are you homeless? If you've got a great image that people love those really dynamic that grabs people's heart strings that's the most important thing to have that's the great equalizer so on everything that we talk about, I'm automatically assuming that everybody knows that their skill set has got to be dead on and if your skill set is good, then when you send out these releases, when you do the things we're going to talk about today, then you've got the opportunity to really build your business because your work sort of speaks for itself and that's a it's, a it's, a funny expression because in this economy right now, in this in the internet age, your work doesn't speak for itself because it's getting blocked by all these other things, just like shell and I walking on the beach to get in the way of just enjoying the journey. So you want to make sure that your quality is outstanding is unquestionably you're producing great images. You want to show great images on your website you want include great images and talk about your passion for imaging on your website and when you do, ah, press release, you want to make sure that you can walk the talk that you can back up what you're saying about being a photographer, about what you're adding to your studio, because your skill set is so solid, so we still have a few minutes of if you're okay, tio for questions, great. A question from a snaps who is in the u k and milk oh do you know if the vocus site is just for the u s or if it's good worldwide I honestly don't know if you go to focus dot com um you can scroll through and this probably another page where you could find that out but there are there are other companies out there focus doesn't handle anything globally globally there are the companies that would go that handle the global thank you I think someone did look it up in a chat room and it was global great. So thank you for that there's always an all right so the answer is okay focus is global I haven't personally but someone in the choker that is it is global. Okay let's ask another question here um another question from images of his from texas at what point uh do you communicate through releases so much that your audience turns their attention off of you like you just become part of the noise that's a good point I mean, I I I see it and worry about it sometimes with my own tweets uh I don't know what that answer is the answer I don't know if there's a number the first issue is that if you were sending out so many releases bad it was you were just becoming part of the noise then that would also mean that they were being published and there must be something good about you that would be getting him out there and eventually that publication would stop now if you were sending it to the editor of that particular publication and they're just so fed up with hearing from you that's another issue and you're going to know that you're doing too often I mean you know I'm suggesting you know twice a month for three months that to me sets the stage and gets people to know who you are and then going to every other month once a month for the next three months and then going one every other month I don't think that's that's going to bury you would get to the point where you're just out there too much great well I think that unless do you guys have any more questions in the audience? Ok great another one idea I'm sorry I have all kinds of what do you think about hiring you set a publicist but what about the smaller businesses that can't really afford the publicist what do you think about hiring like university in turn for journalism major I don't like I don't think that's bad but remember that if you hire a university in turn you get what you pay for they're not they don't have the experience yet unless you found somebody that's really great I mean we we had some great university in turns or recent grads at range finder that that are absolutely outstanding that we're the best in the business and they were journalism majors they were english majors one one is a film producer and did some very cool things and got involved in the magazine so it kind of depends on where you are on on what they do it's also not bad toe look att at bringing somebody in and may be saying to a local vendor you work with hey, I want to hire this person let's share let's share this person let's I want to bring them in and you need help on your business. I need help on my business, you know, let's work together. I'm a big fan of partnerships and cross promoting with non competing companies so that's that might be another way to go it's not it's not a bad idea, depends. It just depends on the intern. I had one quick question, like one of the things that holds me back is, you know, I know a lot of things that I should be doing, but even when I'm doing some of those, I feel that nagin thing thought in the back of my mind, um I possibly doing something wrong. Did I not say something, right? Are there any like, hands down? Do not do things in advertising so we're going to have a whole bunch of do not do is when we get into the website to kind of relate to that, so I don't want to go into too much of it. The thing is that you have to take each day is just what it is it's each day there's a there's, a great line from babe ruth about tomorrow's games aren't win aren't one on yesterday's hits you know you had a good head yesterday, it doesn't mean that it's going to work on tomorrow's program. You had a bad head yesterday, it also doesn't necessarily mean that it's that it's going toe screw you up for the next week. So if you make a mistake because everybody does, we all do. We all make them, I make him, you make him kind of never makes them and susan never makes them. But everybody else does not true, not true, not true, not true. So when you do it's, just don't get wrapped up in it. Don't don't get preoccupied by the mistake you made yesterday. Just learn from it. There's a great line from I think it's bill gates, who said something to the effect of, uh unhappy customers are our greatest source. For education for new products when I was a hassle glad I knew what we did right? I used to say to a retailer, for example, if I went and talked to him, I don't want to know what we do right? I want to know what we do wrong what would make you buy more products? What would make you stock more product? What are we doing wrong? So just learn from your learn from your mistakes that's also another reason to get involved in your community photographically I mentioned smugmug before you've got smugmug meetups and their meetings that happen every month in a lot of communities around the united states I mean, the map is jammed with him, then you've got the local people guild that probably has something going on. You might have a local nonaffiliated guild with anybody of just photographers that get together and we'll talk about it later today on things you could do yourself just to start your own because you want that exchange so that when you are doing something, you're not out there by yourself, you're not out there standing stranded on the island, you've got people that you can talk to to say this is what I'm thinking about doing, you know, what do you think this is the who wants to be a millionaire phone, a friend michael, is there a special technique? Tio to reach out to bloggers or podcasters, that might help promote your business. Wow, I have to think about that. Is there a special technique? Uh, I don't think there's a special technique in my mind being successful and getting the support of other bloggers other photographers is about giving back is about being generous with your time, and I actually I'm going to talk about getting the most success out of social media and ten points that scott born did on a guest post for me a long time ago that air still so valid. It's just about giving back, and I absolutely believe that whatever you give in the photograph of community, in fact, this works everywhere in everything, whatever you give comes back to you. So in terms of when you need help, if you've been the kind of person that's been been helping other bloggers helping other people spread the word I mean, you guys have been unbelievable in tweeting and retweeting hey, skip's gonna be on creative life. That means that for the rest of this summer, I'm coming by and mowing your lawn that's my way to give back it's about it's, it's, it's, it's being generous with your time and that that might be the biggest secret of all.