Let’s start by recognizing that it feels great to be recognized for doing great work. Embrace and own your desire to be recognized. It’s okay to want to shine. The world needs your light so turn the darn thing on.
BUT, let’s get one thing straight: there’s a difference between desiring press and attention because your work rocks and you can’t wait to make the world a better place versus desiring press because you have an insatiable appetite to “be seen” that has little to nothing to do with what you’re creating in the world.
Note: This need to be seen often comes from some unresolved issues with your mother or father. It will never be fulfilled through getting more press. If what I just wrote rings a bell, it’s best to seek some guidance from therapy, meditation, and finding a source for feeling worthy from within and keep doing your work.
In my ten years in business I have never once had a press strategy and I don’t think you need one either. I’ve never worked with a publicist, a PR person, or gone out seeking media and yet I get requests to be interviewed, do guest posts, and speak quite a bit. I was also raised by a woman who found herself on Oprah ten times, on countless other major national television shows, and on the pages of many national magazines without ever having a press strategy or a publicist.
So how is it possible to get the media attention your work deserves without actually making that a primary goal and running around to go get it?
Here’s what you MUST have in place in order to be a press magnet (without having to go out and get it):
Do work that you love
Do work that you love, that you’re proud of, and that is making a difference in the world. When you are fueled by your creativity, passion, and service, (as opposed to market research, desire for media coverage, and your insatiable need to be seen) you absolutely can’t go wrong. You will be energized and psyched about what you’re doing whether you’re sitting at your computer alone creating for weeks or you’re sharing your message in front of millions on national television. You get buzzed from your work, from creation, and from being of service. Media outlets will come buzzing to you like bees to honey when you’re coming from this place.
Be easy to find
Be sure that you’re on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube and that when you type in your name and your brand you’re on the first page of Google, ideally at the tippity top.
You’ve got to have a polished web presence and be sure that all your social media profiles are current and clear. Professional doesn’t mean you have to be stuffy but it does mean that you need to make sure your site is typo-free, your links all work, and that you have current, professional contact info (ditch the firstname.lastname@example.org email address).
Even though my press strategy doesn’t include running around seeking coverage, that doesn’t mean not to prepare for when press comes knocking at your door. Get a little media training. Have a girlfriend film you in a mock interview about your business and then watch it to find the gems and what could be tweaked. Get in front of people and speak whenever you can. Get some professional speaking training. Have a well-crafted bio that’s short and POPS so that you can share yourself easily when asked. Come up with a list of questions that highlight your work perfectly that you can provide as suggestions when you’re asked to do interviews. If you build it, they will come.
Give it away for free (at first)
I don’t know who coined this phrase, but I heard it first from Danielle LaPorte: “Ubiquity is the new exclusivity.” Yes we all deserve to be paid handsomely for our genius work. And, when you’re just getting started, it’s the perfect time to get yourself out there by giving yourself away for free. Do free talks. Say yes when people ask you to guest post.
Be who you are
My final genius (and clichéd) advice is to be who you are. People who are building their businesses while trying to be someone else reek of inauthenticity. To ensure that your business is emitting your own personal fragrance instead of that of a charlatan, give yourself a reality check from time to time. Make sure your photos online are current and actually look like you. Make sure your “About Me” section is written in the first person and shares who you actually are, fabulosity and all. Be sure your marketing is in your voice, not based on some template that someone told you was the “ultimate success sales letter formula.” If you’re funny, make your site funny. If you’re poetic, write poetic copy. If you rock on video, be sure to have video content on your site.
Remember, when you’re dedicated, passionate, and on purpose with what you’re creating, you won’t have to go running around pitching and trying to get press. Just keep doing your work. The world needs your particular brand of genius. If you don’t put it out there, nobody else will. When your creative juice is fueled from within, press will come to you organically. You won’t have to run around screaming, “Look at me!” while feeling icky. They’ll find you, I promise. No need to go chasing. Do your work and let them come to you.