One great bit of publicity can launch your business from unknown to successful overnight. But landing that coveted publicity spot requires more than simply knowing about it and applying; you also have to be chosen.
I just launched an online event featuring 30 experts, each sharing a 5 minute success tip. We intended to feature 36 and had nearly 50 people express interest, yet in the end, the event only features 30.
Six businesses lost out on a potential opportunity to reach people in their ideal market.
Here are 5 tips to make sure that your business is one of those chosen for the spotlight:
1. Be Easy to Work With
Deadlines become a living and breathing thing when you are the one behind the scenes pulling everything together. This is true regardless of the medium — print, television, radio, even virtual events. Getting the thing done on time is MUCH more important to the decision-making process than anything else — especially the closer to the publication deadline you get.
Keep this in mind when you receive an invitation to ANY kind of publicity event: Making the event host’s job easier will get you chosen over another expert with a more compelling message or better known name — content is NOT king when you are on a deadline, rather simply meeting the deadline is.
When I invited one expert, she responded with this message:
Please let me know when you are available for a brief phone meeting. I am available Thursday, October 3rd from 11:30am-11:45am or Friday, October 4th from 11:30am-11:45am.
Contrast that to this:
Thank you so much for the invite. YES, would love to join you. What a fabulous idea! I think the 5 minute tip is great!!! Would love to join you. Let me know the next steps.
Person A assumed I had time to “sell” my event to potential experts when I in fact did not. Even if I had the time, she wasn’t making herself available to fit my schedule, but expected me to fit hers.
Person B, on the other hand, said yes to participating when given the same invitation and needed nothing further from me besides instructions on how to take the next step.
Person B was included in our event. Person A didn’t even receive an email back.
2. Respect Deadlines
If you are given a deadline for submitting your materials, do your very best to meet or beat that deadline. Do NOT wait until the last minute.
In the case of our event, pulling the materials together didn’t actually take that long, but it did take some forethought. Expecting to create something inspiring and engaging at the last minute decreases your effectiveness, increases your stress, and doesn’t allow space for doing things over until they are right.
Several of our experts were asked to re-record their tips because they had poor sound quality or weren’t quite inspiring enough. One woman was in the mountains on vacation and had to get creative to find a clear connection. One had to do hers 4 times until it meet with her satisfaction … and mine. Their tips were included in the event because they had time to re-do them before the deadline, and rearranged their lives to make it happen.
The deadlines that you are provided aren’t arbitrary; they allow time for processing your materials, editing, proofing, and making everything perfect. Meeting your stated deadlines says that you understand and respect that other people also have work to do to make this event happen, and you are doing your part to make their jobs as easy as possible.
3. Handle Mistakes Respectfully
We are all human and fallible. Even you. Even the experts behind the promotional event.
if you are given an opportunity to proof the materials for the event before they go out, take advantage of it. Don’t just take a cursory look, but spend time really checking over everything thoroughly. Now is the time to catch mistakes, not after the materials go out to the public, and the event organizer is counting on you as a member of the mistake-spotter team. Don’t let them down by being “too busy” to bother.
If you happen to find a mistake after the materials go out, point it out respectfully. Don’t point fingers, accuse anyone of wrong-doing, or demand compensation. Simply point out the mistake and let them handle it from there. If it is a really big mistake, they will own it and make it right without you making a big deal about it.
After putting this event together, I now have a list of people who will be invited back, and a list of people who won’t. If someone contacts me looking for experts like these, I’ll pass along those in the first list, but not those in the second.
This, really, is the secret to garnering free publicity for your business:
1. Don’t shoot for the stars, but rather pick a smaller venue to start with. Your local newspaper or radio station, or a telesummit with a small audience or blogtalk radio show…
2. Be easy to work with so the event host LOVES working with you.
3. Don’t hold anything back; show up for the event with the same energy, devotion, and enthusiasm you would for a larger event.
4. After the event, thank the event host for the opportunity.
By being an easy to work with expert who has interesting things to share, you can leverage one small publicity event into much larger opportunities, the kind of opportunities that can launch your business where you want it to go.