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Who better to ask to share her PR wisdom on Productive Blogging, than Honest Mum AKA Vicki Psarias? Here are Vicki’s awesome tips on how to be your own best publicist…
PR is crucial to success, whether you are a blogger, vlogger, business owner or all three. PR helps you get your work and business ‘out there’ and you seen as an authority in your field – someone to be listened to and trusted. It doesn’t matter how incredible your work is, if no one knows about it – or indeed, you – how can they watch, read and buy from you?
Vicki is a wonderful blend of inspiring and down to earth, successful entrepreneur and mum friend, go-getter and cheerleader. She has achieved many amazing things throughout her career, but one thing she is undoubtably excellent at is PR.
So who better to ask to share her PR wisdom on Productive Blogging, than Honest Mum herself? Here are Vicki’s awesome tips on how to be your own best publicist…
How to be your own best publicist: PR tips from Honest Mum
Believe in yourself to sell yourself
You’ve taken the step to set up your own blog, you may have even left full-time employment to make it your career or you’re simply going freelance to have more control over your life, work and time. Feel proud of this leap of faith. Now learn to sell yourself.
Get over the fact that someone might say ‘no’ to you if you try to interview/feature/ask them a question. Most will help as a rule, and ‘no’ isn’t scary anyway. If your request is rejected, don’t let it stop you from seeking an alternative. Let it be the catalyst to prove that you can secure someone else. Learning to recover from rejection is the key to success. Chin up, yeah?
Know your USP: your voice and authenticity
Everyone has their own unique selling point (USP), and as a blogger yours is you – your voice. You’re an original, a one-off, so believe it. Your blog is an imprint of you. Readers often tell me that it’s the diversity of my blog they love; that no one day is the same.
It’s worth considering what it is that makes your readers keep coming back for more. Is it your style or food posts, or is it sharing the tougher times of family life? Do you help others with allergy-friendly recipes or tips on what to do in London? Harness those qualities and use them to promote yourself to potential readers and journalists. Being dependably yourself elicits trust and coverage.
Don’t give up
Despite what you may have learnt from Ab Fab, PR isn’t all about quaffing champagne and ‘Lacroix, sweetie’ (if only!). It’s actually pretty hard work! PR is an ongoing process and you constantly need to invest time and energy into selling yourself in order to get noticed. I’m not going to lie, publicising yourself can be exhausting, and when you have a backlog of blog posts that need writing, it’s easy to push PR aside. Instead, make sure you dedicate a few hours a week to plugging your business. This will help visibility and bring the bucks in. When you secure that sought-after media coverage, don’t think you’ve achieved your goal and can take a break from promotion. Capitalise on this success and use it as a catalyst to find other media opportunities. PR also means featuring on other bloggers’ sites and handles. Accept interview requests or initiate them and offer to write guest posts for those you admire.
Media kit/LinkedIn profile
Order business cards, create an online media kit and a LinkedIn profile where you can easily sell yourself and connect with others. Conversation is key, though. Connect in a meaningful way as well as promoting your work. Ask questions and communicate. Share your expertise too.
Good photography can work wonders. Not only does it make your blog feel more professional, but a lot of journalists are more inclined to feature bloggers with their own press shots. Good photography is a worthwhile investment, and clear, well-shot head shots are crucial. Most importantly, always make sure you have hi-res versions of your photos if you are targeting printed media. Create a Pinterest board of portrait shots and practise using your phone. It is worth forking out for a professional photographer: those snaps are part of your personal brand and will help bring in press and paid campaigns.
Make the first move
The world of business often takes me back to dating as a teenager. I used to spend hours building myself up to chat to a boy I liked, truly terrified he might not respond (my eyebrows were much, much bigger in those days) but I went for it anyway.
When I first started out as a filmmaker I used to get exactly the same feeling of butterflies, worried that the pitch I had poured my heart and soul into would be rejected. However, I soon realised that this worry would get me nowhere in life, so I did my research, found out the email addresses of the producers I wanted to work with, got in touch, sent them my work and, quite honestly, grew a thick skin. Rejection doesn’t bother me anymore. I’ve learnt that it’s all part of the process. One door closes, another opens. Don’t let rejection break your confidence or stop you. Dust yourself off and get back out there.
Do you already have any contacts with journalists, researchers in TV, bloggers and vloggers, or do you have friends who can introduce you? Come up with ideas where you can collaborate in a worthwhile way and always think of ways you can help others, over how they can help you. You need to come up with ways to create visibility for yourself, starting with your own platforms (where traditional press also looks for inspiration/people to feature/ideas), and you must also proactively reach out on your social media handles to contacts, journalists, TV producers, agents and potential commissioners.
Find out who’s who at PR companies you want to work with and contact them, and leave comments on sponsored posts so PRs can discover you. Build up relationships with PRs and those who have worked with you before, and network!
Importantly, approach thought leaders in your field to feature or interview, and collaborate with others. This is the key not only to creative fulfilment and quality content, but also to helping cross-promote one another and reaching new audiences. If I interview a famous singer, for example, and she shares it to her millions of followers on Twitter or Facebook, that offers me exposure to her audience and those who might not already know me.
Offer to write for others for free, in return for PR. Offer original guest posts to reputable, high-ranking sites like BritMums to boost PR and SEO.
Be proactive and seize opportunities – and (like boys) don’t wait for them to come to you! The worst they can say is, ‘No’, and there’s plenty more fish (and journalists) in the sea. Next!
Sounds obvious, but so many people forget the importance of being personable and kind. The media industry is based on relationships and being nice wins. You might believe yourself to be an island working solo from your kitchen table, but people talk, on- and offline. Be respectful, rise above pettiness and make sure you are always professional online. I know brands that have searched through the entire history of talent on social media to ensure that a person has not behaved in a way that would offend others, or harm the campaign they hope to hire them on.
My publicist friends have informed me that there are certain journalists and bloggers they won’t work with as a result of their bad attitude – no matter how good their stats and reach are. Let that be a lesson! They also said that there are certain journalists and bloggers who they will always ensure receive invites to the best events, or get access to exclusive, high-profile interviews, because they have such a good working relationship with them. Remember, if a PR is choosing between you and another blogger who has similar stats, your friendly and professional manner could be the game changer. People pay due diligence so be open, generous with your time and spirit, and exude positive energy and professionalism at all times.
Make sure you are visible across all the main social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram), as this is where journalists are most likely to come across your blog. Utilise these platforms as much as possible, and make sure you’re as professional as possible, creating and sharing quality content. Don’t use auto DMs (direct messages) or robots to comment for you anywhere as they are insincere and spammy. Equally, auto-follow and unfollow programs are a no-no.
Use the same, recent photo across all your handles (upload a gravatar – globally recognised avatar – an image that accompanies your email address anywhere online), so your readers know your digital homes. Add your blog link and handles to your email signature too.
Certain platforms work best for your style of content, so see what fits your voice and brand, but target all social media handles to reach the widest audience. Some find Facebook or Instagram work best for their content.
Matt Coyne, viral sensation and bestselling author of Dummy, shares his inspirational journey on how Facebook helped him go viral.
Three months after my son Charlie was born I wrote a post on my personal Facebook page. It was a post on what I’d learned about being a dad so far and it went viral.
Within a week of posting, this thing had been shared hundreds of thousands of times and all over the world . . . by bloggers, vloggers, TV, Radio and even movie stars like Ashton Kutcher who described it as “the best description of fatherhood” he’d ever read, which was both ridiculous and very nice of him.
A couple of months after that I set up the Man vs Baby Facebook page and I started to get messages to the page from literary agents asking if I’d thought about writing a book. So, I wrote a couple of chapters, my now agent Euan, took it to the publishers and a week or so later I was signing a book deal. It was an insane and exciting time . . . right up until the point that I realised I had another 70,000 words to write . . . then I s**t myself.
This is perhaps the most basic of rules (but so many people fail at it). You’d be surprised how many blogs I’ve come across that have no contact details on them at all – or have them buried away as a tiny footer. Make it easy to be discovered. Ensure your contact details are easily accessible to journalists and PRs. These people are extremely busy and don’t have time to trawl your blog for an email address.
Make sure your contact page is one click away from your homepage and clearly visible on the header or side menu. Put a contact email form in your blog header that directs to your email, and have all your social buttons visible and at the top of your blog so people can follow and connect with you.
Extract from Mumboss by Vicki Psarias
Get the book!
Loved reading Vicki’s wise words? So did I! The above is just a short extract from Vicki’s awesome best-selling book Mumboss – a guide to surviving and thriving at work and at home*. (Reproduced with her permission, obvs!!) which I can’t recommend highly enough.
Mumboss is a wonderful blend of advice, encouragement, inspiration and the raw honest reality of what it’s like juggling parenting and a successful business. In the book Vicki shares her advice on how parents can find the right balance in life between their passions, their work and their parenting. Vicki also gives a step by step guide to building a successful business and, not just surviving, but positively thriving in both the real and digital worlds.
So… what are you waiting for? GO BUY THE BOOK*!!
Over to you…
I’d love to hear what you think of Vicki’s PR tips? Which is your favourite? Would you add anything else? And if you have you read her book, what did you think? I hope you found it as inspiring as I did!
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