What's BYOP? 5 Steps to Being Your Brand's Own Publicist

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5 Steps to Be Your Own Publicist: Insights from PR Expert Annie Scranton

Annie Scranton, the founder and president of Peace Public Relations, provides invaluable insights into how you can act as your own publicist. By mastering self-publicity, you can effectively elevate your personal brand, expand business opportunities and increase your visibility in your industry. In this article, we break down Annie's robust five-step strategy to help you succeed in your self-publicity efforts.

1. Perfect Your Message

Your messaging strategy is the cornerstone of successful PR efforts. Make sure you have a clear, concise and compelling elevator pitch which outlines your unique value proposition. In other words, what exactly can you bring to the table to benefit a prospective client? It's crucial to explicitly highlight how working with you can yield explicit returns and how your unique skills or expertise differentiate you from the competition. This message should be consistent across all of your communication platforms, be they your website, press materials or social media accounts. Consistent branding and messaging not only improves your overall appearance, it also establishes reliability and credibility.

2. Start With Trade Publications

An effective entry point into media exposure is to target trade publications within your sector. Trade publications provide a concentrated view of specific industries. For instance, as a publicist, Annie recommends reading PR News. Even if these publications don't cater to a general audience, being featured can significantly enhance your credibility among peers and result in numerous opportunities, such as collaborative work, prospective clients or reference material for your website or marketing materials.

3. Target Local Media

Your local area can be a goldmine for media opportunities. Each city, regardless of its size, has multiple media outlets, such as ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, which you can target in your outreach. To maximize the potential of being featured, familiarize yourself with the types of segments these outlets typically cover. Do they do a local business spotlight? or focus on up-and-coming events in the area? Equipping yourself with this knowledge can help you craft pitches that align with their existing content.

4. Foster Relationships

Public relations is fundamentally about relationships, specifically those with journalists, producers, hosts or editors. You should always approach these relationships with an understanding that they are not obligated to cover your pitches. Therefore, tailoring your message for them can help increase your chances of being heard. This means doing thorough research on who you're pitching to, understanding their interests and past stories, and referencing this knowledge in your communications. Networking and attending local events are also effective strategies to build and maintain such relationships.

5. Position Yourself as a Thought Leader

Lastly, try to position yourself as a thought leader or a subject matter expert in your field. This approach allows you to offer value to journalists, who may then consider you a reliable source for future industry-related stories.
Remember, you are not limited to pitching in your local area. Consider locations where you grew up or studied as potential areas for expanding your visibility.

In conclusion, being your own publicist may seem challenging, but with the right strategy, it's entirely achievable. By perfecting your message, targeting relevant publications and media outlets, fostering relationships and establishing yourself as an expert, you can effectively boost your brand's credibility and awareness. And remember, every great PR effort is built on consistency, research and personalized communication.

Video Transcription

My name is Annie Scranton and I'm the founder and president of Peace Public Relations. And today, I'm gonna be talking to you about five steps for being your own publicist. So the first really important step is to make sure that you've perfected your message.You want to make sure you have your elevator pitch down cold. So who you are? Um What is the unique value that you're bringing to a client? Most importantly, what is the clients or the prospective client's return on investment that they're gonna get from working with you? You need to make it explicitly clear that by working with you, the client will achieve X and then explain why you're the best one suited for the job. What makes you uniquely different in this situation after you figure out your branding, you need to make sure that your messaging is uniform across all platforms. So you wanna make sure that on your website, your press materials and your social media, the way that you're describing yourself is the same and consistent across all of those platforms. If you know someone who's thinking about working with you logs on and sees your Facebook hasn't been updated since 2007 and it's all pictures of you partying from college. That's not gonna be a good luck.

So you wanna make sure that you take that really, really easy step of just making sure that all of your messaging is consistent. The next thing is you're gonna wanna actually do the work that publicists do, which is pitching the media. Um And so I know that this can seem a little daunting if you've never done it before, I'll be available to answer questions if there are any afterwards. Um But I'll try to drill down on it here. So the easiest way to go about getting your first press hit is to target trade publications in your sector. So for those of you who don't know, a trade publication is sort of like an inside look at the specific industry that you're in. So for example, us publicists, we read um pr news. So that's a trade publication that really only publicists would be interested in reading. You know, my mom or my husband is never going to pick up this publication. But what it does is is if you can get featured in it, it raises your credibility amongst your peers, um which can do a lot of things, they can open doors for you in terms of perspective, you know, work. Um It can help you collaborate with others fields, but it also can really provide a nice reference piece. So to speak on who you are and what you do and you can use that press on your website or in your marketing materials.

So do some research and just whatever field you're in, whether it's tech law, medicine, you know, marketing, there's trade publications within each sector. So definitely start there. The next step that I would take is to target local media in your area. So, um you know, in, in the US, we have different local media in many cities around the country. So New York has their local media. Philadelphia has theirs. L A has theirs and it's just an easier way to get press rather than going straight from, uh, straight to national media, I should say. So my tips for going about getting local media is obviously figure out, well, if you're not in a city, what's the closest city and then target that, that research in, in the States in each major city, we have three or four affiliates, ABC CBS, NBC Fox. And then sometimes there's a local independent one. So do your research and find out what local affiliates are in the city that you're living in from. There comes a little bit of work that you have to do on your end. You need to actually watch those outlets. You need to see what types of segments those local shows are doing.

Sometimes they have, um, in the evening news, a local business spotlight, sometimes they might have a morning show where they can have a guest on set, one on one where they talk about a local business or an event that's happening locally. You need to take whatever your specific um company is doing whatever event you have coming up and you need to make sure that it makes sense for the news outlet that you're pitching. Um by, you can do that by watching online videos of the content by following different journalists from those outlets on Twitter on different social media platforms. Um And then figuring out how do you make it interesting for the viewer at home, we all think that whatever, you know, event we're launching, whatever we're promoting is the most interesting thing in the world. But you have to remember that for the person at home, they want to know what are they going to get out of it? What is going to be the experience for them if they watch this segment or they read this newspaper article? So just keep that in mind. Um And lastly, when you're trying to be around publicist, it's all about relationships like I cannot stress this enough.

Um And it's important to remember that when, yeah, you don't think of it as a 5050 relationship because really the journalist or the producer or the host or the editor, they really hold all the power. It's, you know, you don't have any, any, they, they don't owe you, you know, they're not obligated to cover what you're pitching them. So just understand that um and understand that the person and you're pitching on the other end is a real person. Um, you know, they're a person just like me and you so think of that when you're sending through an email, you know, a lot of people starting out will think. Oh, well, I'll just write a press release and just copy and paste that and just send it off, you know, to the assignment desk. Well, you can do that but you're gonna get a lot further if you personalize your message. So the first step to doing that is to know who you're pitching. So do your research. Everybody's on linkedin, everyone's on Twitter. Most of the news outlets have updated websites. So understand who you're pitching. And by that, I mean, go back and look at the past stories they've done for the past week, watch them, read them, think about them, see what the interaction is to them on social media.

And then when you, when you draft an email to the journalists that you're reaching out to reference the fact that you read or watched their um their content, um they're gonna be really flattered that they and, and impressed that you took the time to actually, you know, get to know them.

Um and the type of stories that they're interested in from there, you'll be able to have more of an insight about how to properly pitch your story to them because you can say something like I saw last week you covered this company in this way, I was thinking a cool follow up story or maybe, you know, um you might like this idea based on what I've viewed before.

Um It'll just help if you, if you do it in that way. Um When you're trying to develop relationships with media, networking and communication is key. So any time that there's local events that you think media might be covering, it's good to attend. Um a lot of times too, I'll reach out to journalists over linkedin and not even have a specific ask, but just say I admire your work and I'd love to connect with you. I'm here as a resource. Um A big thing of what we do by getting our clients media exposure and something that you all can think about is not only pitching the specific company or event or promotion that's going on within your company, but to think of yourselves as a thought leader or a subject matter expert.

And then you can pitch yourself as, as that thought leader as an expert commentator. If um a journalist is covering a story related to your field, that's a way to provide value um to the journalist. So, you know, can't stress enough how important it is. Um the value of making these relationships in the media. And one other thing that I'll mention is that for local press um you should definitely obviously target locally where you live, but also think about targeting local media where you grew up or where you went to college, there's oftentimes opportunities in those markets as well.

Um That can help to, to gain the exposure. Um I've been doing this for 11 years and the thing that I'll say is that nothing raises one's credibility and brand awareness by earned media placement, real real journalistic, real opportunities in the media. Um But the first step to doing that is having your branding and your messaging, really cleaned up and then doing your research and p pitching journalists in the best way possible. Um So that's it for me today. Um I hope you all get in touch and thank you for stopping by.