“Publicity experts” seem to be coming out of the woodwork.  On discussion boards and in forums you’ll find people spouting on about the rules of publicity.  So how do you pick out the quality information from the bogus?  It’s easy.

I have a very simple rule I follow to spot bogus publicity experts.  You may want to follow the same rule.  Here it is:

If any one tells you there’s only one way to get publicity, they are bogus.

If anyone tells you online publicity and online press release distribution is the only way to go, they are bogus.

If anyone tells you faxed press releases are “old school” and don’t work anymore, they are bogus.

Do online press releases work?  Sure they do.

Do faxed press releases work?  Of course.

Does cold calling reporters and producers and pitching your story work?  Without a doubt.

Does mailing your press release to reports work?  Yep.

Does going to seminars and pitching your story directly to producers work?  Sure does.

Are you getting the idea?

So, which method do you choose?  That’s easy too.

Which one is most comfortable for you?  That’s the way to go.

If you fax press releases, the media people call you for interview.  Pretty simple, eh?

Do you like to cold call reporters and pitch your story?  Then that’s the way to go.

Are you comfortable being face to face with producers and pitching your story in a minute or two – and can you afford to attend the seminars that draw these producers?  Then that’s the way for you.

Obviously, I feel my system for getting publicity is the best, easiest and cheapest.  Faxing your press releases will cost you pennies each.  Then your work is done.  If you follow my system, you’ll write a powerful press release that will draw the attention of reporters and create such interest in them that they will have no choice but to call you.

But all the methods I described above work.

The smartest people combine two or more of these methods to get the greatest result.   The vast majority of my publicity efforts have been based on faxed press releases.  But I also use online press release distribution.

Right now, faxed press releases bring you interviews with reporters.  Press releases distributed online give you search engine listings.

I want interviews with reporters.  I want as many of these interviews as possible and I want them as quickly as possible.  That’s why I use faxed press releases.

Search engine listings are fine, but it’s the interviews with reporters that’s the real power in my mind.

So, the next time someone holds himself out as a publicity expert, ask him to explain the best way to get publicity.  If he tells you that online press releases are the only way to go, they are bogus.  Move on.

But if they give you a whole range of methods, they describe the benefits of each method  and they tell you that the one that’s most comfortable for you is the best way for you to go, you’re off to a good start with them.

Doesn’t what I’ve just told you make a lot of sense?

We’re in an age where anyone can say anything about any topic.  It’s up to you to sort out the quality information from the bogus information.  I hope this has helped.

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  1. Rory Says:

    Paul –

    This is a great post, and I have been waiting to read this since hearing you talk about it on your call last night. Thank you!

    Before I became familiar with your work and your system, I was listening to all these so-called “experts” talk about how easy it is to publish online press releases and get tremendous results. And they talked about it like it was the only way to go today.

    Fortunately, I never tried these things because I just didn’t buy it. I knew that to do things right (and get results) that there had to be a professional way to do things.

    One question – What about experts who will have you believe that you NEED to meet producers face-to-face to get out of the stack of queries and pitches? Have things become that much more competitive today?

    Thanks again!

    Rory

  2. Chuck Says:

    Paul,

    This article is dead on as usual.

    We are living in a world where everyone claims to be an expert at whatever topic they are discussing. Be it publicity, traffic, list building, etc.

    He is how I separate these false “experts” from the real ones. I ask them how they are applying what they are teaching in their own business every day. You will find, more often than not, that these people are NOT even doing the stuff they are teaching and that they learned “everything” they needed to know reading books of other people and articles. Either that or they paid someone else to come up with the product and now are proclaiming themselves as an expert.

    The fact that you have not only taught thousands how to generate the maximum publicity possible, but are also still using the same methods to generate your own massive publicity makes you a true expert in my book.

    I try to find people that are 25% teaching and 75% doing. If you find people who are more than 75% teaching, I would not consider that person a real expert on the subject.

    Keep up the great work,

    Chuck

  3. Matt Biskup Says:

    My Dad told me that most experts didn’t know what they were talking about, and to be careful who’s advice you follow. When I was 20, I thought he was a cynic. Now that I’m 43 I understand.

  4. Lilian Says:

    Thanks Paul,

    I agree that there are many ways of getting publicity. However, in some parts of the world like Africa the media has come a long way and we still have a stretch to go.
    It is has been a challenge in Africa since media houses need incentives to run a story. We still have a long way to go, before a media house picks a press release or a pitch for instance which is news worthy and runs the story. But am optimistic we will get there.

  5. Scott Says:

    There is a publicity person in Grand Rapids who mentioned in casual conversation that you need to develop relationships with the media to get coverage. No mention of how to do that. I should have asked him if dinner and a ring needed to be involved. 🙂

  6. Bill Says:

    Hi Paul — I note you didn’t even include email as a method of distributing press releases to reporters. I’ve heard your reservations about using email (spam folders, reaching wrong person, etc.), but email is the only way I’ve reaching reporters for the past 10 years or more — and I’ve made my living in PR for the past 25+ years.

    I work primarily with the computer/high-tech media, who have more of an affinity to communicating via email than via fax. They also get the text in digital form so can write their stories faster than receiving the content via fax. Sure, some emails find a reporter’s spam folder, but I do follow-up by phone (no longer a no-no if done properly) with the most important contacts and, if they didn’t notice my email they ask me to resend it if they’re interested. Often I’ve had reporters THANK ME for calling to follow-up because they received the press release but hadn’t noticed it because they get so many emails from PR folks. Yes, that’s another knock on using emails to reach reporters, but that’s the world we live in today.

    While you and many of your students have had great success with faxing press releases, one reporter I know at a daily paper on Palm Springs, Calif., said she and others in the news room NEVER check the fax machine for news. She says that once or twice a day some admin person scans all the inbound faxes and generally just tosses them, because they’re basically spam.

    In closing, I wholeheartedly agree with your basic point that publicists should use any and all means available to communicate with reporters.

    Keep up the great work!

    Bill

  7. Paul Hartunian Says:

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the kind comments about my publicity system. Sure do appreciate them.

    I’m still dead set against unsolicited bulk emailing of press releases for my members. Very, very few of my members are in the high-tech world. Rather, they are chiropractors, financial planners, authors, small business owners, etc. Unsolicited bulk emailed press releases can get them in a lot of hot water.

    Since you deal directly with the high-tech people who are already email oriented, emailed press releases work for you, but you would be the exception.

    Online distribution of press releases is a “whole ‘nuther thing”. I’m going to be going into great detail about online distribution of press releases in my newsletter. I’m also finishing up a website with detailed videos on how to write and distribute a press release online.

    But unsolicited, bulk emailing – not for my members.

    I’m also dead set against my members following up each press release with a phone call. In my experience, the follow up phone calls yield very little. Often, you have to make 6, 8 or 10 calls before you connect with the right person. Lots of time spent for little benefit.

    Again, in your work, you are dealing in a narrow niche with people you’ve already dealt with. That’s generally not the case for my members.

    As for the woman who claims that she doesn’t read faxed press releases – with all due respect, I don’t believe her. If that is true, she’s a lousy reporter.

    Reporters are looking everywhere for good stories. If a good story came in by catapult, tied to a rock, a good reporter will jump on it.

    Some people feel it’s trendy to say “Oh, I never read faxes. That’s so yesterday.” Kind of like the people who claim to never watch TV – but bring up an episode of Friends in a discussion and they know every detail. Of course, they claim that was the only episode they saw.

    I appreciate your input, your point of view and the time you took to post it.

    Paul

  8. Rebecca Says:

    Hey Paul,

    Just wanted to say thank you for another brilliant article. Really struck a chord.

    I saw you speak in London at Chris Cardell’s conference recently and was just totally engrossed. Everything you said made so much sense. Its now on my list of goals for the year to purchase your system and take some serious action with it! You’ll be hearing from me as one of your success stories!

    Looking forward to your next newsletter,
    Rebecca 🙂

  9. Roland Hedges Says:

    Dear Paul,

    Is this another method you are prescribing?…”If a good story came in by catapult, tied to a rock, a good reporter will jump on it.”…If so, it sounds good to me and I’ll get right on it!

    Roland.

  10. Henry Says:

    the expression goes “if its not broken, dont fix it”.
    So I’ll use Paul’s advice as to what’s working.

  11. Perry P. Perkins Says:

    Paul (et al):

    Any recommendations on how to proceed if you’ve been fleeced by one of these “experts?”

    $2500.00 to a “publicist” in 2006, and thus far nada. Not an interview, a press packet, a single bookstore signing, nor any of the other things that were promised on the website.

    Thanks,

    -Perry

  12. Paul Hartunian Says:

    Perry,

    Here’s my advice:

    1 – pay closer attention to what I’ve been saying for almost 20 years now

    2 – get my publicity kit and learn how to get publicity yourself

    Paul

  13. David Breth Says:

    Paul,

    Thank you for this post!

    As usual this is solid, real world content.

    For the past five years we have been getting FULL Page articles, front page pictures, etc. and we credit it 99.9% to you … the other percent is the action we take on our end!

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