10 Ways to Promote Projects for Free With Bloggers, Journalists and Podcasters
As an artist, it’s tough getting your work out there with little or no budget. But you’ve got to start somewhere right? Here are a few tips that can help get your brand out there that you can start doing TODAY.
Have a website – If you don’t have a personal one, you MUST have one for your project. You really need a “home base” that you can send people to and a Facebook page alone is going to make you look unprofessional. A simple blog will do. BUT I would stick to sites like WordPress, Squarespace or Strikingly.
Have a Press Kit or Media Kit – You don’t have to have a publicist to have a press kit. If you don’t have a press kit, make one. NOW.
DO NOT hit up a major publication on social media (i.e.- The Huffington Post twitter account) This is the equivalent of walking into the lobby of the NY Times building and yelling that you wrote a book. Stop it. It’s annoying, not to mention ineffective. Major publications are made up of both staff writers and freelance writers. Staff writers have no time for you (unless you have 2.5 billion hits on twitter or are actually making the news) and freelance writers have to PITCH ideas for stories and ONLY if their stories get picked do they get paid. That being said…
Do Your Research – Who wrote that amazing article about the Basquiat Revival for Slate? At the top or bottom of the article, it usually states who wrote it with a link to them on social media. FOLLOW THEM. See what else they write about. Is there a smaller blogger that doesn’t write for a major publication but has a huge following on twitter, IG or Facebook? See what they write about. Read the blogger/journalist/podcaster’s site and see where your work might be a good fit. If your comic has no women in it don’t try to pitch it to a feminist website. If you are a singer, don’t try to get a review out of someone who NEVER reviews music on their site. If the blogger/journalist/podcaster did a segment about the link between Doctor Who and existential Marxism that you just LOVE, tell them! Or better yet, leave a comment on the post, like it on Facebook and retweet it!
Engage them on social media BEFORE you want to get the word out about your project – DON’T wait until right before your launch/con/Kickstarter/IndieGoGo drops and then demand that they promote your project. (They won’t).
DO comment on their posts – Both on their site and posts that they have written for major publications. If you help make their writing popular, they will get paid to write more and as long as your work is in their genre, you might get picked when you decide to…
Write a killer pitch – The subject line of your pitch must really stand out and be engaging (Don’t just say “Press Release for XYZ Project). Introduce yourself. Describe your project or work clearly. Don’t just talk about yourself. Sell them on the project and make it easy for them to sell you. SPELL THE CONTACT’S NAME RIGHT. I don’t suggest including attachments and art in the initial post. If they accept, they will tell you (or you can ask then, what they need).
Be able to describe your work in 3 sentences. Most folks do NOT have time to figure out what your story is. Be detailed, but not wordy. For instance, instead of saying “She has powers that made her special.” say something like, “She’s the only telepath in her family for generations.” If your description is too long, it might get edited, written wrong or worse, just skipped.
Posters don’t work online – If you’re at a con and are giving away t-shirts, posters, trading cards, etc. That makes sense. But if you want to reward a blogger, journalist or podcaster for promoting your work, a poster ain’t gonna cut it. Instead, follow them on social media, comment on posts, leave feedback on podcasts and encourage other people to support them! If they’re a freelance writer for a major publication, comment ON the publication’s website. That will give them more pull with their editor. And guess who will be more appreciated? (If you are a t-shirt company, it can’t hurt to ask a mid-level influencer who follows you to wear your gear. Just be prepared to pay).
DO NOT HARASS POTENTIAL FANS/MARKETERS – DON’T send multiple emails demanding to be heard, sending one or twi reminder emails is fine. SEVEN is not.. You have NO idea what their schedule is, what they’re writing about or where you fall on their calendar. We can’t cover EVERY con, we can’t make every book signing, movie screening or game reveal. There just aren’t enough hours in the day or money in the bank, I’m sorry. Demanding that someone cover your work/story/con because YOU think it’s important and insulting them when they decline is not just insensitive it’s rude. Trust me, being belligerent on social media will not only get you blocked it could get you blacklisted. DO NOT DO THIS.