In the following story Toronto Star columnist and lifelongCatholic, Kathy Shaidle, whose website tweaks confiningreligious and spiritual notions, talks about how she’s beengathering steam to publicize her site. Shaidle’s irreverentcommentary spares no one. She dispenses her thoughts oneverything from renting a married priest to buyingenlightenment. What better way to provoke controversy thanto challenge the sacred cow of people’s spiritual andreligious beliefs? Visit Kathy’s site http://www.relapsedcatholic.com and see for yourself whatmakes for good arguing.
Where the religious rubber meets the pop culture road
That’s the motto at RelapsedCatholic.com, my daily weblog offaith & culture news. On March 27, 2001, my site was singledout for praise by the Site-A-Day newsletter.
1. Send out a press release about your good press to yourniche market
I IMMEDIATELY sent out a short, punchy email press release(quoting Site-A-Day’s rave review) to my list of religioneditors (in print and online), book reviewers (I’m also anaward-winning author) and other Best of the Web sites.
The day the brief piece about RelapsedCatholic ran in theOttawa Citizen, I logged my busiest single day ever, withmore than 300 hits. I was recently interviewed by theCatholic Register, too, and expect a similar spike when thatpiece runs. RelapsedCatholic was also singled out forspecial mention in recent articles about blogging, in bothInternet Business Forum and E-Zine Tips.
MY NOTE: Notice Kathy sent her press release to a VERYtargeted market (religion editors) that she had previouslycontacted. Often times you must contact an editor a numberof times with different ideas before he/she will write aboutyou.
2. Email thank you notes and begin a correspondence withjournalists
I gained some valuable new relationships and helped cementestablished ones. I’ve been asked to write and speak onsubjects related to religion and pop culture. I feel thiskind of exposure increases my visibility and credibilitywith the press. Sending thank you emails after even a smallmention has sparked continuing correspondence with somewriters and editors. I may be better able to pitch otherstories to them in the future. I recently got a fan emailfrom the man who runs the ChristianityToday.com weblog,considered the best of its/our genre. He says he checks outRelapsedCatholic every day now.
MY NOTE: Thanking someone sincerely opens lines ofcommunication.
3. Write press releases that can be printed verbatim
Best of all, the Ottawa Citizen printed my press release,practically word-for-word, in their Sunday color section.RelapsedCatholic’s hits that day were higher than they werefor the whole first month I was online!
MY NOTE: Write your press releases in the same formatjournalists use to write their pieces and you’ll stand abetter chance they’ll use your words instead of strugglingto capture your ideas by paraphrasing — which can lead to adifferent interpretation than you intended.
4. Network with the press at your speaking engagements
I was asked to sit on a Periodical Association of Canadapanel, Writing about Religion for the Secular Press. I alsoheld a book signing during BookExpo Canada. Networking afterthe panel discussion led to new friendships with otherwriters/editors. And again, a spike in page views. Hits tothe webpage have remained fairly high, increasing four-foldsince the site’s inception in November 2000. My logs show anincreasing number of regular return visitors since the pressrelease went out. Hits went from about 300/month in Novemberto more than 2000 in April, and have remained steady since.I anticipate May’s hits will be about the same due toupcoming story in Catholic Register, and continued mentionin the by-line of my Toronto Star column.
MY NOTE: Writers and editors are more likely to listen toyou once you’ve spoken on a panel (or at a keynote orworkshop). You’ve established yourself as an expert –someone who has expertise and is worth speaking with.
5. Continue sharing your news with the right targeted media
MY NOTE: Once you get the publicity ball rolling, keep it inmotion by following any leads that could bring you morereaders, recognition and sales.
Kathy sent me her story and now has opened another avenue tomore publicity for her one mention. Excellent work, Kathy!
Learn more about getting good press and self-promotion togain publicity for your business, product or cause in *SellYourself Without Selling Your Soul*(HarperCollins). Go to http://www.prsecrets.com for your free excerpts today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susan Harrow is a top media coach, marketing strategist and author of *Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul* (HarperCollins), *The Ultimate Guide to Getting Booked on Oprah*, and *How You Can Get a 6- Figure Book Advance.* Her clients include Fortune 500 CEOs, millionaires, best-selling authors and successful entrepreneurs who have appeared on Oprah, 60 Minutes, NPR, and in TIME, USA Today, Parade, People, O, NY Times and Wall Street Journal.