Top 10 Tips for Free Publicity

They’re referred to as Publicity Hounds and I’ll bet you know at least one.

They’re the people smiling back at you from color photos that accompany their profile story in the morning paper. Turn on the radio and there they are again, chatting away on a local talk show. Two months later, they show up on the cover of your trade journal. Then they’re being interviewed on the 11 o’clock news. While you’re buying expensive advertising to deliver your message, they’re doing it for free.

During my 22 years as a newspaper editor and reporter, I have seen well-meaning people fail repeatedly in their attempts to beg and cajole the media to pay attention to them. That’s because media relations is a sophisticated game with its own etiquette, protocol and rules. And with all the social media sites, you have more opportunities than ever at your fingertips.

Today, as a media relations consultant, professional speaker and ezine publisher, I teach people how to create free publicity to sell a product or service, champion a cause, create an image and establish their expertise.

Here are my Top 10 tips for free publicity:

  1. Write and distribute direct-to-consumer press releases regularly to promote your product, service, cause or issue.
  2. To promote your expertise, write “how-to” articles and post them to These same articles can be sent to newspapers, magazines, trade publications, and print and electronic newsletters.
  3. Create your own blog and blog at least three times a week about your topic. Many journalists who do their research online interview bloggers.
  4. Post comments at other blogs by joining in the conversation, even if you disagree with the blogger. Most blogs allow people commenting to include their website URL.
  5. Participate at the social media sites like MySpace, Facebook, Squidoo, HubPages and LinkedIn. These sites are growing by the day, with millions of people turning to them instead of to traditional media for their news, entertainment and networking.
  6. Get to know reporters who cover your industry. Offer yourself as someone they can call on for background, commentary and story ideas. Call and ask, “How can I help you?”
  7. Start your own cable TV show on your local cable TV company’s public access channel. Air time is free.
  8. Look for photo opportunities. Local newspapers, TV stations, weekly shoppers, trade publications and other media are always looking for interesting photos. (See “How to use Photos & Graphics in Your Publicity Campaign.”)
  9. Post short videos about your product, service, cause or issue to YouTube and the other video-sharing sites.
  10. Post lots of content-rich free articles at your website. These pull in traffic from the search engines and can often by found by journalist and consumers who are researching topics.

Above all, be patient and persistent. The key to savvy promotion is understanding how to dovetail your wants and needs with people who want to hear what you have to say.

Need More Help with Publicity?

If you like all those ideas but would rather hire a publicist to help you implement them, see How to Hire the Perfect Publicist, an 85-page ebook that walks you step-by-step through the entire process. Includes 307 tips such as where to find candidates, questions to ask during the interview, the advantages and disadvantages of the four types of billing methods, how to help your publicist help you, and a handy chart that will help you rank your final candidates. Includes special chapters for authors and musicians. Read this ebook before you waste thousands of dollars on the Publicist from Hell who will take your money and ruin your reputation. Downloadable, so you can be reading it in minutes.

Joan Stewart publishes the free ezine “The Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week,” which gives you valuable tips on how to generate thousands of dollars in free publicity. Subscribe at