Work your publicity plan

It’s the lead up to, and during, the publicity for an event or project. How do you keep up the momentum without overloading the people involved?


It’s the lead up to, and during, the publicity for an event or project. How do you keep up the momentum without overloading the people involved?

Publicists Angela Radford, Kristina Hard and Sally Woodfield share their tips.

  • How do you prioritise what and where to deliver?

Angela: By careful planning and research. Make a clear strategy and implement it.

Kristina: Think about your audience...who are they? What media do they consume? Where do they consume it? Prioritise your most unique stories for media outlets that will give you the most exposure to your audience. Think about readership numbers, community newspapers might not have a national following but they are free, delivered to people’s private homes and have high readerships.

Sally: Past experience and knowledge. I also use Media NZ Online and Google! Google is particularly useful when there is an international media opportunity ie with Ian McKellen on Stage (I got to the Daily Mail simply by finding the right contact via Google!)

  • What’s some advice for interview time?

Angela: Ascertain if the author/interviewee needs media training. Be prepared and check, check then check again that all details are in place, including that the interviewers have the publicist’s and interviewees contact details in case there are any glitches. Traffic hold-ups is just one example of a glitch.

Kristina: Be positive. Be authentic.

Sally: Make sure you have selected the right person for the interview. Print needs someone who can tell a good story, while radio needs someone with the right warmth and interest and ability to answer questions without being long-winded.  Make sure you know the audience, whether interview will be live or pre-recorded (TV and radio) and ensure the journalist is well briefed.

  • How do you maintain coverage throughout the campaign?

Angela: By precise planning. Co-ordinate your radio, print, television and digital coverage thoroughly and don’t allow any conflicts of interest. Media are becoming more competitive than ever, so maintain control and hold tight to your reigns.

Kristina: Spread out your interviews. Use social media sites, reviews and post-project media to keep the hype up.

Sally: Find new angles. Look for ongoing opportunities which can be developed – is there a current issue which is relevant for comment?

  • How do you follow-up after a campaign?

Angela: A good summarising document, including all the links you can gather and with the help of a media monitoring service.

Kristina: Audience development is important so to have accurate information about the effectiveness of your campaign you need to do surveys. As an added bonus surveys allow you to get people’s details for further communications in the future.

Sally: Depends on your budget. There are commercial media clippings services available, but they are pricy and not always as good as you would hope as they do have restrictions around what they monitor. Gather all major coverage and set up Google Alerts. Be aware that if you are publicising a major event and have sent media releases far and wide, you may not be aware of all coverage as many media simply write from supplied release and image.

  • What’s the difference between traditional and digital media publicity?

Angela: Traditional media are undergoing huge changes and digital media are multiplying at an exponential rate, so be across the technological changes in digital media as well as all the current changes with traditional media companies. You need to cover as much ground as you can over both traditional and digital media to reach the widest possible audience, so update your contacts and knowledge of media changes.

Kristina: It just reaches different audiences.

Sally: Ability for digital media to be constantly up-to-date. Digital media can sometimes have additional needs ie filming interviews, but more and more traditional media do this too.

  • What’s a common mistake?

Angela: Thinking you’ve got everything covered.

Kristina: Last minute jitters that lead to last minute pitches that are desperate.

Sally: Not using BCC when sending out to media – you don’t want media to feel the same release is going to hundreds of others. Not realising when it’s time to move on from following up same media.

  • What’s your top tip for a great publicity campaign?

Angela: Good communication on all levels.

Kristina: Know your deadlines, create your spreadsheet, pitch your unique point and everything will fall into place.

Sally: Find multiple angles, be enthusiastic and energetic

  • Please recommend some online resources for DIY publicity.

Angela: Even if I had all the secrets, it’s really a matter of researching it all yourself and by networking. I’ve found talking to people is the very best way to develop your own ideas and strategies for DIY.

Kristina: The ultimate resource is a media list that is relevant to your city so in this case Auckland. Fringe Festivals provide them, people have them in their emails sometimes from other projects. See how you can get hold of a list like this or create one. Use libraries to find books that specialise in DIY Publicity The Publicity Handbook is from the US but is helpful to circumstances here too.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

28 Nov 2012

The Big Idea Editor Cathy Aronson is a journalist, photo journalist and digital editor.

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