For years, Debra Holtzman kept wishing and hoping that she’d generate publicity in top-tier newspapers and magazines and on the big morning TV shows like “Good Morning, America” because of her expertise in child safety.
But the wishing and hoping got her a media hit here and there. Then Debra found the key that not only unlocked the door to publicity, but had the media practically tripping over themselves to interview her. Even the bloggers loved her.
Her secret? She ties her expertise to the celebrities–sometimes several times a month.
It all depends on how much material the stars feed her. And feed her they do.
Here’s what she’s done in just the last five months:
—On May 17, when the celebrity magazines printed a photograph showing Britney Spears driving her convertible, with 8-month-old son Sean Preston in the back, sitting in a car seat facing forward and slumped over to one side, Debra wrote a press release titled “Britney Spears Needs Baby Safety Training!” She posted it at Expertclick.com, the subscription-based website that serves as a database of experts for the media and lets subscribers post up to 52 press releases a year. The story was picked up by celebrity
gossip bloggers and top-tier media outlets.
—That same month, when Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt welcomed their baby girl, Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, Debra swung into action and issued a press release with the headline “Angelina and Brad’s Perfect Baby Room for Shiloh.” It described some of the dangers of a baby’s nursery and included a checklist of 11 tips on how to keep the baby safe.
—Also that month, the paparazzi got a photo of Pitt during a bike ride in Namibia with his 4-year-old son and 16-month-old daughter. His son wore a helmet and rode his tricycle. The baby rode in a blue papoose strapped to Pitt’s back. Debra wrote another press release about the dangers of riding with babies on a bike and was quoted in Us magazine, among others.
—On August 1, just after Mel Gibson’s drunken-driving arrest, Debra issued another release titled “Top 10 Tips to Drive Like a Star, but not Mel Gibson.”
—A few weeks later, while law enforcement officials were
investigating John Mark Karr, the suspect who claimed he murdered JonBenet Ramsey in 1996, Debra wrote another release headlined “A Focus in the JonBenet Ramsey Case No One is Talking About.” It included a list of 21 things parents can do to keep their children safe from child abduction, molestation and other dangers.
—Last week, just after Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray while diving, Debra posted another press release on Expertclick.com, this one titled “Teach Children How to be Safe Around Pets and Wild Animals.” She didn’t name Irwin or mention his death in the release. But journalists and anyone else who searched online for information on that news story probably would have found her press release in the list of organic search results.
All those releases and all that publicity helps her sell more of
her books, The Panic-Proof Parent (McGraw-Hill, 2000) and The Safe Baby (Sentient Publications, 2005) which she mentions in every release.
She has been interviewed by papers like USA Today and the New York Times and has a list of media hits a mile long at her
Half the work is just keeping your ears open for opportunities. As I wrote in “Special Report #50: How to Piggyback off Celebrity News to Promote Your Product, Service, Cause or Issue,” you can keep your eyes on TV shows like “Inside Edition” and “Access Hollywood” and on the celebrity magazines to give you all the fodder you need.