If you’re sponsoring a special event or a speaking engagement and you want to fill the room, don’t just try to create publicity by pitching the local media in the town where the event will take place.
Create a grassroots publicity campaign that reaches thousands of people who are likely candidates for your event.
That’s what I did this past summer to generate interest for my first public seminar in Norfolk, Virginia on August 23. I hired PR guy David Rourk of Norfolk, who also knows all the local media. But more importantly, David is a master networker who knows the heads of all the local business groups, nonprofits and other organizations whose members needed to hear what I had to say about how to generate publicity .
All those groups have lists of members, along with their email addresses. They all have newsletters. They all talk to each other. And they all were eager to help publicize my workshop to their members. In other words, David convinced them to promote my event—for free. I didn’t spend a penny on advertising.
David also made sure my event was listed in all the community calendars. He convinced a columnist with The Virginian-Pilot to call me for an interview. He even got me a column in one of the local business publications after the event so I could stay on the Norfolk radar screen.
The day of the workshop, I was thrilled to see 52 paid attendees in the audience. But no one was prouder than David. His hard work resulted in more than four dozen Publicity Hounds who now read this newsletter. Many of them bought my products from the back of the room. And one says she’s ready to join The Publicity Hound Mentor Program.
If you’re a professional speaker who’s having trouble getting publicity for speaking engagements, follow David’s lead and start a grassroots publicity campaign that focuses on the groups that are the best match with your topic. David, who wrote an article on how he did it for the November/December issue of The Publicity Hound subscription newsletter, says it’s important to follow up once you call or email your media contacts.
In fact, he keeps a detailed chart that shows who he called, when he called, and any additional follow-up that’s needed.