Quick PR for Non-Public Figures

So you’ve done something really cool.

Maybe you’ve won an award or a fellowship. Or, if you’re like most of my readers, you’ve written a book that’s finally going to be published. These things happen once in a while, and when they do, you want to tell the world about them.

…maybe not the entire world, but at least people who might be interested.  So what do you do?  Since I work in PR, I’ll give you a few hints about what might be a good idea to try.

Write a press release or make a press kit

A press release is a sheet designed for the media to give editors and reporters a brief overview of the story and answer one basic question: “What’s the news?”

If you don’t know how to write a press release – though a simple Google search will do you well in that matter – you can always hire a freelance writer to write your press kit for you. I freelance a bit myself – I specialize in press kits/releases – and if you’d like to know more, you can reach me at felizacasano [at] gmail [dot] com. If you’d like to deal with someone local, you can always check craigslist.org to find someone near you.

As for a press kit, there are several components you may want to include, depending on your achievement. Here are a few suggestions:

  • A photo of you receiving or holding the award
  • A press release or announcement from the presenting organization
  • A headshot (print-quality photo of your face)

You can include other items as well.  Feel free to e-mail me at the address above or comment below if you’d like some suggestions or ideas for your press kit.

Contact local news media

Once you have a press release or press kit – depending on which is appropriate for your story – you may want to consider contacting your local news media. This may include daily newspapers, weekly or biweekly newspapers, even local radio and television news stations.

Before you contact the news media, do your research. The head of the sports desk isn’t going to care about your horticultural award, and the arts & life music beat writer isn’t going to care about your college soccer team alumni achievement award.

Whatever you’re trying to contact them about, you need to figure out who on the staff would be most interested and why, then tailor your cover letter or press release to them. Remember that you’re trying to make it simple and convenient for the media to talk about you and your achievement, and that includes getting it to the right person on the first try.

Contact bloggers

If you blog pretty frequently enough – or if you read and interact with specific blogs regularly – you may be interested in contacting bloggers. In that case, you won’t need a press release – a simple e-mail would suffice. You can just drop them a line saying “Hey, I’m a regular reader and I thought you might like to know I achieved X, which I thought might be relevant.”

If you contact a blogger, you can always offer to write them a guest post. In your bio, you could include “winner of X award” or “author of Y, available at Amazon/your indie bookstore/etc.” I personally really appreciate guest posts, as long as they’re related to what’s on my blog – as do many other bloggers.

Contact your alma mater

Another great way to promote your achievements is to contact your alma mater: your high school and any/all colleges you attended, no matter what education you received there. Many colleges have public relations departments you may be interested in contacting.

As with news media, do your research first. You may want to check with your college on their website to see if they have a media relations specialist or something similar. Be respectful, as usual, and make sure to give the PR person any information they might need to share your achievements.

Not all of these fast fixes will work for everyone.  However, you can go through the list and use it to decide what would be best to showcase yourself and your achievements. What tips were most helpful for you?


Published by Feliza

Feliza Casano is a writer and editor with a love of speculative fiction, graphic novels, and good books. She writes and edits at Girls in Capes (GirlsinCapes.com) and contributes to other websites on science fiction and fantasy topics.

2 thoughts on “Quick PR for Non-Public Figures

  1. Can I just say that I loved that you put “horticulture award” in there?

    As with our networking meeting…wow. There’s just so much I don’t know. Luckily I’m not to the point where I’m ready to look for an agent/publisher yet, so at least I’m learning all these things prior to the part of the story where I have to stop doing the fun writing and start doing the boring businessy stuff. (Also, I know this is quite premature, but as I’ve participated in Nano twice and won last year I’m up for guest-blogging for Nano 2012 if you’re going to be looking for guest bloggers then or in preparation!)


    1. The nice part about PR is that you can always hire someone else to do it for you, provided you have money. For example, you could pay $25 to $45 to have a single press release written up, and if you send it to multiple places – and get coverage in at least 3 of them – you can consider yourself making it back because of the positive publicity.

      But never underestimate real-world networking and publicity! I’m much more likely to find out more about a novel if I’ve met the author or see them at an event.



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