Getting free press for your project
Who doesn’t want a little buzz? You don’t need to have a big budget to get publications to spread the word about your videos. You just need to put a little time into crafting a compelling pitch and reaching the right people.
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting a Press Mention
Think about when you’re pitching a publication. Do you have a screening or live event coming up that they can build a story around? That’s a great time to pitch. If your content is topical for a particular holiday or season, that’s also an ideal time to reach out. For example, if you’re promoting an environmental documentary, try contacting press around Earth Day. Or if you’re running a fitness channel, tie in your pitch with the season leading up to New Year’s resolutions. Remember that most weekly and daily publications plan their editorial calendar a few weeks in advance, so you’ll want to pitch them about four to six weeks ahead of your targeted date. Monthly or quarterly publications plan even further ahead.
Know who to contact:
Most websites and blogs have a form or email address for contacting. Some may even have written instructions for who and how to pitch — look for it on a website’s “About” or “Contact” pages. For print magazines and newspapers, take a look at the masthead. Aim to contact the editor of the section that would be most relevant to your project.
Do your research:
Get to know the publications you want to pitch. What are your favorite places to read? Since you know the most about your own audience, think about where they might be reading. Writers and editors appreciate a thoughtful pitch that’s targeted to their own publication, so take the time to think about why your story belongs there.
Be polite and patient:
You’re the one that stands to benefit if someone chooses to mention your project so you want to be polite in your pitch. Be brief, but human! It never hurts to connect with the person you’re contacting — throw in a line about why you love the publication, or how a recent article sparked your interest. Remember editors receive a lot of pitches so wait at least a couple of weeks before following up. If they decline your pitch, be gracious. This may be someone you want to contact in the future!
Where to Get Free Press
Niche sites and periodicals:
Whether you videos are related to meditation, animal rights, or limbo contests, there’s probably a publication out there that specializes in just that. Search for blogs, sites, and magazines that focus on the same topic. Not only are those sources more likely to link to your video network, but you’ll be targeting an audience that is already interested in your content.
City and regional papers love to highlight hometown artists and creators. Don’t limit yourself to your current location — it’s also worth reaching out to publications in other cities you’ve lived.
Ask your friends:
Sometimes it really is who you know. Put feelers out to your friends to see if they have any press contacts. If you know editors and have some writing chops yourself, offer to do a guest post. You may be surprised with what your circle comes up with!