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How to do Your Own PR Without Being a Wanker

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This originally appeared on Geek.com

Whether you’re trying to get people to come to your alternative Manga art show or you’ve got a new app that connects LARPers to each other, one of the most important and difficult things is letting people know what you’re up to. And that my friends is where PR comes in.

Being able to afford proper PR is pretty much a catch 22; by the time you can afford a publicist you probably don’t need one. Luckily as someone who’s been doing all my own PR for over a decade, I’ve learned some pretty awesome and free/and or cheap ways to do it. We’ve covered this before on my site, BrokeAssStuart.com, but below is an even more detailed plan on how to get people to care about the magnificent stuff you’re up to.

Craft a Pitch

What the hell are you doing and why? That’s the simple information you need in a pitch. Put together a one paragraph description about your Magic the Gathering tournament and then at the bottom include all the pertinent info like, where and when. Make sure you have some kind of image to send along as well. Also, make sure you write something that’s engaging and fun. The people you’re sending these to get dozens a day, so you need to make yours stand out.

Create a Spectacle

Speaking of standing out, one of the best ways to make people want to write about your thing is to make it utterly unique. Are you doing a comic book swap? Include Superhero Karaoke! All you gotta do is get a karaoke machine and tell people to dress up as superheroes. Who wouldn’t wanna write about that?

Oh shit! I thought I made up Superhero Karaoke but looks like these guys actually did it!

Reach Out to Media

Once you have your pitch that includes your spectacle, it’s time to get attention. One of the best ways to get people to know what you’re doing is to get publications to write about it. Most publications have a “contact” section on their website. Figure out who is best to send it to and then do so. Make sure to use their name and make your email friendly and engaging. And most importantly offer them free tickets or early access to the product.

Tap into your Network

Everybody has at least a couple of people in their network who have somewhat of a following or at least a large amount of friends. Maybe they’re the best Dungeon Master in town, or maybe they’re just really outgoing, regardless lots of people listen to what they have to say. Reach out to them and invite them to whatever it is that you’re up to and give them free tickets and/or early access or whatever it is that you can do to make them feel special. And then tell them that it would be wonderful if they could share it with their peeps. Be honest and earnest and let them know how important the MC Frontalot flash mob you’re throwing is to you. Chances are they want to help.

Social Media and Email Lists

Of course, you’ve already posted on all your social media channels already (don’t forget the FB groups you’re part of), but if you don’t have an email list, it’s time to start one. Upload all your contacts to something like MailChimp then send out a quick note to let your peeps know about Cosplay pillow fight. Before you start reaching out to anyone create a landing page through something like LaunchRock that collects people’s email addresses while also giving them the info about your shenanigans. Make sure that this is where all the media and influencers direct people so that you can grow your list. You’ll then have a bigger audience of your own next time you’re promoting something.

Finally, use social media to document your app launch or Game of Thrones dinner party so that people can see what they missed in real time. You can also send a follow-up email with links to the social media so that those who attended and those who didn’t will know how dope your shit is for next time.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

I've been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York, but to those familiar with my work, I'm just "that douchebag who writes books about cheap stuff and drinks a lot".