Hey 19: Things to do when promoting a cause or company, product or person, band or brand

hey19This is a quick attempt to put into one place various bits of advice that I've been giving out to various people over the past few months with respect to raising the profile of a person, place, or thing.

The idea is that you have something you want to publicize. It could be a band, a brand, a product, a company, or an indie film; or it could be you.

Before you go out and hire a PR agency or pay for a press release, you might want to try these things. They are free, except for your time and an Internet connection. In the old days they would have been called guerilla marketing. Now it's called Web 2.0 marketing or New Rules marketing. The strategy is to create interest--in whatever you are promoting--by being interesting. You want to draw people to the object of attention rather than subject them to a message. I will try to post something later on how to be interesting. The following are 19 things to get started with. I've broken them down into 3 phases:

Phase I

1. Start your blog (if you haven't already). You can also have a web site but a blog can substitute for a web site (the reverse is not true). Blogging is free at Blogger and WordPress.com.

2. Get on Twitter (if you aren't already) but be sure to Twitter nicely (some tips on that later).

3. Get on Facebook (if you aren't already) and create a page for the band, brand, whatever.

4. Weave items 1-2-3 together with links from one to the other. Have your tweets feed into Facebook and your blog. (If you're a business professional, add LinkedIn to the mix.)

Phase II

5. Keep the blog fresh. The Twitter feed will help with this but you need to post to the blog at least once a week.

6. Tweet! A lot of people create a Twitter account but forget to post updates. Aim for at least 4 per day including re-tweets, but avoid over-tweeting.

7. Use tr.im to shorten any URLs you post in Twitter. This will allow you to view stats about who clicks on your links. [Update for 2010: I think bit.ly is a better choice for this.]

8. Get familiar with an enhanced Twitter app like Tweetree where you can quickly spot replies to your tweets.

9. Set up an RSS feed via Twitter Search to catch tweets that mention you/your brand, band, film, etc.

10. Set up twilert so you get a daily roundup of relevant tweets via email.

Phase III:

11. Sign up for the Help A Reporter Out emails.

12. Read and abide by the HARO rules.

13. Sign up for the Gift Bag mailings.

14. Follow helpareporter on Twitter.

15. You are now ready to respond to HARO queries and gift bag requests as appropriate. This is a good way to get noticed by the press, influential bloggers, and other persons of interest.

Phase IV:

16. Comment positively and wisely on blog posts and news stories.

17. Create a tr.im link for each blog post or story on which you comment, then tweet that link (you can also turn some comments into blog posts).

18. Create Google Alerts for yourself, your brand, band, product. Also create them for your competition or related persons/things.

19. Rinse and repeat. No seriously, these 19 things are just steps to take. Raising a profile is an iterative process, one that is hard to force. The intended outcomes from following these steps are a. making sure you don't miss any opportunities and b. getting ready for when opportunity knocks. Of course, these are not all the steps that can be taken. (One glaring omission is MySpace, which is still the place to be in terms of music and film but probably optional for people and products.)

Good luck!

P.S. Someone asked me to give some examples of my tweeting, blogging, facebooking, etc. So here you go [updated 2010]:


  1. Thanks for the shout, Peter -- a great example of how Web 2.0 works. Peter submitted this comment within minutes of the blog post appearing. Clearly he has an alert that notifies him when either HARO or "Peter Shankman" is mentioned in the blogoshpere (unless he just happened to be reading my blog when I posted--unlikely since he spends most of his time doing far more interesting things, like jumping out of planes, probably checking Twitter during free fall).