One question that I seem to get repeatedly as an artist, and not from viewers but from other artists, is “how do you get your work published?” On my website, you will find a Press section in which I post articles in newspapers, magazines, and sometimes online articles about my work. (Take a look at www.amyguidry.com/press.html) If I had to estimate, I would say that 70% of those originated because I notified writers and editors about my exhibits or announcements. (For the record, Art Calendar’s Louise Buyo contacted me- I just got lucky on that one!) Of course these days, press is viral, so if one blog or paper publishes you, another will then post something. I’ve had that happen a lot as well, which I did not directly influence. Anyway, I want to give you some helpful information to boost your own publicity.
First, assuming you already know what you want to promote, make a list of your local media. If it’s an out-of-state show, you should also do some research and find their media contacts as well. Get some double-duty out of your efforts. Once you have your media contacts- names of actual people, not just the name of the newspaper, etc., you can start writing your press release. I’m no writer, (yes, ironic since I have a blog…), but I always write a press release when I have a show or a big award or something I think the general public may find interesting. In your press release, which I like to limit to a one-page letter for expediency, you should give the usual- who, where, when, how, and why. You don’t want to write a bland description covering all these bases. I know- but isn’t that the writer’s job- to spruce things up? Yes, but there is a lot of news out there in the world, and especially for newspapers, it has to be covered quickly on a daily basis and they don’t have enough writers to possibly cover everything. This means you need to get their attention with something that sounds too great to not write about and make it easy for the writer to get all their information in the least amount of time possible.
So, here’s how to do it: You need a pitch. You can’t just write, “I am having an exhibition this Saturday at the Big Time Art Museum.” Start brainstorming. What reasons do you have for the public to find this interesting? Think in terms of impressing not just your writer or editor, but the public as well since that’s who you’re ultimately trying to impress. Think of what would matter most to the public. What is the most significant factor behind your news? How will it affect the public? Think of this as telling a story, not just stating facts.
Once you have your letter written, you can then add to your press release by including images. Either photographs, or a CD, or a brochure- just something with images pertaining to your news. A CD may be best since the writer can automatically use images from it, but if you can also offer to email high-resolution images. Oh, and be sure to send all of this to your media prospects well in advance of your event. I have found that it can take up to 3 months to get coverage, so the sooner the better. Depending on the publication, they may be booked for awhile and not able to fit your story in on short notice. Regardless, give at least a month’s notice to ensure at least some coverage.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back right away… or at all even. Sometimes it takes a few tries, especially if you are unfamiliar to the media. Be persistent (and patient!). Questions? Feel free to ask. Comments? Let me know. www.AmyGuidry.com