by TAC Mentor Tammy Lynn
For some actors, the whole ‘press-thing’ is a mystery. You don’t really know what it is, how it works or if it’s worth all the effort. Many of you even wonder… who would be interested in reading about me?!
Well, earlier this year I got a call from a doubtful actress, Emily, who asked me that exact question. She had never done any publicity before and wasn’t sure if now was the right time. During our conversation, I learned that she was about to appear in a recurring role on a respected long-running TV series.
First, I congratulated her on the booking…yippee! And then I asked her to tell me a little bit more about her role on the show. Emily went on to downplay it, saying that it was “not a huge part” and that she was “only in a few episodes”.
Stop right there!
Now, I understand that it’s not always easy to toot your own horn. It can feel weird and maybe like you’re bragging. But to that I want to say — get over it! You have chosen to work in an industry that expects you to openly promote what you’re working on.
Whether you’re at a networking event or talking to a reporter, you need to find a way to get comfortable with talking positively about your talents. And I promise you, the more you do it, the easier it will get.
Here’s a tip: Think of one fun or interesting moment from working on the project. It should be something that makes you smile or ignites your passion for the craft. Then, use that story whenever someone asks you about your role. It will come across less like you’re promoting yourself and more like an insider’s peek behind-the-scenes.
Okay, let’s return to Emily…
She continued our chat by telling me that this booking was her biggest credit to date. And, since no one knows who she is yet, “I don’t think anybody will care that I’m in the show.”
Hold on a minute!
I realize that actors are often full of self-doubt, and there’s a reason for that. You get rejected 10 (or 20) times more than you get selected. So, I understand that you feel like you’re not enough. But I want all of you to listen closely because this is the key — it’s not your job to determine what a reporter covers…that’s the reporter’s job.
It sounds so simple, right? And, it can be.
Here’s a tip: Stop pre-judging your accomplishments. Instead, serve them up to reporters as the facts. This will relieve you of the pressure and take away that boasting feeling in the pit of your stomach. Remember, reporters are looking for “news” stories. So treat your publicity campaign as a way of simply sharing the latest news about your career.
Now, back to Emily…
At some point in every initial consult, I always ask: What’s your goal? Emily shared with me that she wants more auditions. She explained that her agent isn’t really doing much and that all her auditions are coming from her own relationships.
Wait right there!
I explained to her that the purpose of a publicity campaign is to gain press attention, which can then be used to grab industry attention. Articles written by a reporter inherently add a layer of credibility to whomever or whatever they’re writing about. Since not every project will land in the Trades (Variety, Deadline, etc.), it’s up to you to turn them into a powerful marketing opportunity.
Here’s a tip: Treat each press article you land in as a personal promotional tool. Slap the headline on a postcard or one-sheet. Pull a quote to paste on your website’s homepage. Post it on every social media account you have…twice! Get your friends to help you share it. Include it in your email newsletter. Write about it in your own blog. Add it to your personal EPK (electronic press kit)…and any other way you can spread the good news.
Let’s return to Emily…
When we got off the phone, I wasn’t sure if what I had told her actually landed. But, a couple days later, Emily contacted me and we got started with a press release campaign.
And, it’s a good thing she did, because we were able to land several articles for her leading into the release of her first episode.
Emily embraced her inner marketing maven and shared her articles every way she could think of. I even got her newsletter telling me about her latest article! And, that’s when I realized that she stopped judging herself and decided to ride the wave.
The best part of this story…
Two days after her first episode aired, Emily got a “friend request” on Facebook from someone who she didn’t know. She clicked on his profile to discover that they had a friend in common, so she accepted his request. Within an hour, Emily got an instant message from this guy… he is a manager who wanted to know if she was looking to add someone to her team.
A week later, they had a meeting where he explained that she caught his attention when their mutual friend (also a client of his) had shared a press article about her. He checked out her page and saw the other news she had been posting about her role on the show and thought…I have to meet this actress.
Emily did sign with him and now she is getting exactly what she wanted — more auditions.
It’s my goal that you embrace this story as encouragement and proof…that setting yourself up with a positive publicity perspective can lead you in the direction you want to go.
Tammy is the Head Publicist and Founder of Spotlight PR Company where she has used her awesome talents to help hundreds of actors, filmmakers, musicians, and comedians craft their public image, develop name recognition and build buzz for themselves and their projects. With more than 15 years experience, Tammy has worked in Los Angeles and New York City for some of the largest PR companies in the business. She creates, oversees, and implements PR strategy while cultivating relationships with media outlets around the country.
Here’s the best part: Tammy is actually affordable. Unlike other PR firms who charge you thousands of dollars each month, Tammy offers a-la-carte publicity services that work. She’ll help you set up a solid PR plan, prepare for interviews, and communicate your star power with the right media attention. In a word, she is fabulous.
If you’re an actor, filmmaker, or content creator in need of some PR mojo, get going now at www.spotlightprcompany.com.