People are always looking for a magic bullet. They want to find the quickest, cheapest and easiest methods for writing a book, making a fortune or promoting their brand. There are a handful of success stories in which an average Joe or Jane became a creative celebrity through sheer luck. In most cases, however, the easiest path to publicity was the creation of something worth talking about.
I first started doing publicity more than a decade ago for my college theatre group. Our shows were funded by the university, so they were completely free. This was the perfect way to learn the basics of public relations. If price was taken out of the equation, what would need to happen to get someone to take action? I determined that sex sold, as did forging a personal connection with your audience. These were important lessons, and they were the building blocks of my future publicity efforts, but very few of my shows after college received press on blogs, in newspapers and through TV/radio. Like most people, I began searching for the perfect formula that would spread the news of my work far and wide.
I started by spamming these news sources with press releases. When that didn't work, I tried improving my press releases. Fixing a word here or there seemed like an easier change than learning what these press people actually wanted to write about. Dozens of failures later, I felt like I was back to square one.
A few years ago, I started to understand what it was that made other people write about you. My first book, 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, sold relatively well with a little search engine optimization magic behind it. When I searched for the mentions of the book, I found that several readers enjoyed it so much they either wrote reviews or used one of my writing prompts to inspire a blog post or two. I didn't actively pitch these people, they just took it upon themselves to spread the word.
More recently, my March to a Bestseller event on Facebook and the Sell More Books Show podcast that I co-host with Jim Kukral have gotten some amazing people talking on several high-end blogs and podcasts. I didn't ask these people to talk me up. They did it of their own accord. After a dozen years of searching for the answer, it finally began to penetrate my thick skull.
It's not about sending your materials to the right person. It's about creating something worth writing about. You need to be relentless in developing a product, creative or otherwise, that helps other people. This creation of yours can be entertaining, inspiring, educational, engaging or hilarious, but it needs to provide something of value to be worthy of attention. If you want your projects to be talked about, you need to work ridiculously hard to ensure that they will serve someone else.
The easiest path to publicity is to work harder than almost everybody else. If you can do that, you won't have to do much else to get everybody talking. Simply release your valuable project into the world, and start working on making the next one even better.
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.