Be your own publicist - and become famous for free ...

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Selling stories to the press for you
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Become your own publicist and be famous...

Many people imagine they might need to employ Max Clifford to sell a story to the press. But the truth is these days you don't need to pay fees to a publicist or publicity agent to gain you coverage in newspapers and magazines. In fact, with the internet, it is possible to create a buzz about you or your product for free. Here are my top seven fun tips to get you started - or even make you famous!

Step 1: What is special about you?

Has something extraordinary happened to you? Maybe you were adopted and tracked down your birth parents? Perhaps you have survived a messy divorce or come through a difficult illness? Or you might even have a kiss and tell story to disclose about a famous celebrity. Whether you are writing a book, blogging or hoping to promote your business or product, your real life story can be key to making you interesting. I believe everyone has a story to tell - if they think about it hard enough! If truly nothing has ever happened to you (or you are too shy to reveal it) then consider your views on life. Do you have an unusual hobby or a controversial outlook on a topic you can talk about? Even observations about the weather can be fascinating if you blog about it in an unusual way. Or perhaps you can sing or act or dance...?

Step 2: Start a blog (or a hub!)

Having decided on the real life topic that makes you interesting to read about, you want to tell people about it. If you're not a writer, consider promoting your exquisite taste in home decor in photos or your incredible pole dancing moves in a video. Ideas for blogs need not be complicated. A dad recently took a photo of his daughter every day from birth, which when they were put together, became an internet success. You could become a household name by capturing a funny moment video for YouTube. And then there was the mum who blogged about her house move and was then approached by a mainstream publisher to turn her musings into a book.

Step 3: Apply for a reality TV show

Whether you like it or not, reality TV shows can turn the ordinary person into a household star overnight. In the UK, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and all the cable channels are constantly on the hunt for willing interviewees to take part in up and coming shows. And as well as information about going on reality shows on their websites, you can find adverts on a number of casting directory sites. Incidentally, you don't need to make the final of X Factor - just be yourself (a bad cook) on a cookery programme! Just ensure you know exactly what you are letting yourself in for before you agree to go on! Then when you do go on - or after - you can sell your story about what happened, thus building on your new found fame, or blog about it.

Step 4: Write a book

While these days gaining a deal with a huge publisher might be extremely hard to do, it's never been easier to self publish your novel. If you find it hard to commit to regular writing, try adding small amounts in diary form. Why not write it in sections so people can read it on your blog?

Step 5: Be seen in the right place at the right time

A man recently became famous for appearing in news photos always wearing a different hat. There are dozens of events going on all the time when an 'audience' is needed. These include first nights at cinemas and theatre events. Then ensure you are dressed to thrill, appearing at the right moment for the paparazzi to take photos of you. Remember no-one knew who Liz Hurley was until she wore a daring dress fastened with giant safety pins! Of course Liz Hurley was on the arm of Hugh Grant - so the lesson here is date someone famous. Go to the London clubs and restaurants frequented by the celebrities and footballers - well, you never know!

Step 6: Image is everything

Cultivate your image carefully. Remember you don't have to be a pin thin model to become a household name. Celebrities such as Lady GaGa and Madonna have all honed their images carefully to be different. Ironically, another way to become famous is to copy a celebrity and become a lookalike. Lookalikes are constantly sought after when the real celebrity isn't available and you could find yourself truly in the limelight - and being paid for it!


Step 7: Sell your story

So you've got this far - now you're all ready to put everything into action. Mainstream publicity in the national press is crucial to success. With your image ready, your blog and hopefully your reality show about to come out on national TV, now is the time to sell your story. Don't make the mistake of thinking everything you say must show you as a success. Saying you got the worse possible score in the TV quiz game is as saleable as you getting the best or even a story about how you didn't get on with the other reality contestants is likely to be enough for a magazine or newspaper to run a piece about you. And don't forget to make sure when the article is run, to ask if a link to your blog or your book can be included!

And finally some tips to remember when you are selling your story...

* You can approach your favourite newspaper or magazine but if you want fame (and more money!) then your main requirement is multiple deals. To ensure the most publicity look for an online media agent that sells stories to all the newspapers and magazines - as well as having contacts in TV. A good media agent will also be paid by the publication for providing your story and should therefore act on your behalf for free.

* Ensure your story is marketed as you wish. But if it is fame you are after most, remember the old adage that all publicity is good publicity. You also can't please everyone all the time. Not everyone in your family might like your new found fame and accept not everyone will want to be your fan.

* Many publications will pay interviewees for their time - especially if it's a real life story you are selling. But if you are promoting a novel or your blog or website, consider waiving the payment for a guarantee that your novel, blog or website will be given a mention as your payment instead.

* Hopefully, when your story is published, other magazines, newspapers and TV will be marching to your door to do a follow up on you. But don't bet on it. And even if you gain further publicity, becoming famous takes more than just one or two articles. You will need to build on the success you have already found and that takes commitment. So for your rise to fame to work, you need to be constantly planning your next move in a long-term plan. Ever wondered why Katie Price and Kerry Katona are constantly reinventing themselves? It is all part of their job to be famous. So you must have the same approach. Your next step might be to approach another reality TV show, to write a follow up book, to become an expert in your field (for example, you sold the story about your divorce, now you can offer yourself as an expert consultant or agony aunt) - and you need to keep up the blog and the tweets. Well no-one said being famous wasn't hard work...

Would you want to be famous - do let me know what you think?

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer and media consultant who runs all my story website Featureworld, selling stories to the press for the ordinary person.


Would you want to be famous? 2 comments

Rhonda Waits profile image

Rhonda Waits 5 years ago from The Emerald Coast

Hi I enjoyed your hub. I write my poems based on my true life or experiences. I write other articles as well. I want to publish my poems. Thank you.


Rhonda Waits profile image

Rhonda Waits 5 years ago from The Emerald Coast

Hi I enjoyed your hub. I write my poems based on my true life or experiences. I write other articles as well. I want to publish my poems. Thank you.

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