About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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4 Lessons I’ve Learned From Doing My Own PR
Friday, September 18, 2020

When my book, ChemBro – Embracing Beastmode to Beat Cancer, came out earlier this month I’d had a plan to hire a publicist to create a campaign for it. The gods, however, conspired against me, and attempt after attempt to hire a publicist was thwarted by a myriad of reasons that ranged from the routine (things like cost), to situations so crazy if they’d happened in a movie I’d have said, “That would never happen in real life!”

So, being a lifelong freelancer, and only child, I turned to wherever I thought the gods might hear me, and gave them my best Pedro Cerrano impression – “I say f*ck you, Jobu. I do it myself!”

Despite not being a publicist, this isn’t a situation where I’m flying blind. As a journalist I’ve been working with publicists for two decades, and back in college I took a class in public relations and the professor really wanted me to continue on that path. Also, being that I’ve freelanced for many many years, I’m used to pitching editors.

All that said, there have still been some bumps in the road. Here are four lessons I’ve learned from doing my own PR.

1. PR pros are wizards of time management

Even just combining doing my own PR with continuing my journalistic exploits I’ve found that I consistently run out of hours in the day. I can’t imagine what it’s like running campaigns for half a dozen, or more, clients at the same time. It’s a juggling act of spreadsheets, bookings, a chainsaw, and a cantaloupe. OK, maybe not the last two, but at times it sure feels like it!

Not even with a steady diet of caffeinated beverages and cocaine do I think I’d be able to handle all that … and no, there’s no cocaine in my diet (unless there’s something I don’t know about the French Vanilla flavored protein I’ve been having after my workouts).

2. I’d still rather hear “no” than get no reply

This is a mutual issue for journalists and publicists alike – we work our butts off to craft the perfect pitch, oftentimes tailoring it for a specific editor, or publication, and it gets totally ignored. We follow up, and we still hear nothing.

There is a universal sentiment among all of us who pitch – we’d rather hear “No,” “We’re not interested,” or, “We’re gonna pass on this,” than receive no reply at all.

Do you have any idea how many times I hit “refresh” on my Gmail hoping a response to one of my pitches will appear? Instead it’s usually just spam trying to sell me CBD.

3. Websites don’t necessarily keep their “Contact” section up to date

As a journalist it always bugs me when an artist has outdated PR contact information on their social media pages. Neglecting to update contact info is also an issue with many websites and publications. The two most common situations I’ve run into are

* I’ll send emails to multiple people at a publication only to have them all bounce back saying the addresses do not exist.

* The “Editorial Team” page on a publication’s website has no contact info, so I start Googling the editors. One of the first things that comes up for a person is their LinkedIn page, which invariably reveals they’re no longer with the publication. In a few cases they’d left upwards of three years ago!

4. Whoever invented the “Contact Submission Form” should get kicked in the shins

The contact submission form – the perfect way to say, “I’d love to hear from you … but not really.”

Yes, I still diligently fill them out, and copy and paste my press release into the box, shedding a tear as I watch all the formatting I’d carefully done get stripped away. I then shed a second tear when I realize there’s no way to attach an image.

Despite these hurdles I’m happy to say I landed my first internet feature for ChemBro, which was a very nice article written by Dan Woog, and earlier this week I booked an appearance on a podcast. So hey, I must be doing something right.

Now, to continue the search for more places to pitch!


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:00 AM  
  • At 9:24 PM, Blogger JW Doom said…

    You might get some good hints from the Self Publishing Formula on YouTube. They're selling courses but there's tons of free stuff on offer about marketing and PR and stuff.

  • At 1:31 PM, Blogger Adam Bernard said…

    Thanks! I'll look it up.

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