As a publicity agent and journalist selling stories to national newspapers and television every week I am often asked what people can do to raise their profile.
Many people might have spent hours gaining ‘friends’ on Facebook, begging people to follow them on Twitter and might have written thousands of words on a blog. Some people have devoted themselves to writing a book, sending it to various websites – but despite doing all this, their story has yet to get ‘out there’.
So why despite all the work with social media websites, is that?
Well, unlike tweeting and blogging, publicity gained in the national press carries a huge premium. Space is tight in the mainstream press and so if a national newspaper devotes a page to you, it is saying it thinks you are important enough to devote space to. If a women’s magazine is paying you for your story and giving you two pages to tell it, your story must be special.
Celebrities would not be celebrities (and therefore have their millions of Twitter followers) without their initial publicity from major magazines, newspapers and TV. The tweets from the Beckhams for example only really become news for the masses once they are picked up by traditional media.
And mainstream websites are far becoming THE biggest sites on the internet. MailOnline, the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday’s website, attracts some 80 million monthly users worldwide (The New York Times is currently the biggest newspaper site) – the point is, if you just do one story you can instantly obtain massive exposure for free.
If you are a business, just a mention in a national newspaper about your product can ensure a flood of orders overnight. If you are raising money for charity, one person might come forward with the whole lot after reading it in the morning paper and if you are seeking justice, you might find justice does come your way if your story in a national newspaper causes a national outcry.
So should you not bother to tweet, blog or use facebook? Yes, you should use them as it all helps. Social media is perfect to gain a buzz about you – and gives more chance of your story being picked up by the mainstream press.
Also if you are about to sell your story for publicity I always recommend you have a blog, website or Twitter account in place where readers can go to next. Then sometimes the blog becomes the story – for example, one mum’s blog about how she hated moving away, was serialised in a national newspaper. From there, she was approached by a publisher to write a book.
But don’t under estimate the power of mainstream media – of getting your story printed in a magazine, newspaper or going on TV.
And if you don’t want the exposure of the national press, but still want to sell your story, I can always place your story in a smaller publication instead.
Read more: Real life experiences
Contact me to find out more about getting your story into a mainstream national newspaper, magazine or on TV: Contact Alison.
You might imagine most people sell a story to make some money – and the more cash they sell a story for, the better.
But I have always maintained that while as a media agent, selling an interviewee’s story to gain them money is my job – and I find interviewees do want to be paid fairly for selling a personal story – I rarely find it is the their only motivation.
For some people, the motivation can be simply getting their story in print – for others, it might be promoting their business. But for many people that come to Sell My Story website Featureworld, top of their list is sharing their story to gain awareness.
Mum of two Lucy Hayes is typical. Lucy’s story about how she is fighting a brain tumour was printed in the Daily Mirror and I know for her it was important she got her story out there to give hope to others. So I was delighted to receive this via the Featureworld Facebook page.
Mrs M wrote: “I am recently diagnosed with a non cancerous meningioma. I thank you so much for your recent story in the daily mirror. I am waiting to see the neurologist but I have been on edge since it was first spotted. I don’t know my prognosis but obviously I am worried. Reading Lucy’s story has given me hope as I was writing my will amongst other things. Can you give her my details as I would be very interested in talking to Lucy. Thank you very much”
And following another recent story – Sara Hornsey, an ambulance worker, who was paralysed after a swine flu vaccine – I received several requests to speak with Sara from others who’ve experienced the same thing. Again, Sara told her story in the Daily Mail primarily to warn others.
Ms T emailed me: “Thank you so much for publicising Sara’s story – at last i know what i had / have wrong with me … I cannot thank you enough for getting Sara’s story the exposure it deserves. Please pass on this email and my very best wishes to Sara… Thank you again – Very best regards to you both.”
Needless to say all emails are passed to interviewees – proof that such publicity can be so helpful to others. And of course the bonus is going through a media agent means you will always be paid as well!
To discuss selling your story, and what you hope to achieve from selling a story, contact me here: Sell my Story inquiry
Read other recently sold stories: Archives
Hayley Okines amazing real-life story appears in the SUNDAY PEOPLE newspaper today.
Hayley Okines. 13, is the girl who suffers from progeria – a one in eight million condition that ages her body so fast she now has the body of someone aged 104.
Four years ago Hayley’s mum Kerry emailed me through my sell your story website to ask if I would help the family deal with the constant requests for publicity.
Since then I have placed Hayley’s story in the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, and today in the Sunday People.
When I first spoke with the family, her parents were told she would most likely die before she reached the age of 13. But three years ago Hayley received pioneering treatment in America. No-one knew if it would work and in fact the treatment was so unknown, her parents had to accept it alone might kill their daughter.
But incredibly, since receiving the treatment, Hayley has gone from strength to strength and has grown and put on weight. Other tests, such as those on her heart, have confirmed her condition has improved. Hayley recently celebrated her 13th birthday in December – a birthday her family feared when she was born she might never see.
As Kerry says, they are now in unchartered waters and with this milestone over, can at last look forward to the New Year and a longer-term future.
Meanwhile, Hayley is enjoying secondary school and despite her petite stature (she wears clothes for the size of an average five year old) has plenty of friends.
I will be continuing to follow Hayley’s progress in the future – but to find out more about Hayley do click on Hayley’s website here.
Do you have a story to sell? Perhaps you are fending off approaches from reporters for your story? To read more about employing a publicist click here: What a publicist could do for you. If you would like the advice of an experienced media agent and writer contact me here.
Sharon Boks’ real life story about how she had a heart attack just before her wedding day appeared in the DAILY MAIL newspaper yesterday.
Sharon, 39, had just finished the seating plan when she went to bed feeling a little stressed. A few hours later she woke to find herself suffering with chest pains and hyperventilating.
She thought it was just a panic attack over the last minute arrangements for her ceremony, but fortunately fiance Mark called an ambulance. Incredibly, Sharon was having a heart attack.
Thankfully, after being rushed to hospital, medics restarted her heart and after a few days on the ward, she was allowed home. No-one expected Sharon and Mark to go through with their wedding, which was just a week away. But, as Sharon says, after going through 18 months of painstaking planning and stress to get things just right, she wasn’t going to cancel it. So she managed to walk up the aisle.
This week the couple are on their postponed honeymoon in Thailand – Sharon wasn’t well enough to fly at the time.
Sharon has also joined with the British Heart Foundation as they are launching a new campaign in November targeted at women. Their message is that a heart attack doesn’t just strike middle aged and overweight men! We must all look after our hearts with regular exercise and a healthy diet. Click here – sell my story for charity – to read about others who’ve sold their stories for charity.
Meanwhile, although Sharon has been away I have been busy looking after her story and have gained her further deals with two big women’s magazines to follow on from the Daily Mail story.
Do you have a real life story to share? To sell your story to the press click here: Sell my Story!
Thank you readers for your generosity! Story follow up in the NEWS OF THE WORLD yesterday. And last week’s story…
When Soldier Sophia Snape contacted me about how she rescued a stray pup from Afghanistan, she simply hoped to raise money towards the quarantine fees.
But after I placed Sophia’s story with the News of the World newspaper a week ago, she was overwhelmed with donations. In fact, she had raised the necessary amount to pay for dog Lola to come to the UK and the quarantine fees by the Sunday lunchtime.
During the week Sophia said she really wanted to thank readers who had been so generous with their donations that they had given more money than she needed.
Fortunately, the News of the World agreed and yesterday printed an update to Sophia’s story, saying thank you to their readers.
Incidentally, the extra money raised will go to charity Nowzad to help other stray dogs in Afghanistan so none of the donations will be wasted.
Meanwhile, I have now placed Sophia’s story as a double page spread with a leading national women’s magazine.
More about that when the feature appears as it promises to be a wonderful update on Sophia and of course her beautiful little dog, Lola.
Do you want to sell your story for charity? To read about others who’ve sold their story to raise money for a charity, click here.