People still shock me. Recently, I wrote to someone who considers himself a future YouTube star. I liked his work. I thought his approach was humorous. I stumbled across him on the Internet. I wrote to his contact email. I asked him some questions and told him I was willing to write a feature about his work.
He doesn’t have 1,000,000 followers… he doesn’t even have 250,000 followers.
This amazes me.
Lesson #1 in the entertainment industry: If anyone offers you free press, take it. What do you have to lose?
Put your logo online so journalists and bloggers can share your logo, write about your projects and give you free press.
Put a photo of yourself online so writers can boost a post about your work and share your photo along with links to your work.
Make your Vine work accessible so anyone can share it. Make your Vimeo available also on YouTube. Share your work and take every opportunity to have other people share it, too.
As a journalist, the approach I hear far too often is… “I don’t want someone to write something about me unless I approve every word first.” Good luck! If every big star said this, they wouldn’t be stars. Journalists don’t send an article or a blog to a celebrity to have it rewritten. Do you see Amy Schumer re-writing journalists? Nope. She gives them whatever information they need and encourages the writer to spread his or her wings and fly with the story. If she doesn’t like the published story or blog, she makes a joke about it. Even if she does like the end product, she still makes a joke about it. That joke spreads and so does the article.
Trust me, in today’s busy Internet world, you want publicity. Especially, free publicity.
A few years ago, a young man came to town wanting to become an actor. He had no experience. He had read a feature story I wrote online and sent me an email request asking me to write a story about him. Remember, he had NO experience. He had NO reel. He had NO acting experience. He simply had an idea that he wanted to become an actor in Hollywood. I’m not kidding. I wrote a story about him, his past and what brought him to Hollywood. He took that published article online, printed it up and sent it to other journalists. They liked my article and wrote articles of their own. He had someone create a Wikipedia page for him based on my article and those articles. He took all of the articles and got an agent. He started getting auditions. He asked me to write another article. I did. He took that article and posted it on his website. He kept self-promoting until he got parts in TV shows and films. He’s since had a bunch of huge feature articles written. He got a huge steady paycheck on a big show as part of an ensemble cast. HE made it happen. What set him apart? He tried everything he could to get attention and never looked back. And he always returned emails and phone calls. If I needed a new picture for the article, he took one. If I told you his name, you would know his name instantly because he actually has a net worth now. But he came to town with nothing and started from scratch.
If anyone is willing to post something about you on a blog, other bloggers and journalists will pick it up and write their own story about you. If anyone is willing to toot your horn and it doesn’t cost you a dime – c’mon, welcome the instrument to the orchestra and let them play. If you sleep through your own press and don’t allow people to write about you, they will write you off.
I’ve written off this future hopeful YouTube star. Sorry, but I also unsubscribed to his YouTube channel. I asked a few questions to write a feature about him and received no response. With so few followers, I imagine he’s not being bombarded for interview requests. In fact, I’ve never seen an article written about him. And if he didn’t want to be contacted, why did he put his contact information on his YouTube account?
This makes no sense.
Free publicity spreads like wildfire on the Internet.
Free publicity is a gift. Appreciate it.
So, if you have a script, a YouTube video short, a Vine video, a Vimeo project, a stand-up comedy act or anything you want to plug, here’s some free advice. Get to sharing! It’s not up to everyone to find you so help them find you. I don’t care if you posted the piece six months ago or two years ago. Talent is talent. Write to bloggers asking them to share it. Write to journalists asking them to share it. Share it on Facebook. Share it on Twitter. Share it on Instagram. Don’t overthink it. Just get down to business.
If Amy Schumer had nitpicked over every move in her career, she would still be a bartender or filing paperwork. Instead, she walked into a comedy club, took a chance and stepped onto the stage. She encouraged anyone and everyone to share her story. She ended up in 4th place of the fifth season of Last Comic Standing on NBC and she ran with it. Who won that season? I have no clue. Amy Schumer is the standout for a reason. Lots of bloggers write about her every single day. Now, she has a bunch of projects and her net worth is over $1 million. She’s only been in the business for a few years.
If you’re the next Amy Schumer or up-and-coming comedian such as Gregg Wayans, make some great content and get people to share it. One posting on Reddit can make a huge difference and create a huge following.
I know a guy who remains on the fringe of the entertainment industry because he overthinks everything. He’s negative and he claims every project that is successful is “cheesy.” Guess what, he has no cheese in his bank for a reason. Everything is not cheesy when it’s successful. He’s just so selective, he doesn’t share, he doesn’t post, he doesn’t try to get representation and he doesn’t do anything that is proactive. If he’s not working with other people to help him, ultimately, he’ll get nowhere. And he can judge everything for being cheesy from the sidelines for the rest of his life.
My bottom line: if you want to be in the entertainment industry, be proactive and take a chance… today! And if someone, anyone, wants to write a story about your project, say YES! It could make all the difference in the world.