ARTIST INSIGHT | The art of getting press
Georgia Balogiannis (News Editor, Radio News Anchor, Writer and Journalist ) shares best practices on how artists can best promote their work to the media for better overall coverage.
Top 5 Tips Getting Press
1. Know your market.
Looking for free press? First find out which publication or media outlet (i.e. local newspaper, daily newspaper, online magazine, free subway papers, TV or radio website) offers a space to promote up-and-coming artists. Read the publication. Peruse the websites etc. See where you fit in.
Random emails to a media outlet won’t fly when it comes to securing coverage. A ‘To whom it may concern” email is a sure-fire way to be ignored. If you can’t bother finding out the correct person to send your pitch to, why would we want to bother profiling you? Do the work. Find out exactly who is in charge of the section you want to be featured in. Get a name (spell it correctly) and the contact’s direct email address. If you don’t hear back from the person in a few days, follow up with a phone call. Newspapers offer various types of publicity: event listings; a short write-up promoting an upcoming event; artist profiles and photography to promote an upcoming exhibit or event. You have options.
3. What makes you so special?
How do you stand out from your peers? What makes your art form deserving of press? When ‘pitching’ yourself, find a unique angle. Do you volunteer your time with at-risk youth, teaching them your art form? Are you affiliated with a charity that uses art as therapy? These are great ‘selling’ points. Find the right ‘hook’.
4. Be ready to open up
If you have an opportunity to be interviewed by a newspaper, magazine, blogger, TV host, radio reporter etc…be prepared to open up. Not just about your art, but about yourself. Personal stories sell. If you’ve overcome some sort of obstacle that has enhanced and enriched your art form, be prepared to talk about it.
5. The press release
When writing a press release, include the 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When and Why. Make sure it doesn’t exceed one page and get to the point quick! A Google search will provide you with various samples on how to write a press release. Don’t forget to spell check!
For almost two decades, Georgia Balogiannis has worked in print, radio and TV news as a reporter, writer, news editor, producer and news broadcaster. The desire to uncover the truth and report from a first-hand experience is what drew Georgia to a career in journalism, but telling people’s stories and connecting with her community is what keeps her engaged.
Georgia considers herself a ‘grassroots’ girl. Her motto is ‘it starts with hello’, because any connection made, starts with that simple five-letter word. Georgia is frequent speaker to journalism students at her alma mater Centennial College, helping soon-to-be graduates navigate their first steps in the industry. She currently works as a news editor for The Etobicoke Guardian and Bloor West Villager newspapers, and as a part-time news anchor and producer with Toronto’s all-news radio station, 680 News.
In her spare time, Georgia dabbles in Photoshop and Final Cut Pro and spends most of her weekends, when not working, navigating all four corners of the city, discovering free daytime festivals, uncovering new nightspots, shopping local and always trying to find a great fashion deal. Oh, and of course, writing the next great novel.