THE INSPIRATION PLACE PODCAST
If you can peg the story that you’re pitching to a particular time of year, it answers this question that is always on the mind of segment bookers, always on the mind of journalists, always on the mind of editors, why this story now?
It’s the Inspiration Place Podcast with artist Miriam Schulman. Welcome to the Inspiration Place Podcast, an art world insider a podcast for artists, by an artist, where each week we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the art. And now your host, Miriam Schulman.
Hello, passion maker. This is Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration, and you’re listening to episode number 170 of the Inspiration Place Podcast. I’m so grateful that you’re here. Today, we’re talking with a PR expert, so that you can learn top insider secrets to getting your art featured. Now, if I asked you, would you rather be a well paid artist or a well known artist, what would you say? Well, the truth is, you can have both.
And in fact, becoming well known is a great shortcut to becoming well paid. But a lot of artists struggle with being visible, especially the introverts among us. I don’t know if you heard me say this already on the podcast, I’m a bit of an introvert myself. Most people wouldn’t guess that because I’m very animated and very loud. But don’t forget, I’m doing that all from the comfort of my own home. Right now I am recording… Basically my home studio…
In case you don’t know and I haven’t talked about it before, my studio is a bedroom inside our house that we’ve converted into a studio. And now it’s a podcasting room. Plus, my art is still in here too. I have this whole corner desk set up for my podcast. I have an island where I do my art, my art books everything’s around me, but I’m basically in my home. Right now I’m recording this podcast in my yoga pants. I don’t think I’ve recorded in my pajamas, but I could if I wanted to.
I’m basically able to be an introvert and podcast, because it’s a great way to be well known without leaving my house. There you go. I’m a bit of an introvert myself and that doesn’t have to stop me from trying to get press and publicity, because I know that’s the only way people can find out about what I do and about my art and that has worked for me. When I first started out, getting publicity was a big part of that success.
It was a great way to let everybody know I was serious by getting the press of my local papers, as well as getting new people to find out about me. Artists who believe that they can’t do it because they’re shy or they’re introverted means they’re not getting their work out there. They’re not getting the traction that they need. But what you might not realize is publicity is not about being famous just for the sake of being famous. No.
It’s not like just building an Instagram following, so [inaudible 00:03:22] has more content. It’s about getting the message of your work out there, and you can be well known and well paid and stay true to your values. In fact, getting big press like The New York Times is actually not as hard as you think. In fact, I’ve been in The New York Times a few times. That’s a little bit a tug twister. I’ve been in The New York Times on several occasions. People think it’s a huge deal.
Maybe it is, but it’s actually not as hard to get into as you think. My secret was getting in the local calendar listings, where they list all the art events that are happening. I got pictures of my art and details of my events featured in that section several times, both the Westchester version of the paper, the Connecticut version of the paper, and I know there’s other local versions of the paper. Once I realized how easy it was to get my name and art into the paper, I just kept on doing it.
Not only is it great that it happened, because you get that nice push at the time when you get the publicity, but you’re able to put it on your website. I still get people who are impressed when I tell them about it. In fact, they’re much more impressed with that than with my Ivy League diploma. It’s definitely a myth that it’s hard to get publicity, especially high profile publicity, and that’s something that keeps a lot of artists from even trying, which is kind of sad.
I want to break that myth and help you get your work out there in the media. Being in the media gives you credibility, authority. It gets the word out there about your art. But most importantly, it gives you a reason to raise your prices because you are seen as a professional. Now, publicity has been a game changer, not only for me, but for many of my clients. You heard from Elizabeth Mordensky. A few weeks ago, I interviewed her in episode 164.
She sold $9,500 of original art after being featured in an art collector’s magazine using what she learned inside the Artist Incubator. Now, because publicity is so important, that’s why I wanted to pull this interview I did with PR expert Lynya Floyd. Pull it from the archives. I did this in early 2021. It was originally a Facebook Live. I want to make sure that I shared it with you today.
In this episode, you’ll discover why you need to work your way up the publicity pyramid when you plan your outreach, why smaller press will more easily translate into sales than larger publications, and the biggest mistake newbies make when pitching the press and what to do instead.
I am so excited. We have a very special guest today, senior media coach Lynya Floyd. Lynya Floyd is the senior media coach for Selena Soo’s Impacting Millions program, where she works with entrepreneurs, coaches, and experts who want to elevate their status using the power of the media. She has helped clients land stories in major media outlets and has nearly two decades of experience working in the media as an editor at magazines, including Glamour, Essence, Family Circle, Seventeen.
She also has been featured as a health expert on The Today Show, The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Fox, NPR, and more. And she even helped me land a major feature in Forbes. So please welcome to the Inspiration Place, Lynya Floyd. Hey, there. Welcome to the show.
Hello. Hello. Hello. Thank you so much for having me on the show, Miriam. I’m really excited to be with you today.
I know you’re really busy Lynya, so we’re going to dive right into all the juicy content we have planned. Would you please explain to our listeners what the publicity pyramid is and why you need to work your way up the pyramid when planning your publicity outreach?
What we do is we encourage people to work their way up the publicity pyramid as they have their media outreach. And the reason why this is so important is because at the very top of the publicity pyramid, one might imagine is television. So often people will immediately shoot to the top of the publicity pyramid in their minds. And when they think about outreach, they’re thinking, “I want to be on Super Soul Sunday. I want to be on The Today Show. I want to be on Good Morning, America.”
All incredible television appearances to have, right? What is everyone still to talking about? Oprah’s interview. What do people talk about when they first wake up in the morning? They turn on the TV. They’re tuning into GMA. They’re tuning into The Today Show. Yes, people love consuming that type of media. But when you’re just getting started with publicity, you cannot aim for the top of the publicity pyramid.
There are a couple of reasons why, but the two most important reasons why are, one, the media doesn’t know who you are. You want the media to be excited. You want them engaging with you. You want them to be, essentially at some point in time, reaching out to you instead of you making the outreach.
But if they have no idea who you are, if you don’t have credential to show them, what other places that you’ve appeared, then they don’t understand why they should choose you over someone who has more experience in the media, who has clips that they can show, who maybe has a sizzle reel that they can offer, who has links back to podcasts that they’ve been on. One, the media won’t know who you are.
But two, you could, and I’ve seen this happen and it breaks my heart, you could get an amazing opportunity that you’re not ready for that, that you don’t know how to take advantage of, because you don’t have the experience of working your way up through the publicity pyramid in order to have gained those skills that you need in order to really stand out, really shine when you do get that amazing opportunity.
If people haven’t had a chance to check it out, the publicity pyramid, the very bottom of the pyramid is one of the most important parts of the pyramid, because it’s the foundation, right? And that bottom part of the pyramid is your website and it’s your personal blog, because that you holding a space for yourself.
So that when people Google you, which the media will if they’re interested in you, they will definitely Google you and look for you and read through the information they find about you, which will not only be your website, but also hopefully some clips of your work. But that is the foundation of the publicity pyramid. And then as you work your way up, the next level of the publicity pyramid would be guest blogs, for example.
So not just writing on your site, but writing for other websites so that you can fish in other ponds, so to speak, and get your message and get your visuals out to other individuals and other audiences who aren’t coming directly to your site. And then from there, we go up to podcasts. We’ll go up to magazines. We’ll go up to television and stages. I mean, you can see how with every layer, with every level of the publicity pyramid, things get a little bit more competitive.
Access gets a little more restricted. But the great part about working your way up the pyramid is that you build the experience and you gain the knowledge along the way to be able to compete on those more competitive levels.
And then I just want to make sure that everyone listening understands, especially since there’s so many of you who your goal is to be a well paid artist and you’re not sure if being well known matters to you yet, that getting those publicity on the lower part of the pyramid, your local papers, your local print magazines, all that, those will more easily translate into sales for you than some of these larger audiences will with a bigger reach, because your local audience is going to care much more what you do because you’re their homegirl or homeboy.
I am so glad that you mentioned that. I wasn’t sure how much into the weeds we wanted to get during the time that we have today. But yes, within each level of the publicity pyramid, there’s gradations as well. Even if you’re talking about way at the top of the publicity pyramid and television, you’re not going to start… Even when you get up to the top of the pyramid, you’re not going to necessarily start out with The Today Show. You’re going to start out with local television.
You need to get your feet wet. You need to get familiar with what it feels like to set up that camera and to make sure you have that amazing background or to appear in studio and to have three different cameras and figure out which one you’re looking at, right? Even within each level of the publicity pyramid, there are smaller gradations of local versus national when it comes to each of those levels. And local, people often overlook it.
That’s another reason I’m so glad that you brought it up, Miriam. People often overlook it and they do don’t understand that there is… I mean, I’m in New York City, so there’s a ton of cache involved in being in local media. My local newspaper is The New York Times. But no matter where you are, local media has a lot of cache and people are invested in their local newspaper and their local television stations and their local radio stations.
It’s a tremendous source for reaching out to the publicity that people often overlook, but really shouldn’t, because there are so many opportunities there and there are so many potential fires or people who are interested or people who are going to pass along your information to other resources, other individuals as well. One of the little secrets of the media is that a lot of the at times, national media is reading local media.
National media is watching local media, and they will pluck a local story and turn it into a national story. One of the ways that you can get the eyeballs of national media onto you or the ears of national media listening to you is by appearing local media, because they don’t care, national doesn’t care if that story has been published in a local outlet because they’re going to be the first or the second national person to bring it out there.
But if NBC has already done a story on it, CBS isn’t going to do the exact same story. When I would travel as a journalist, I would read local papers and listen to local radio all the time, because that’s where my story might come from, my next national story might come from.
If you are from a big city like New York, it might be easy to think, oh, my local paper is The New York Times. But then even within that, there’s The Village Voice. They’re still printing, right? I don’t even know. But there are neighborhood papers inside big cities and niche publications and maybe just the town just outside of the big city. That’s even how I’ve gotten into The New York Times was focusing on… The New York Times has the Westchester section or the Connecticut section.
Focusing on those sections when I’ve been having art shows to get into The New York times was a leg up to get into bigger publications.
So beautiful. So perfect. Yes.
If you’re looking to get more exposure for your art and you want to sell more art and you know you’ve got to build your audience, one of the best ways to do that is with free publicity. Getting publicity is much easier than you think. Once you get over your fear of pitching, it can unlock all kinds of doors for you. Publicity has worked for hundreds of years for artists from Rubens to De Kooning to Ashley Longshore.
If getting more publicity is one of your goals for 2022, I’ve got some great news for you. I’ve got a free curated list of the top 20 media outlets for artists. We’re talking about the best blogs and print magazines. Imagine what publicity can do for you. By the way, this is a great list even if you just want to read more art blogs and art magazines. To get your hands on it, just go to schulmanart.com/media.
Okay, so let’s move on to the next piece, which… Okay, you can correct me if I’m wrong. Is it cracking the code?
Cracking the Advertising Code. Yes. I actually want to focus on the mistake that people often make, because this is really important. I want people to get it right. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is that they’re not pitching story ideas. They are pitching topics or something much broader, and they’re thinking that the media’s going to grab onto that.
They’re thinking, “Okay, so I’m an artist. I’m just going to pitch a story idea about great art. I’m just going to pitch story about me and my latest exhibition,” or something like that. But you have to be really specific with your story ideas, because editors and segment bookers and producers, they’re not looking for some broad topic like art in general or photographer fee in general. They’re looking for something very specific.
And as long as you just put a little bit more effort, I mean, we talk about this in Impacting Millions, but you can do this as well on your own, put a little more effort into what exactly is going to be my hook, what is going to get this audience engaged, the person that you’re pitching, but also their audience. You have to care about both of those things, engaged, interested, make them feel like they have to read or listen or watch your story right now. You really have to be specific with your story ideas.
I do get a lot of students who, particularly in the beginning of the class, they will come to be with just very broad, generalized ideas, and we really hone those in to find that hook that’s going to get people… Make it irresistible content, right? Make it something that I have to click on. I’m not going to go do that other thing I needed to do. I’m going to sit and I’m going to watch your segment. I’m going to sit and I’m going to listen to this podcast. I’m going to read this five minute story.
That’s such valuable advice. I love how you’re dropping so many knowledge bombs right now. What do you feel are the other two biggest mistakes you see people making when they’re trying to get more publicity?
The other two mistakes have to do with timing. And as they say in life, timing is everything and it is true within the media as well. One part of timing that is really important to focus on is when you are pitching your story. Yes, there are evergreen stories that you can pitch that would be appropriate any time of year, any season, no matter what. But if you can peg your story to a particular time of year, if you can peg your story… For example, maybe you want to peg your story…
It’s March now, right? So maybe you’re thinking people are doing spring cleaning and they’re getting rid of things in their home, and maybe they’re switching out photographs in their home, or they’re changing colors in their home, or they’re switching out art in their home. Or if you can think of another time of year, maybe we get to a place where people are going to be doing more entertaining and they care…
It used to be, and this could be again, that the holidays were really big time to talk about entertaining, right? Leading into November and December is a really big time for people to rethink their home and rethink their decor because they’re going to be having people come by for Thanksgiving. They’re going to be opening their door for trick or treaters and what will people be seeing or Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza.
If you can peg the story that you’re pitching to a particular time of year, it answers this question that is always on the mind of segment bookers, always on the mind of journalists, always on the mind of editors, why this story now? What is happening in the world right now such that my audience has to see this story? If you can answer that by saying, “Oh well, it’s because the holidays are coming up and people are going to be having friends over.
Oh, it’s spring cleaning and people are going to be taking things off the wall and putting new things on. Or, ugh, we are a year into the pandemic and people are tired of staring at the same four walls and they need change.” Whatever it is that is your hook, think about timeliness for that and that will put you head and shoulders above other pitches that are more evergreen.
That the editor might say, “Oh, we can hold that story to next month, because I really want this one that came in, because this is what people are feeling. This is what people are going through right now.” That’s one aspect of timeliness that she talks about. The other part of timeliness has to do with thinking about, why is this important to people right now, right?
You have the when to pitch the story in terms of like, okay, the holidays are coming up. The holidays are going to be starting at the end of October, right? We’re going to think back a little bit and we’re going to think, all right. If it’s a magazine and a magazine’s work let’s say three to six months in advance, which they totally do, and I know that sounds like a lot, so you have to think, okay, for that October story, and I’m going to count back. I’m going to be pitching them that story now.
You’re thinking about the timeliness angle. Why is this important to readers? And then you’re pitching it at just the right time, knowing that different outlets have different lead times. For example, magazines have the largest lead time. But let’s say, for example, something happens in the news this morning. Let’s say today we woke up and we thought, oh, this is a good one. There was the Bitcoin art story that came out last week.
Let’s say you wake up and that is the prominent news story that is going around. You can pitch a website that day and say, “Hey, this is a story that everybody’s talking about, but here’s what people need to know about X, Y, and Z,” whatever your take is on it. “Here’s why that’s insane. Here’s why this shows that people are truly valuing art now. Here’s why people need to kick it old school.”
Whatever angle you might want to take in response to something that happens in the news would be amazing and can happen in the moment. You don’t have to think, all right, so let me count back here. It happens. You can respond to it. Be ready to write something very quickly or to appear on a segment very quickly, but that is a very fast, short lead time that you might experience. Lead times vary from different outlets. Thinking about why is my story timely and at what point in time do I need to that story?
That’s beautiful. The three things we said, reaching too high, timing, and making sure the story matters now. Yes?
Making sure that you get your story idea to be specific, not super plural, and then the two timeliness angles. Yes.
Beautiful. All right. What I want to do now is a little bit flipping the table. I want to talk about my experience with working with you. What I found that was so super interesting, I don’t know why this always surprises me, but there’s that myth when you’re an artist and you’re working on your art, that you just have to let the media know, “Here I am. Here’s my art.”
What always surprised me whenever I’ve written a press release and sent it to the press and what we did together when we pitched the story for Forbes is how much you’re actually doing the writing for the journalists.
That varies from outlet to outlet. But here’s the thing with that, journalists are… I think everybody knows this, but take it to the next level. Journalists and segment bookers and TV… We’ve all seen TV shows of behind the scenes of magazines and television shows. These people are extraordinarily busy. What we want to do is to be able to deliver something as much on a silver platter as possible. We want to make it as easy for people to say yes as humanly possible.
Even with a press release, I’ve gotten countless press releases as a journalist coming into my inbox, coming into my mailbox at my office. And yeah, that’s work for me, right? Because I have to pull the information out of the press release and figure out, well, what is the story? What am I writing about? This event is coming up. That’s awesome, but I’ve still got to ways to go. But if you can craft an actual pitch, here’s what the story is, right?
Not just an idea, but a pitch, “Here’s my perspective. Here’s my angle,” then you’re essentially delivering something on a silver platter and making it very easy for someone to say yes. And that’s always what we want with the media. We want to make it as easy as possible for them to say yes. Experts that I’ve interviewed for stories that I have written speak to me in pull quotes, speak to me in sound bites.
I know that before they got on the phone with me, they did the work to come up with those sound bites that they knew that I was looking for. Because as soon as I hear them… Like when I’m interviewing somebody or when you’re interviewed by a journalist or someone on television, as you talk to them, they’re highlighting things that you’re saying in their head, right? They know what they want to use for that sound bite, for that clip. They know what they want to used to quote you in an article.
If you can make that even easier for them by doing the work and figuring out what you want to be quoted for, then that is going to make it even easier for them. Anything that you can do. This is a lot of what I talk about in Impacting Millions, because I can speak from both sides of the computer. I know what it’s like to get the pitches. I know what its like to be the editor, and I also know what it’s like to pitch. I know what it’s like to put yourself out there as a freelancer.
I know what it’s like to interview people who are not good subjects and people who are great and are giving me exactly what I need and they’re going to end up in the story. Anything that you can do to make that individual’s life easier is going to definitely work to your advantage.
How much does it cost to have someone else do the work? I’ve been quoting numbers that I feel are probably old. I’ve been telling everyone it’s 3,000 a month to hire somebody, but I bet it’s more by now. I’m always stuck in the 1990s with prices.
Isn’t that funny? I wasn’t exactly sure, Miriam, what they meant. I didn’t know if they meant to have somebody else write the story for you or to have a PR company handle all your PR for you. I’m going to answer the latter because I think that you’re actually correcting what they were asking. And yes, it can cost you $10,000 a month. Here’s the other thing, you can’t just sign up for one month. Normally there’s like a three month retainer or there’s a three month requirement.
One month just isn’t enough to get things going. There’s going to be a minimum requirement for how long that you sign up. I’ve definitely heard easily five figures before. Learning to do this work on your own is that part of the benefit learning these skills is also developing in relationships with people in the media. If you go through a PR company, they’re using their relationships in order to get you press.
And then once they’re gone, you have… Whenever you’ve been able to work out with them, but you don’t have any connections. You’re gone. I’ve worked with people like that where they’ll say, “Oh yeah, I got press in the past, but now I don’t know what to do because somebody else did all the work.” It’s almost like having a chef come in and make you a meal… Like in my fantasy world, right? Make you meals every day, and then they go away and you can’t feed yourself.
And then what I’ve had people do is they’ll say, “Oh, I don’t have time to do X, Y, and Z today, but I know how to do this. So I’m going to tell my virtual assistant, ‘Hey, can you do this publicity work for me today,’ and then I’ll take it from there.” I really encourage people to learn the skills themselves, develop the relationships themselves, because these are people that you can go back to time and time again. I have my myself followed editors through their career.
They’ll leave one magazine and go to the other. That’s fine. I can still reach out to people at the first magazine and say, “Hey, I was previously published there. I would love to write for you again.” And I can say, “Hey, congratulations on your new gig. Would love to be able to work with you in your new position.” You’re developing relationships. You’re following people over time. Those are things that no one can ever take away from you. That’s one of the really big benefits.
I’m really glad you pointed that out, because that was huge when I was launching my career locally as a portrait artist, is I did develop the relationship with someone who did a column in the local paper, in the arts section. My husband used to tease me, “Oh, Deborah Banerjee, she’s your personal press secretary.” Because once I had her email and that relationship, she was ready to go. And sometimes even in a group show, then when she would see me, she would find me for the quote.
I always got featured. It’s not a because I had the best art. It’s not because I was bribing her, although sometimes I would send her note cards with my art on it. I don’t know if that’s frowned upon or not. But anyway. I would do things like that, but I had a relationship with her. When she left, then it was up to me. I had to form new relationships with her replacement.
But that’s the other thing that’s really super good about focusing local is these are people who, well, when COVID is over, you’re going to see at the gym. You might see at pick up at school. These are people in your community who you can form a stronger relationship with.
Even more than that, like until we get to the gym, these are people who are talking about you when you’re not in the room or when you’re not together. They’re telling their other editor friends about you. They’re telling their other TV friends or their other friends in the media are saying, “Hey, do you know anybody who does X, Y, and Z?” And they’re saying, “Oh yeah, really great conversation with so and so, or so and so has pitched me a couple of times.”
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to obtaining this knowledge for yourself, and I don’t want to forget to say this, is that no one can tell your story better than you can. Nobody can sell your product better than you can. Nobody knows your creative insights better than you do. Yes, it can be great, and I have absolutely supported people in this fashion to have somebody else do the work for you, but you know your story best.
And you’re going to be able to talk yourself up the best. Take bold action and put yourself out there to the media.
I just want to thank Lynya for being here today. We’ve learned so much from you, and we are so grateful. Thank you for spending the time with us.
So wonderful. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it, Miriam.
Finally, to wrap this all up, don’t forget. If you liked what we talked about here today and you want to get more exposure for your art, you have to check out my free list top 20 magazines and blogs for artists. To get that, 100% free, go to schulmanart.com/media. We’ll make sure that we’ve included everything we talked about in the show notes, which is 170. Schulmanart.com/170. If you love the show, make sure that you’re subscribed.
You can do that in your podcast app. In Apple Podcasts or iTunes, you hit the plus sign. Other podcast apps, hit the follow button. And if you’re feeling extra generous, I would love a review from you wherever you’re listening. All right, my friend, thank you so much for being with me here today. I’ll see you same time, same place next week. Stay inspired.
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