Shannon Fennell's Blog

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Media Relations for Face Painters

As a face painter, body painter and make-up artist it is always great to see photographs of your work in the newspaper or on the local television news.  But it is even nicer when you are mentioned by name.

Local reporters usually attend events in the community where you will be face painting and often use photographs of cute face painted children to illustrate stories covering the event, typically with no mention of who did the painting.

How do you get your name to accompany the photographs?  Make sure that the local media know who you are!  Introduce yourself to them by doing the following:

Compile a list of media contacts – get their names, titles, contact information, email addresses and create a mailing list.  You can find this all on the internet for most media outlets and publications.  Most newspapers, televisions stations, magazines and other publications have websites and they always list all their editorial staff and include email addresses for them so it is quite easy to get this information.  Don’t forget on-line publications too!  E-zines, internet newsletters and local bloggers can be useful resources as well so include their contact information on your list.

Periodically check your list and confirm the information on it – keep it up-to-date as names of staff change regularly at newspapers and television stations.  You want to be as accurate as possible when sending material to them.  Remember, you like it when they get your name right… so it follows they like it when we get theirs correct too!

Create a “press kit” to send to all the media outlets in your area.

A general purpose press kit typically would be a presentation folder that contains:

–          A personal letter of introduction

–          Your biography/resume

–          Services offered

–          Past Client/Event list and upcoming events

–          Photos of your work (suitable for publication with proper releases) in digital form (on a CD)

–          Contact information

–          Some business cards

Make it attractive and professional looking.  Use a good quality presentation folder (the type with the pockets) or have some custom made with your business name and logo.  You can personalize generic folders with full-size printed labels that you attach to the folder cover.

You can also create a digital press kit that can be attached to emails rather than a mailed/hand-delivered version.  This is less expensive as you do not have the cost of the folders and CDs to send out.

You decide which to use – I use a combination of both hard copy and email.

Send out your press kits – address it to the Editor, or to the Entertainment or Living Editor (you can send each of them a kit if you have the resources available) of every newspaper and periodical in your area, as well as to the local television and cable stations.  You can also send them to your local radio stations.  If you are aware of marketing and promotion companies in your area you can also send them a kit too.

The press kits serve the purpose of informing the media about you and your services and also lets potential clients know about you – this is why sending them to marketing and promotion firms is a good thing to do too.

Keep the media informed – when you are doing a high profile event send out a “Press/Media Release”.  Use this release to remind them of your business and where you will be and what you will be doing.  If you have or will be doing something interesting or significant such as attending an international conference, a workshop, won an award, published a book, doing a high profile public event locally, etc. send out a press release.

A press release is usually brief no more than one page, and contains the date, your contact information, a title/headline and a brief summary of the information listing all the key points of interest.  The purpose of the press release is to provide the basic information and catch the attention of the media.  You want them to then contact you for further details to flesh out the story you have provided.

Also, when there is something major happening and you have an “expert” opinion or advice to be given take the opportunity to submit it to the media.  Write a brief article or proposal and submit it to the local newspaper or magazine publisher – an example would be an article on how to paint a game face for the gold medal hockey game using easily obtained supplies, or, where to find safe Halloween make-up locally… give them ideas they can tie into other local interests or businesses.

For certain events or activities you can customize your media kit and include event specific information and photographs and specifically invite them to attend if you feel it important.

If you don’t let the media know about what is happening they can’t report on it.

If you want to be known to the local media it is up to you to be sure that they have your information.  Try to meet them in person, introduce yourself to photographers you see taking photographs at events, give them your card.  If they get to know you personally it is more likely that your name will be mentioned in their articles and photograph captions.

© Shannon Fennell 2009

For more information about marketing and the business of face painting check out my e-book The Business of Face Painting .