Media Publicity Tips For Artists – Top 10 Ways For Artists to Get Into the News

If you’re uncomfortable tooting your own horn to the public, media coverage is a perfect alternative for you. Understand that journalists, editors and producers need stories to perform their job and fill up space on the air, in print or on their sites. Hand them a promising story idea and they do the rest of the work singing your praises to the world!

Here now are the easiest, most relevant 10 ways for artists – sculptors, painters, photographers, craftspeople, cartoonists and performance artists – to get into the news.

Publicity Hooks for Artists

1. Something new. By definition, “the news” consists of things that are new, and where you as an artist are concerned, this includes an opening, a new installation, publication of a book or article about your art, the fact that you won an award, your venture into a new medium or a new topic area, technical innovation you’ve created with your medium, and so on.

2. Something trendy. I recently read an article once about someone who’d devoted himself to art after taking early retirement from a corporate career. The article said this was a trend. That always makes one person’s story far more interesting to more people and coverable far beyond the local area. Consider demographic, commercial, lifestyle and aesthetic trends and how you fit with those.

3. Something charitable or heartwarming. Have you donated work to the local pet shelter or orchestrated an open studio or demo as a benefit for earthquake relief? If so, tell the media. They love highlighting good works and good will.

4. Something surprising. This means featuring something that the average person doesn’t know, or going against expectations. For instance, here is a headline from a Pennsylvania newspaper: Conshohocken Sculptor Makes his Mark in Butter. Most people don’t think of art being created in a medium like butter. More details please

5. An event. Because an event takes place at a specific date and time, it’s news, while an ongoing or everyday process may not be. Your newsworthy event could be an open studio, auction, lecture or exhibition. Research calendar sections in publications in your area. Submit calendar listings for your events prior to the deadlines, and nine times out of ten, you get at least a listing and sometimes a feature.

6. Visual potential. Some things just cry out for photography or TV coverage – especially when they have movement, color, action or drama. For instance, I once read about an artist who constructed a work indoors and needed specialized equipment to move it out of the building to a gallery. Someone (maybe the artist?) notified the local paper to come photograph the process of maneuvering the work out the doorway.

7. Timely. Can you make your work relevant to what’s happening today or this week? Think about ways to tie what your art is about to a holiday, a milestone or a commemoration. For instance, is your work inspired by Van Gogh? Vincent’s birthday comes around every year on March 30.

8. Controversy. Art often makes the news when it includes borderline or outright obscenity or blasphemy, or when it skewers some sacred cow. However, anything on which people like to take a position pro or con can be controversial. If your art includes any aspect that people might condemn or disagree with, highlight that to the media – and get rewarded with a lively story.

9. Local. The media consider it relevant when something is right here, made here, about here or concerning “one of us.” Use this principle to approach local papers, city/regional magazines and college alumni magazines with your story.

10. Human interest. Amidst all the war, economic gloom and ecological doom, journalists like to sprinkle stories about human challenges and triumphs. The emotions in such stories are things the average person easily identifies with. For example, a sculptor client of mine once won media coverage by sending a colorful postcard or her work to magazine editors with the hand-written message, “Ask me how making these sculptures helped heal me of cancer.”

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