Getting Publicity for Your Project
Attracting publicity for your passion project is easier than you think, as long as you know where to start. You’ll be amazed by the number of people who could be positively impacted by your work if they only knew about it.
After spending every waking minute of your free time focused on completing your passion project, you’ve finally reached the finish line. You take a deep breath and, now that you’ve completed this potentially life-changing project, you ask yourself, “Now what?”
Passion projects are often personal labors of love, allowing us creative freedom outside of an otherwise restrictive work or school environment. These projects have the innate power to connect people from all walks of life. But while immersed in their work, creatives can forget it has that power, that it can connect with something larger than themselves.
Have you ever noticed the excitement on a child’s face when they unveil their artwork to a family member? Sharing your work can help you relive that experience.
In May 2017, my wife and I created the #BlindianProject. The #BlindianProject is a crowdsourced project aimed at changing negative narratives around Black and Indian relationships through photography. Just months after launch, it’s been featured by The Better India and other international publications.
Along the way, I’ve picked up a handful of lessons to help you share your project with larger audiences around the world. Here are five of the most important tips.
Research, research, research!
Research is at the heart of every good story. Conducting quality research helps you shape your story, identify trends, and discover journalists and publications who’ve covered your story in some shape or form. Knowledge is power, and research provides you with a foundation to develop a story and a compelling pitch.
Google will be your best friend.
When our project was just an idea, I wanted to test its potential. Coincidentally, just before my family’s trip to India, a friend sent me an AJ+ report about Nigerian students who were attacked in New Delhi because of their skin color. Neither of us realized it at the time, but various publications were reporting on this story and other similar incidents. In journalism, it’s said if something happens three times, it’s a trend. Now I had multiple angles from which to craft my story.
Identify a home for your project
Don’t underestimate the value of a reliable and easy-to-find hub for your creative work. Whether it’s a spot to buy your work, a short biography about the maker, or hi-res photos for publications to use, you want it to be as easy as possible for people to find your project and all the information they need.
Ask yourself what experience you want for your visitors, and weigh the pros and cons - like cost, discoverability, and reliability - of hosting your project on a personal website, blog, Tumblr, or other social media platform when making a decision.
We launched the #BlindianProject on Color Wheel Media’s Instagram, but later moved the project to its own dedicated page on our website. This move ensured the project’s message was consistent and not confused with other stories. And it gave us one easy link to share with supporters across all platforms.
Create a call-to-action
Passion projects resonate when people can see the scope of the project’s impact. Inviting others to join in widens the conversation and injects a colorful dynamic, making the story more relatable. There is strength in numbers!
For the #BlindianProject, we crafted a clear call-to-action for potential participants early. We explained our project, highlighted the reasons we thought this issue was important, and asked others to share positive images of their Blindian families. We received responses from around the globe. On Instagram, one person said, “I always knew my husband and I were not the only Blindian couple, but I’m truly amazed by the number of us!”
Brand your initiative
Every great product has a recognizable name or symbol that makes it unique, and your project is no different. A unique hashtag can be a powerful way to capture the essence of your project. Brainstorm a list of hashtags, then search to see how extensively each one is used. Once you find the one, make it your own.
Collaborating with other artists who complement your work is another great way to brand your project. If you aren’t a visual artist and don’t have access to high-quality images, collaborating with the right artist can help bring your project to life.
We collaborated with Mahesh Shanataram, a Bangalore-based photographer and creator of The African Portraits. Shanataram agreed to let us use his images, and he participated in conversations around the project. The right collaborations can advance everyone’s cause.
Sharing your work with friends and family via social media is always a good way to start, especially if this part of the process isn’t your forte. The key is to build momentum by generating as much activity and conversation as possible. You’ve worked your ass off to complete this project, and you shouldn’t be bashful about sharing something that matters to you.
When you’re sharing your work with others it’s important to be yourself. People are drawn to authenticity, and if they see you as down to earth and approachable, then you’ve won half the battle.
As Steve Jobs said, “One of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there.” So, take a chance. What do you have to lose? Sharing your work with others can be a win-win situation, and you might just change someone’s life, including your own.