5 Things I Learnt as a Publicist

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Sadly this blog has been neglected as of late and that’s because the only writing I have been doing has been press releases. I took a break from all things journalism to work on the other side, PR.

With my Producer’s hat on I have spent the past few months working as a Publicist for two feature films. While dabbling in PR was a new experience for me, I could not have had a greater learning curve than publicising two films that are worlds apart. Here are at least five things I found out a long the way.

  • Sexy sells

The first film I worked on was a thriller starring popular Australian actors. The second film was a documentary featuring Australian actors. The actors in the documentary had disabilities yet their story was just as compelling, beautifully crafted and rich. Getting mainstream media interested in this was almost impossible. Needless to say I got more hits publicising the thriller.

  • Don’t call me, I’ll call you

Very early on I learnt Journalists don’t need to return your phone calls or even respond to your emails. You’re a Publicist it is your job to chase them, I mean, what else are you going to do?

But as a side note, I just loved the Editor who never returned my calls or emails yet included me in a group email saying they were resigning. They were off to work freelance and if I could keep them in mind if anything comes up. Huh!

  • We need them more than they need us

Before I had even written my press release or pressed send on my email their inbox was already full of what I was selling. Take a number and get in line. Or, as per my previous point, pick up the phone and call them – relentlessly. Even if they do want your story, it is up to you to chase them.

    Mainstream still packs a punch

As my blog has often attested, I believe alternative media is the future. Niche publications can get a message out there to the right audience. However when you are selling something like a feature film, nothing makes an impact more than mainstream media. You need to get out there quick and reach as many eyeballs as you can. Half a million readers or viewers compared to a couple of thousand can make or break you.

  • An unhealthy relationship

In all honesty PR and journalism is like an abusive relationship you just can’t break up from. By the time I finished working as Publicist I resented Journalists. I resented the power they wielded and apathy they treated you with. But I was consoled by the fact that Journalists resent Publicists too. So many I found are tied to their desks, unable to meet actors face to face or even leave their desk to visit a film set. Instead they send out photographers and wait for the free pass to a screening when it is all over. Instead thy are reporting on a world they can’t experience or participate in, that is sad.


While there were some aspects of working as a publicist I really struggled with, I did find the smaller specialized publications and websites the best to work with. They respected what you were doing and appreciated you had taken the time to pitch it right for them.

So at the end of it all, alternative media is still the way to go.

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