The Clackamas Review newspaper published an article in January about PNWS past president Carole Murphy. It was a very favorable article that focused primarily on Murphy’s then-upcoming sculpture classes. It included an attractive photo of the artist, her work, and some of her raw material. After spelling out the details of her class, the reporter, Ellen Spitaleri, went on to fill in some details of Murphy’s background.
It was a well-crafted article designed (and placed) to get people’s attention. Murphy said it led to people getting in touch with her about joining her sculpture class.
Differentiating Ad Space vs. Featured Story Articles
That kind of publicity—publicity that generates the desired result—usually does not come cheap. However, as a rule, one does not pay for editorial placement in a newspaper. So, how did Murphy do that and how can you do it too? To begin, it was not entirely free. Murphy previously placed an ad for her sculpture classes in the Review. It cost about what one would expect for a small display ad in a small-town—but also importantly suburban—newspaper. The ad yielded no results. When the newspaper contacted Murphy later to ask if she wanted to renew the ad, she remarked that it had not motivated any response. The newspaper’s response? “Do you think a story about your class would help?” Well, perhaps not exactly those words, but words to that effect, according to Murphy. They offered her editorial space and a reporter with a camera. Editorial space—more than ad space—implies credibility.
One likely gets a lot more mileage from even a small story than a big ad. Also, small-town papers often operate with something like a sense of family. They often want to help. Main Street goes in both directions in most small towns. Murphy did not elaborate, but she said that she previously had a similar experience. Artists take note.