Interviews and Publicity – Do They Bring Fame and Fortune?
I was recently interviewed about my domain name business, and although doing any interview is always exciting, what made this one different is that it was my first video interview. You can view it at DomainSherpa.
This was my first time ever using Skype or any video chat type software, and I have only ever used a webcam once or twice just to play around with it. It took me a few hours to get it all working correctly, due to USB conflicts (my keyboard and mouse stopped working when I hooked up the webcam), audio quality problems (I did not think the audio quality was good for the mic that was built into the webcam, so I tried 3 other microphones until I found one that was better), and trying to get the webcam positioned correctly (I put it on top of a stack of books in front of my monitor, but getting the height/distance/angle correct took some work). So, my only practice was a few minutes of Skyping with Michael before the interview started. Once I got the hang of it though, it was fun.
Previous interviews I did were always by email or by phone. Some were for newspapers, some were business sites/blogs, and a few were for radio stations. Most were about specific sites I owned. Either the newspaper or radio station wanted to feature my site because it was interesting, or they wanted my expert opinion about something relating to a story they were working on. I was quoted in the Wall Street Journal about backmasking (the hidden words you hear if you play certain songs backwards), I gave my opinion about the the slang term “pimping” (like as in “pimp my car”) for a Florida Newspaper article about the controversy over a local church using that term in the title of one of their sermons (Pimp My Life), and I was on a panel of experts about fads. All of this was because I owned big sites about these topics.
The funny thing is that I was not really an expert on any of these things. A typical Internet business owner has one site, and they spend all their time running it. They also usually started the site because they have an interest in the topic. But, I have over 200 sites (at one point I had over 400), the vast majority of which I am not an expert in, and many times don’t even care that much about the topic. I just create sites I think will be popular (i.e make money). I do learn a lot by running a site, so in many ways I am much more of an expert than the average person when it comes to things like Internet slang and playing songs backwards, but I really am nowhere near the level of somebody who cares about and has a passion for that kind of thing.
Another type of publicity I sometimes receive is when my sites get mentioned in the press. I have had sites featured in large media outlets such as Entrepreneur Magazine, USA Today, Popular Science, The London Times, Inc. Magazine, Readers Digest, National Public Radio (NPR), and TV shows such as Extra and TechTV.
The interesting thing is that none of this publicity has ever resulted in any significant amount of extra traffic to my sites. Many times there is a good traffic spike for a few days, but then it all dies down after that. There is no lasting traffic, and one media mention does not lead to many more, and nothing ever went viral.
I don’t have a PR firm doing work for me and make no effort to try to get publicity on my own, so these are just my own experiences and may not be what happens with most other Internet companies. Some businesses/products/sites get a little press as a start and then ride the wave of publicity all the way to an appearance on Oprah, raking in the cash.
I still love getting press for my sites and business, and it certainly can’t hurt (unless I say something stupid), but personally I would rather grow my business by creating new sites and buying and selling domains, then spend my time trying to get publicity than hoping it will lead to something big.