For publicists representing the Hollywood starlet of the moment or the popular downtown hang, there is perhaps nothing more important than a prime placement in “Page Six,” the New York Post‘s long running gossip column.
In a mediabistro.com “So, What Do You Do” interview from May 2009, editor Richard Johnson [pictured right] talked about working with PR, specifically, ‘Liar’s Corner,’ where he takes publicists to task when he catches them in a lie. “It’s so annoying because if you do a story and you hadn’t called them, they’d complain like crazy — ‘How dare you run that without calling!’ Then we called and you lied to us, so they can’t have it both ways,” he said.
When it comes to vetting what makes it in and what doesn’t, Johnson said, “You have to make the calculation with every story if it’s worth it now that somebody else has already done it, or if we can push it forward. I don’t want to fill my column with stuff that’s already on the Internet.”
But for the junior publicists out there, or for those who aren’t already representing a “bold faced name,” what are some tricks to getting Page Six ink?
“I think the most important tip is to make sure you are able to tie your item in with something that is immediately relevant,” says Alyson Campbell, founder of AMP3 Public Relations. “For example: I was representing a nightclub and the cast of Grey’s Anatomy showed up after hours. Now, typically, something like this might make it in as a “sighting,” but what tipped it over to being an “item,” was the fact that the Season Finale of Grey’s had just aired that night to a reported 22 million viewers and T.R. Knight showed up with his hair dyed blue. So Grey’s was very much in the press that week and it made it more immediately relevant to the reading public.”
Here are Campbell’s top five tips on how to get your item into Page Six.
1. Be realistic, is your item really Page Six-worthy?
2. If so, how is your item relevant? Tie it in to a scandal or hot topic of some sort that is currently taking place.
3. Clearly identify in your subject line if this is an “Item,” a “Sighting,” or a “We Hear…”: the three types of bits they run in Page Six daily.
4. Keep your pitch short, exciting and concise, including at least one boldface name, and be sure to pitch the news to Page Six exclusively. I like to send in my gossip tips in ‘headline speak,’ using the same tone that they use to write their one-liner items.
5. Make sure all sources and spokespeople are going to be readily accessible, in the event of fact checking or requests for comment, as turnaround on Page Six is very quick.