When you cut through all of the (self-imposed) clutter surrounding Julia Allison—the oversharing, the wacko pictures, the grandiose self-fascination—what you get, fundamentally, is someone who really knows how to get publicity. Today PRWeek (my old employer) interviews Julia on her PR strategy, and you might be surprised to discover she is way more savvy than 90% of the "new media" specialists actually employed in the PR industry. The guiding principle that has taken her this far: "I think that saying yes to things is smarter than saying no to things." See, Julia has actually prospered (in a publicity sense, okay?) by not following the advice of PR agencies:
For instance, one PR company that I met with advised me not to give any more interviews after the Wired piece came out. They said, ‘Your reputation is atrocious and the only way to redeem is to stop talking to the press.' That just didn't ring true to me. I thought, ‘Yes, I'd made some mistakes, and talking to Gawker at certain points has been not smart.' But ultimately, I think that saying yes to things is smarter than saying no to things. But it depends on what you want to achieve obviously.
Most PR agencies want to keep their clients from looking ridiculous, which would entail Julia not doing what Julia does. But her wisdom—which paid advisers fail to grasp—is that, in this wild world, the microfame-to-macrofame road is not supposed to be smooth; it just needs to be 51% positive:
The best way to handle bad press is to overwhelm it with other press. If you try to refute, and think that's an effective way for that to go away, it's not. All it will do is increase that particular angle in your Google search. The only way to deal with is to keep on going and take in other press for good things. I wouldn't have the Wired cover if it wasn't for Gawker, but Gawker has also closed a lot of doors for me. But if someone wants to be a well-known writer, I can't say that I'd recommend that strategy.