12 tips for a successful PR campaign
You don’t have to hire a pro to initiate a successful PR campaign, as long as you realize it’s going to take some committed effort on your part. The following is a (partial) checklist of the things you will need if you intend to succeed.
- A goal. Of course your goal is to promote yourself, build your platform, and sell books. But what’s the bigger “Why?”? Will your book change people’s lives? Make them laugh so hard they’ll remember your characters for years? Give you the chance to travel the world? Think beyond the obvious to the larger goal and vision for your PR campaign.
- A plan. This means a calendar with firm dates. It means knowing which media outlets you intend to approach, how you will pitch them, and how often. Begin with the end in mind (your release date is a good place to start) and work your way back from there.
- Lead time. The author who fails is the one who waits until his/her book is ready to go to print before beginning the marketing. You’ll want to begin your PR campaign at least six months prior to your book’s release and launch, including some pre-launch news releases.
- Research. What do you know about your target audience? Who are they? Where do they live? What are their hobbies? Where and how do they buy books? Where do they spend time online? Which blogs do they read? Which magazines do they read? How do they get their news? It’s impossible to craft a successful PR campaign without knowing the answers to these questions, at minimum.
- Great writing. Writing news releases is radically different from writing almost anything else. It’s not necessarily impressive writing, but it’s important that you know how to do it properly. News releases follow a specific format and style (this post should help). Writing your releases may feel clunky and awkward at first, but you will improve with practice.
- Diversity. Plan to approach and utilize a variety of media resources: radio, Internet radio, television, print, social media, bloggers, etc.
- Cash flow. You may not have a big budget, but you may have to put in some cash if you want to run a successful PR campaign, whether it’s buying a list or just having a professional marketing person look over your news releases before you send them out. The less you can (or want) to do yourself, the more money you’ll have to be willing to spend.
- A team. Trying to do it all yourself may seem like a valiant idea, but it’s often a foolish one. Who among your contacts can help you: make connections in the media, review your releases, encourage you when you’re down, help you meet your deadlines, etc.?
- Sticktoativeness. Promoting your book — particularly if it’s your first book — will take time. There’s no magic bullet. It may take a while, but if keep showing up, you’ll get there.
- Flexibility. Life is life, so curve balls will come your way, and not all will go as planned, in spite of your best efforts. Be ready to go with the flow — no melt-downs or losing hope because of a few inevitable hiccups.
- Updates. Chances are that you once you get going, you will need to reevaluate and perhaps adjust your initial plan. Some things will work better than you thought; others will not work at all. Regularly revisit your plan and shift strategies, as necessary.
- Implementation. All the planning in the world won’t help the best strategy in the world get off the ground without implementation. If you’re a great planner, but not a great doer (say you struggle with follow-up, for instance), you’ll want to get someone on your team who will help you execute the plan.
Lastly, remember to celebrate your successes. Take time to enjoy the wins, as they will likely be hard fought and so very sweet. Remember those feelings as you move forward and hit future snags. Above all else, keep moving forward!
Here’s to implementing YOUR successful PR campaign!
Laura (AKA Marcie Brock)
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.
Want to learn lots more about launching a successful media campaign to help you build your author platform? Get my comprehensive book, The Author’s Media Tool Kit today!