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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.

  1. A goal. Of course your goal is to promote yourself, build your platform, and sell books. But PR-microphoneswhat’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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Diversity. Plan to approach and utilize a variety of media resources: radio, Internet radio, television, print, social media, bloggers, etc.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.?
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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)

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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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!

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PR involves telling the STORY of your book and creating RELATIONSHIPS with those who will share it

It’s been a few years since we focused on media releases – and in that time, the “news” has continued to shift. There are fewer papers, more online media outlets – making story of your bookvideo hugely important, and bloggers continue to wield a mighty keyboard. If you’ve written a book, one of your primary goals in marketing it is getting the word out about it. And reaching readers en masse is still an important goal that media releases can help you accomplish.

In order for the media to take an interest in you and your book, you must first learn to craft the story of your book(s) and then give the media a reason to help you tell it. This means you must learn to think like a journalist, editor, program director, or media blogger. What kinds of stories interest them? What kinds of experts do they look to for explanations and background information? How can you help make their hectic jobs easier?

If you want to succeed at getting the media’s attention, you must:

  • Have a book that is promotable.
  • Offer interesting details about your personal background.
  • Radiate confidence, passion, and a winning personality.
  • Be willing to do whatever is necessary to build your platform.
  • Put in the right combination of cash, time, effort, and energy.
  • Exhibit exceptional creativity — or have someone on your team who does.
  • Understand that sometimes luck is a significant factor.

It is possible to generate media coverage through a news release you write yourself. A well written media release, put in front of the right editor or news programmer at the right time, can generate a story — regardless of whether you hire a PR person to write it for you or you write it yourself. Follow THESE tips to write your own release.

A successful PR campaign involves more than just giving away free downloads/chapters/books, tweeting, making videos, or media release blasts. It is about making a persistent, strategic effort to reach the influencers and get the media coverage that will help you grow your platform and build a following of devoted readers.

In order for your media campaign to succeed, you must view it as a conquerable challenge, not an impossible feat. Begin by building relationships with reporters, producers, bloggers, and others in the media and make yourself an invaluable resource to them. Twitter is a great place to begin.

Here’s to getting more eyeballs on your book!

Laura (AKA Marcie Brock)

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________COVER

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!

__________________

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Are you playing Hide & Seek with the people who are trying to connect with you?

I’ve been on a bit of a rant lately about contact information – or lack thereof – because it’s SOOO

How about an old-fashioned phone call?

crucial to your marketing campaigns. Again, it seems so obvious that we shouldn’t have to talk about it, and yet, I see it again and again and again: people neglecting to make themselves easy to connect with.

This all started out with did a post I did a few weeks ago with this piece of advice: Make your blog user friendly by including your e-mail address up front where everyone can see it. Yes, it’s possible that someone would want to contact you directly, via a mechanism other than the comments.

Here are a few other REAL-LIFE examples.

WEBSITE

Most web designers know to include contact info somewhere on the website, but many miss out by making it way too hard to find. The best strategy is to include your contact info visibly, on every page. Please don’t do what I’ve seen so many websites do, which is bury the contact info on a Contact page that is buried on an About page that I’ve got to dig through a menu to find. Remember, you’re in the book business, so make it easy for people to do business with you!

SPEAKER HANDOUTS

I recently attended an event where a speaker did a pretty nice job with a presentation about SEO. She distributed handouts with good information the audience could take home and implement. But nowhere on the handouts did she put any contact information for herself. No phone number. No email address. No Facebook link. Not even her name. Good golly – was that a missed opportunity or what?!

MEDIA RELEASES

I attended a panel discussion a couple years ago where various members of the Phoenix media offered words of advice to the audience about submitting media releases. One reporter said his biggest problem was when the news releases didn’t contain contact information – and all the others on the panel immediately nodded their heads in agreement! Seriously? You’re contacting the media about doing a story or promoting you in some way and you don’t include your contact info? How is that possible?

Of course, today most media releases are done electronically, so at the very least an e-mail address is attached. But if you submit your release as a Word doc or a PDF attachment, make sure your contact info is on it! You can easily imagine these reporters’, editors’, and producers’ inboxes filling up with release after release from people just like you. If they decide to follow up on a particular release, they might just print it and dump the e-mail. If your contact info’s not on the actual release, trust me – they’re not going to go back into their e-mail trash and try to fish it out. They’ll just move on to the next release that does include contact info.

BUSINESS CARDS

OK. I get that we’re inundated with e-mail and some people misbehave when it comes to adding folks to their mailing lists. Unfortunately, handing someone a business card with an email address on it is often construed as tacit acceptance to be added to such a list. That being said, isn’t the whole idea of a business card to make it easy for people to contact you? Again, you’re in the book business, so make it easy for others to do business with you by including all of your contact info, including e-mail and snail mail addresses. Today, this especially means including your social media contacts. Save them the trouble of having to go to your website and hunt down some remote Info@MyBlog.com or Web@MyDomain.org address.

However, you needn’t be the person who lists every form of contact under the sun: Phone. Direct line. Cell. Home. Fax. Home fax. Pager. I’m reminded of Drew Barrymore’s scene in He’s Just Not That Into You when she does the rundown of how our myriad connections play out in dating scenarios.

DO NOT do this with your card!

OK you get the message. Remember why we brand and why we use particular colors or fonts. We want people to remember us. So when they do want to contact you, make it easy for them to reach you!

Happy connecting!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out and register today!

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