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Want to be attractive to the media? Include a MEDIA ROOM on your website!

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Now that we’ve discussed how to write a news release and what goes into a media kit, it’s time to build a room to house them. A media room is not an actual room, but the virtual space (usually on your website) where you aggregate all of the things that would be interesting and useful to any sort of journalist, blogger, or author who might be using your website to learn more about you. After your home page, this is the spot where you want your website to shine!

What kinds of things belong in your media room? High resolution photos, your bio, your book cover blurbs, reviews, links to any interviews you have done, and the like. Now don’t worry if you don’t really have all of those things collected. You’ve got to start somewhere, so begin with what you do have, and add the other items as the PR campaign for your book grows.

What are the benefits of a media room?

Rather than having to navigate all over your site, all of your media materials are collected into one space, making them easy for a reporter to find, and saving them precious time either looking or calling you.

A media room can also bolster your SEO, giving you a place to constantly update your site with relevant new content.

You can either host and manage this on your own site, or pay a third-party company like PR Newswire to do it for you. While a third-party site might be slightly more professional looking, you’ll have more immediate access and control if you (or your webmaster) do it yourself.

What should go into a good media room?

High Resolution Photos

  • A good head shot, first and foremost.
  • Preferably one of you by yourself (not holding Fido, a fishing reel, or at your laptop, unless your book is about dog training, fishing, or Internet marketing)
  • You want to be smiling (or with a pleasant look).
  • It should be against a neutral background (no nature shots).
  • Make sure your eyes are open – not tiny slits, as so much of your personality shines through your eyes.
  • Even if you HATE all your pictures, you need to get this picture taken, both for the book itself and for your media room. You needn’t hire a professional photographer, just someone who can capture a friendly shot, chest up or head only.
  • Your book cover (front and back)
  • Any other relevant images.
  • Make sure all of these photos are good quality and high resolution (300 dpi) so that they will reproduce well in print.

Your Media Kit

Granted, your media kit will contain a lot of what is included in the media room, but it will be a shorter version that you update less frequently.

Media Releases

Include PDFs of any media releases you (or your PR team) have written about your book, your launch parties and book signings, events you’ve attended, etc.

Videos

Include links to any videos you have created about your book, like your book trailer. Third-party videos, such as interviews, probably go in a different location within the media room.

Articles and Interviews

This is a collection of any third-party coverage you have received, including articles, radio and TV interviews, podcasts, online chats, etc. The easiest thing is to use links to the sites where they are hosted – but make sure to check periodically to be certain the links remain live. There’s nothing worse than having a reporter be interested in learning more, only to find your links don’t work.

Reviews

Much like the articles, this is a collection of reviews you have received – but you want to set them apart specifically as REVIEWs. Whether they were in print publications, online publications, blogs, or other places, include links to each of them, placing the most current at the top of the list.

Awards and Endorsements

This media room is your chance to toot your own horn – LOUDLY! Include all awards, endorsements, and acknowledgements that in any way further your establishment as a credible author. For instance, should you mention your award as Home Room Assistant of the Year at your child’s school? Absolutely – if your book is about parental involvement in their children’s education!

Catalogue Page/Listing

If you have a traditional publisher, chances are good that your book was included in their print or online catalogue. Include a PDF of the printed page that contains info about your book, or a link to the online version.

Bio and Credentials

Include a brief bio of yourself that you would want to see reprinted in an article. It should be short, but thorough enough to give a radio interviewer sufficient information to introduce you properly.

Schedule of Coming Events

If you’ve got readings, book signings, and or workshops booked, include a list of those in your media room.

Personal Contact Info

Make it easy for visitors to get in touch with you! Include your name, e-mail address, social media handles, business mailing address, and business phone number.

For a look at an author with a good start on a media room, please visit AmaraCharles.com.

MARCIE

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Please contact us if you’d like help putting together your media kit, media releases, or book proposal. Free 30-minute consultation when you mention this post ($99 value).

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

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PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, September 15 – 10 creative alternate uses for media releases

Monday, September 12 – Get your MEDIA RELEASE to the right person in a timely fashion for a better chance of response

Thursday, September 8 A dynamic MEDIA KIT can help you land those coveted interviews

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The secret to contacting a company may lie in their MEDIA ROOM.

It’s no secret that I love the Internet. I remember the days of searching the World Book Encyclopedia for info or begging my dad to take me to the library so I could do research for my term papers. When I worked at the Arizona Daily Star newspaper library in the pre-Internet days, we used to get queries from the public on all kinds of random topics:

  • How do you spell “Schwarzenegger”?
  • Is Anthony Quinn really Greek?
  • What was Mariel and Margaux Hemingway’s relationship to Ernest?
  • What are the words to “Auld Lang Syne”?
  • What are the names of the seven dwarfs?

Can you even imagine calling a newspaper library – or a library of any kind – to ask a question like that? In 2011, it seems ludicrous, but just 20 short years ago, it was actually a good idea. The #1 reason people use the Internet today is to search for information. All kinds of things, from job listings to the name of artist who wrote that song, to movie times, biographies of artists, both famous and obscure, reviews of smart phones and hundreds of thousands of other products, the number of calories burned during given activities, fast food menus, home remedies for burns, what to do when your cat keeps bringing dead birds into the house … the kinds of information you can find online are just about endless.

One excellent use for the Web is to do research on people or businesses with whom you want to connect. With the myriad social media platforms, people are slightly easier to research. Any smart, reputable company has a decent website with all manner of information about it. However, the one thing you may not be able to find on a company’s website is contact information for a particular individual, such as the PR or media relations person. Quite often, the email address available is one of those infernal info@ addresses that might occasionally be read by an intern and whose likelihood of being answered is unfortunately slim.

Say you’ve compiled an anthology of stories and witticisms from quilters of a bygone era, and you’re trying to make contact with a store like Hobby Lobby or Joanne ETC to pitch book signings and events in your area. How do you get around the gatekeeper or find contact info for a real person?

One idea is to find the company’s media room on their website. Posted there, you’re likely to find media releases the company has issued about its own news and events. And within that media release, you will likely find a nugget of gold: contact info for the company’s media relations person, usually a name, phone number, and e-mail address.

Now before you go contacting this individual, make sure you do your homework.

  • If you will make a phone call, rehearse your pitch ahead of time.
  • Be prepared to leave a message and, in the perhaps unlikely event that the person answers their phone, also be ready to speak to them live.
  • If you will send an e-mail, double check your spelling – especially of the contact person’s name!
  • Be brief and to the point in your pitch/query.
  • Make sure to position your pitch in terms of how hosting your event or working with you will benefit the company.

Realize there are NO guarantees that this person will respond to your first query. Or your follow-up query, for that matter.You might also think about tapping into your social media network, particularly LinkedIn, to attempt to find another real name inside the company to whom you can reach out.

It took Greg Godek, author of 1,001 Ways to Be Romantic, more than 10 tries before he got through to Oprah and eventually became a guest on her show. If he can succeed with the queen of all media, YOU can succeed at getting through to the right person in a national chain of craft supply stores. Be creative, be thoughtful, be direct, and be succinct. Most importantly, be determined.

Happy pitching!

Laura

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Please contact us if you’d like help putting together your media kit, media releases, or book proposal. Free 30-minute consultation when you mention this post ($99 value).

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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