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Posts Tagged ‘PR’

Is YOUR book newsworthy?

Continuing our PR theme…

Virtually every author thinks his or her book is fantastic. The reality is that most aren’t – especially (and unfortunately) most self-published books. Authors have great intentions, but they often lack skill and fail to recruit others to fill their gaps. Things like poor spelling, ridiculous grammar mistakes, meandering storylines, absent editing, and amateur cover designs are a handful of the most egregious sins that first-time self-publishing authors commit.

Person read newspaper

That’s not the worst part, though. The worst part is that they so often let their egos get in the way, refusing to even ask for input or advice until they’ve spent boatloads of money and effort, only to find they’ve created a mediocre book. I am a publishing consultant by trade, but I make it a practice not to offer advice unless asked. Many a self-published author has proudly given or shown me a book that I would never recommend, let alone purchase.

This may challenge you a bit, but I’m not willing to sugar-coat things just to make you feel better. That won’t do you any good. Here’s the straight scoop: newsworthy books are good books — usually REALLY good books. Newsworthy books give people — the media, in particular — reasons to talk about them. Newsworthy books won’t sell themselves, but they will lend themselves to word-of-mouth and interviews and retweets.

Here are some questions that may help you discover whether you’ve written a newsworthy book:

NONFICTION BOOKS

  • Is your book the first to point out a trend or raise an issue?
  • Do you have a unique approach for a well-covered subject?
  • Does your book raise thought-provoking questions on an important topic?
  • Does your book offer a behind-the-scenes look at a specific industry, celebrity, organization, or company that would interest the general public?
  • Is your book controversial, extreme, avant-garde, politically incorrect, and/or scandalous?
  • Does your book offer step-by-step instructions to solve a vexing problem?
  • Does your book inspire its readers to make sweeping life changes?
  • Does your book offer commentary on
    and/or a tie-in to an­other popular book/ movie/ TV show?

FICTION BOOKS

  • Is yours just another dog story, or is it about a family of ferrets?
  • Are the main characters rich and powerful, or people everyone can relate to, like a school teacher and a truck driver?
  • Do your characters follow traditional gender roles, or is the school teacher male and the truck driver female?
  • Is your book set in present-day America, or is it set in 1950s Havana, Cuba?
  • Do you write about real places, companies, universities, and religions — or go the safe route and fictionalize everything?
  • Is your book overburdened with lots of explanations, or do you use active verbs and descriptive nouns?
  • Are your characters ones bloggers or journalists will relate to?
  • Does your book inspire its readers to make sweeping life changes?
  • Does your book offer commentary on and/or a tie-in to another popular book/movie/TV show?

If you’re starting to realize that your book is less newsworthy than it could be, maybe it’s time for a rewrite.

Here’s to making your book newsworthy!

Laura (AKA Marcie Brock)

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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? Book your complimentary 20-minute consultation (phone or Skype). Or get my comprehensive book, The Author’s Media Tool Kit today!

602.518.5376 or phxazlaura on Skype

__________________

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Mistakes to avoid when starting a PR campaign

We’ve been spending some time these last couple weeks discussing PR and how to make it work for you.

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

12 tips for a successful PR campaign

Many first-time authors make marketing blunders that cost them sales. While publicity and marketing are different sides of the same coin — getting out the word about your book — the mistakes and successes with each often overlap. If you are a new author about to ignite your first PR campaign, here are a few mistakes to avoid:

  • Waiting too long to start planning your PR campaignoops
  • Embarking on a PR campaign without a plan
  • Lacking the necessary confidence in yourself or your books
  • Having a fear of or aversion to self-promotion
  • Letting your discomfort dissuade you from approaching the media
  • Thinking you can do it all yourself
  • Believing PR isn’t that important
  • Assuming your publisher — if you have one — will do all the heavy PR lifting
  • Thinking too small
  • Failing to budget
  • Assuming it won’t take much work to drum up media interest in your books
  • Thinking that the reasons readers buy a particular book are the same things that make it newsworthy
  • Making one tiny unsuccessful stab at PR and quitting because “It just doesn’t work.”

Here’s to implementing YOUR successful PR campaign!

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? Book your complimentary 20-minute consultation (phone or Skype). Or get my comprehensive book, The Author’s Media Tool Kit today!

602.518.5376 or phxazlaura on Skype

__________________

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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)

__________________

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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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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Internet Radio: Are interview opportunities just waiting for YOU?

(Click twice SLOWLY – not a double-click – to enlarge the image.)

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While a media kit is an important tool for promoting your book and securing media appearances, don’t overlook the smaller opportunities that surround you. One great, inexpensive way to promote your book is by finding Internet radio shows that are thirsty for quality guests.

These generally aren’t elaborate, expensive productions it may be a guy in his home office with a makeshift studio, hosting guests via Skype or telephone. Nevertheless, some of these shows get great traction. And, more importantly, many of them are tailored to incredibly SPECIFIC audiences … perhaps the very same audience as the one you’re seeking for your book. As they are often one-“man”-shops, these small radio hosts may not have the time or interest to slog through a full media kit. In this instance, a well-worded e-mail may be a better idea.

Make sure the subject line is clear and direct, and that your succinct message contains your pitch. Your goal is for them to call you back and book you for their show at the next available opening.

Obvious caveat: If someone ASKS your for your media kit, send the  media kit. Always have your media kit updated and ready to send at a moment’s notice!

You may want to look into the following Internet radio providers with large catalogues of shows:

http://blogtalkradio.com

http://voiceamerica.com

http://wsradio.com

http://alltalkradio.net

Happy pitching!

MARCIE

__________________

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).

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

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, Sept. 22 Rehearse your BOOK PITCH until it rolls off your tongue fluidly

Monday, Sept. 19 Want to be attractive to the media? Include a MEDIA ROOM on your website!

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

Read Full Post »

A LESSON for authors from a trip to the HEALTH FOOD store

The other day I found myself in a local health food store, doing some recon on a potential (non-publishing) client. This vitamin/supplement company is looking for help to refine their brand and marketing message, so I went to the store to see what I could find out about them by the way their products were stocked and displayed. Come to find out, of the dozen+ products the company makes, this store carried only 3 of them – and I had to remind the store manager that one of the 3 was this company’s product. Whew – we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us!

I was fortunate to get a few minutes with the store manager, who reminded me of a few things I want to pass on to you, my fellow SBMs*, because they are quite easily translatable to your books.

  1. A phone call isn’t going to do it. In order to jump the huge hurdle of getting your book into a reputable INDIE shop, you (or someone acting as your rep) have to go to that shop and build a one-on-one relationship. “I get as many as 3 dozen calls a week, asking me if they can send samples or e-mail me a brochure,” Christine, the health food store manager, told me. “They almost never make it to the shelves.”
  2. Customer requests significantly influence the store’s decision to stock a product. If no one ever asks for your book, a bookstore has no incentive to give up valuable shelf space for it. On the other hand, if people regularly call to request your book – and/or go to that shop to purchase it – the store now has a reason to make sure they keep copies on their shelves.
  3. In-store demos are a huge boon for many products. Translate “in-store demos” to “book signings.” Sure, some bookstores charge for that book signing, just as this store charges for the supplement company to set up a table, but if you do it at a high-volume time and promote your visit beforehand, you can attract additional interest in your book.
  4. Use the store’s existing marketing channels. This particular store runs a M-F radio show on a local station; suppliers can purchase commercials or pay to be featured guests on the show. What a great credibility builder! Most indie bookstores have a newsletter – see about getting your signing (or even an ad or review for your book) into their newsletter.
  5. Show good faith by marketing the store as part of your own promotions. How happy would that indie bookshop be to have you put a note at the bottom of each article, blog post, FB announcement, or ad that says, “Available at XYZ Indie Bookstore”? If you promote them, they’re going to be a lot more willing to extend the reciprocal favor to you.

Bookstore sales aren’t for everyone. It takes a LOT of work for an indie publisher to get in, even to an indie bookstore. The Passive Voice blog shares these points about two indie books that succeeded in an indie bookshop:

  • The books were actually good.
  • Both authors were relentless at getting excellent press about their books. They didn’t just get press once, they got it repeatedly.
  • The authors were good about checking in about stock levels. Self-published authors can get a little overly aggressive about checking stock, but with these two books at the holidays, it was enormously helpful.
  • Both authors were very meticulous about record-keeping.

And it is the RAREST of indie authors who make the jump to the last big chain, B&N. However, Barnes & Noble does offer the following tips for getting into their distribution channels:

  1. Does your book have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN)?
  2. Does your book have a bar code?
  3. What sort of binding (saddle stitch, staple, perfect, plastic comb, ring) does your book have?
  4. Is your book available through a wholesaler?
  5. Is your book priced competitively with other titles of a similar topic and quality?
  6. Has your book met compliance certification?
  7. Why should Barnes & Noble place your title on its shelves?
  8. Where can you find more information on the topic of book writing, publishing, and marketing?

While it’s no longer a requirement that your book be in bookstores to sell lots of copies, it is possible for a small/self-published/indie author to succeed in brick-and-mortar shops. If you want to get your book into bookstores, make sure you do your research first. Cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s. Follow the store’s protocol. Whenever possible, walk in and talk to the purchasing manager. Follow up diligently and keep good records.

Remember, your attitude and focus will go a long way toward influencing your success. If you believe you can do it, you will.

Happy promoting!

Laura

*Savvy Book Marketer

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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).

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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10 creative alternate uses for media releases


Click twice (slowly – not a double click) on this image to enlarge.
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We’ve spent the last couple posts talking about media releases. First, we reviewed tips for writing a news release. Then we pointed out the fact that the better written a news release is, the more likely that some (or all) of it will go into a story verbatim. Here’s the thing. While newspapers are continue to crumble around us and social media is forcing traditional media to change and keep up – or die – there’s still a place for these conventional news releases. BUT, there are also much more creative uses for news releases, which is our focus here today.

Here are a few ideas for ways to change up your releases and/or new ways to use them:

  • Send your release straight to your fans/readers/mailing list, either as a standalone post or as an item in your regular newsletter. This will give them a new way to appreciate you, and let them feel like they’re receiving “insider” information.
  • Use the Twitter! Take your standard release and chop it into various sound bites. Stream those out to your Twitter feed (with a link to the full release) over the course of a day or two.
  • Distribute your news release as a Note on your Facebook page. Consider creating a special section on your Facebook page that serves as a catalogue/timeline of your news releases.
  • Write your release and then summarize it in one paragraph. Post the paragraph to your blog or website, with a link and contact details for further info.
  • Go the other direction and hang onto that original 4- to 5-page first draft of your release. Use this as a special report or promo piece about your book that you can send out when people request further information. Or save it as a free download for your membership site.
  • Add interactive elements to the media release with links to videos, MP3s, podcasts, surveys, apps, games, cartoons, or slideshow presentations.
  • Post your release on a news release distribution service. PRWeb.com is a fantastic service the fees are generally worth every penny, but there are also free services that do a decent job as well.
  • Include your most recent media release(s) in your media kit.
  • Read up on other authors’ and publishing companies’ media releases for sources to interview for your blog.
  • Stay on top of others’ releases (at sites like PRWeb, Free Press Release, Online PR News, and PR Newswire) so that you can learn about projects and events in your community (or elsewhere) with natural PR tie-ins for your book.

Two bonus ideas from Brian Solis:

(1)

One option is to write a concise, compelling release as if it was the story you’d want to read in the press. You should also include new media elements, such as integrated resource links, video, images, etc. (and lite social elements such as del.icio.us and Digg). This will enjoy greater success with journalists and readers in general and will most likely cost no more than what you already do today in terms of official wire distribution. Plus, it will carry valuable SEO benefits.

(2)

Another option (or in addition to) releases is to create a dedicated blog-like platform for distributing information in a way that’s designed to reach journalists, bloggers, and customers. Blog platforms, by nature, are already socially-enabled, and feature integrated comments, RSS feeds, social bookmarking, trackbacks, tags, etc. It shouldn’t resemble a press release, nor a traditional blog, but it should provide what’s new in a conversational, informative and resourceful format – with disclosures of course.

The main point here is to get busy writing your releases! And then, use all the creativity you’ve got to distribute them.

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).

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

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.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

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

Monday, September 5 Traditional Labor Day celebrations offer tips for Savvy Book Marketers

Read Full Post »

A well-written media release could be printed AS-IS.

In a recent post, we reviewed tips for writing a news release. Our focus was the traditional use of a news release: getting your information to the media in a succinct, interesting way that will trigger them to follow up with you for a story. In doing some further research, I came across an interesting post by the good folks over at copyblogger. They make an excellent point that I rather neglected: the stronger the writing in the news release, the better a chance it has of going into a blog/publication as-is. No editing; no rewriting.

A great press release is NOT something that prompts a journalist to write an article; rather, a great press release is published AS an article. While that may be an abstraction outside of the most time-strapped of reporters, many times the better your press release, the more of it ends up verbatim in the resulting article.

So stop writing press releases, and start writing news stories.

For good or ill, this is one of the new aspects of modern journalism. Reporters are stretched thin in newsrooms across America, so they’ll sometimes take shortcuts, such as printing a media release verbatim.

I do want to say that this is not always a good thing. A Guardian.co.UK post from 23 February 2011, sheds some light on the above-mentioned practice of printing news releases verbatim, describing it with the unflattering term, “churnalism.”

A new website promises to shine a spotlight on “churnalism” by exposing the extent to which news articles have been directly copied from press releases.

The website, churnalism.com, created by charity the Media Standards Trust, allows readers to paste press releases into a “churn engine”. It then compares the text with a constantly updated database of more than 3m articles. The results, which give articles a “churn rating”, show the percentage of any given article that has been reproduced from publicity material.

[The site] revealed how all media organisations are at times simply republishing, verbatim, material sent to them by marketing companies and campaign groups.

What’s the problem? you ask. It’s in those nine little words: “sent to them by marketing companies and campaign groups.” Think about campaigns, political ones, for example. Do media releases sent on the candidates’ behalves always espouse facts, or does an opinion or two or three sneak into their news releases? Likewise, with a marketing company. Now, I’m on your side – my whole reason for including the post about media releases in the first place was that I believe they are a stellar marketing tool. But I’d be a lot more comfortable knowing the media outlet that was generating an article due to my release was also fact-checking all their third-party information.

That being said, if I were given the choice between having my release run verbatim or not run at all, I’d obviously take the former. So do your homework, fact-check your own material, and write a release you can be proud of. That way, if it does happen that your news release is printed verbatim, as an article, you won’t have any excuses to say, “I was misquoted!”

Happy pitching!

Laura

__________________

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).

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Get your MEDIA RELEASE to the right person in a timely fashion for a better chance of response


Click twice (slowly – not a double click) on this image to enlarge.
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Most self-publishing authors have limited budgets when it comes to marketing and public relations. If you have to choose between spending your dollars on advertising vs. spending them on public relations, PR will get you more bang for your buck every time. The job of a PR firm is to get you face time in the media, whether in the form of an article in the local paper or a spot on a national news program.

QUESTION:  Do you have to hire a PR firm to get your media release noticed?

ANSWER:  It’s a good idea — but it’s not always necessary.

It is possible to have your story picked up from a media 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.

Tips for Crafting a Successful Media Release

(1) Use the term “media release” instead of “press release.” There are many forms of media now — “press” is passé, and some editors are touchy about the term.

(2) Understand that you a media release is addressed to the editor or reporter; do not make the mistake of “writing to” your target audience. Your only goal is to generate enough interest so that a reporter will call you for more information.

(3) When they decide your release merits a story, the story will be directed to your audience.

(4) Write in third person, even if you’re writing about yourself.

(5) Use a quotation from someone connected to your event, award, promotion, even if it’s your own quote.

(6) Keep it short — 300 to 500 words MAX.

(7) Use appropriate style — generally Associated Press style — for your release. If you will be doing a lot of releases, it probably is worth it to invest in a copy of the AP Stylebook.

(8) Many larger publications and news outlets prefer you to include a “Fact Sheet” with your release. This is a bulleted list that contains ALL the details of the information in your release.

For instance:

  • Company name: Moondanz Creative
  • Founded: 2002
  • Owner/Operator: Laura Orsini
  • City of operation: Phoenix
  • Contact info: Laura@1001rlqfw.com
    or (602) 518-5376
  • Name of event: Book signing for 1,001 Real-Life Questions for Women
  • Date of event: October 1, 2011
  • Location of event: Changing Hands Bookstore
  • Description of event: Author discussion and book signing
  • Open to the public? Yes
  • Admission: Free

(9) Find out how the media outlet you’re approaching prefers to receive their releases: in the body of e-mail, as e-mail attachments, or via fax.

(10) If you do send an e-mail, be specific in your Subject Line — perhaps use the headline from your release.

(11) Get it to the proper editor or producer (i.e., don’t send an item about your book, Crafty Cat Lady, to the sports editor).

(12) Allow enough lead time (generally 2 to 4 weeks — but it’s up to you to research this for the particular media outlet you’re contacting).

(13) Do NOT call to “check whether they got your release.” This is almost guaranteed to get your release tossed in the trash. If you want to “pitch” your story to the reporter in person, call ahead to speak to them, and then send the release immediately after speaking with them.

(14) You may, however, call back to “add” further details to your release. All you’ve actually done is hold back some bit of important info from the original release, but when you call, you present it as though it is an added “development.” IF the added info is important enough, and IF you handle it correctly, this can move your release to the top of the pile, or you may be asked to re-send it.

(15) Don’t get discouraged if your story is not picked up on your first try — but keep on trying! There are so many media outlets, and they all need copy! You can provide that with a well-written release about something newsworthy.

(16) Try online sites like PR Web , PR News Wire, and Prudent Press Agency. These are Internet sites for posting media releases that generate great visibility. They have fabulous rankings on the major search engines!

(17) This one seems like it should go without saying — but whenever we say that, it’s because it unfortunately does not go without saying: MAKE SURE YOU INCLUDE YOUR CONTACT INFO, that it is correct, and easy to locate on your release.

(18) Make sure the contact person on your media release is available to talk with the media ― and not on a trek through Nepal at the time you send the release.

(19) Hire a pro to help you craft the perfect media release.

Check back Thursday when we’ll talk about building and stocking your media room. Remember, you don’t need to hire a PR firm to make an impact you just need to create professional documents and then have the willingness and determination to send them out!

MARCIE

__________________

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).

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

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.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

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

Monday, September 5 Traditional Labor Day celebrations offer tips for Savvy Book Marketers

Thursday, September 1 A noteworthy statistic, a question, or both can be the hook that lures a reporter’s attention

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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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A dynamic MEDIA KIT can help you land those coveted interviews

Click twice (slowly – not a double click) on this image to enlarge.
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If one of your PR goals is to get on local, regional, or national TV or radio to promote your book, a media kit is an essential tool. Spend the money and/or take the time to create a high-quality, professional media kit.

Remember how many other authors, performers, and speakers are vying for the same airtime and program directors’ attention. A well-conceived media kit will contain the materials that convey the importance and relevance of your book WITHOUT being unduly long or burdensome for the reader.

Elements that good media kits contain:

  • Table of contents
  • Personalized pitch letter (Send this only if you are mailing the media kit to a specific person.)
  • Author bio
  • Author head shot
  • Image(s) of the front and back covers
  • Q&A (Write out suggested questions for the interviewer with anticipated response times.)
  • Reviews and praise for the book (Do not include questionable or negative reviews.)
  • Media coverage you’ve already received (Include dates and article/show titles – links to the same, if possible.)
  • Media release about the book launch
  • Short excerpt of your book (It may be a good idea to include a sample of your writing but keep it SHORT.)

Here is Page 1 of a sample media kit that is succinct, yet works to land media opportunities:


So what should you DO with your media kit?

  • You can put together your own list from media websites – but this will take some time, and you won’t always get the most accurate info from a website.
  • You can buy a media list – but check the validity of the source first and be prepared to pay, possibly a lot of money.
  • You should add it to the Media Room on your website (more about this in an upcoming post).
  • You should have it ready to send out to anyone who asks for it.

Make sure to check back Monday when we’ll talk about what goes into a well-crafted media/news release. Remember, you don’t need to hire a PR firm to make an impact you just need to create professional documents and then have the willingness and determination to send them out!

MARCIE

__________________

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).

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

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.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Monday, September 5 Traditional Labor Day celebrations offer tips for Savvy Book Marketers

Thursday, September 1 A noteworthy statistic, a question, or both can be the hook that lures a reporter’s attention

Monday, August 29 What’s the HOOK that will lure that reporter, agent, or publisher to READ your book?

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Understanding the important distinction between publicity and PR

We made a point in the last post suggesting your marketing efforts mimic Lady Gaga’s hit song streak that she is a PR machine. Later, it occurred to me that some might think I misspoke, and should have said that Lady Gaga is a publicity machine rather than a PR machine, so I thought it might be helpful to explain the distinction between the two.

According to master marketer Seth Godin, the two are different, and PR is the much more important focus:

Publicity is the act of getting ink. Publicity is getting unpaid media to pay attention, write you up, point to you, run a picture, make a commotion. Sometimes publicity is helpful, and good publicity is always good for your ego.

But it’s not PR.

PR is the strategic crafting of your story. It’s the focused examination of your interactions and tactics and products and pricing that, when combined, determine what and how people talk about you.

And then there are the folks over at CopyBlogger, who make the following very clear distinctions between public relations and publicity:

Public relations implies that you have a public to relate with, and that’s who you are speaking to.

Publicity is something that helps you connect with people who don’t know about you yet, or those who may have heard about you, but are still on the fence.

Given these two expert explanations, it’s clear that Lady Gaga long ago surpassed the need for publicity; she truly has become a PR master.

Here’s a challenge for you

  • How will you craft YOUR story … as an author, as an expert, about the process of writing your book?
  • How do you want people to think and talk about and interact with you? 
  • What are you doing NOW to begin infusing that story into your public’s psyche?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions yet, it’s high time you start working on them!

Share your story … or the beginnings of your story … in the comments section below. We’ll do all we can to move it forward.

Laura

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Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation.

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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