Some authors find it difficult to call the media to promote their books. Many of us are either introverted, working full-time or, quite frankly, we don’t like to feel like we’re either bothering someone or asking for something. I like to think of it as human nature getting in the way of our book promotion goals.
If you are not a PR professional, then you have two choices to obtain your piece of the PR pie for your book:
• Compete with PR professionals using traditional methods to cultivate media contacts and develop excellent follow up skills, or
• Use technology and under the radar tactics to accomplish both
A Word of Caution
Regardless of which technique you chose to use, you still need to have something of interest to offer the media. Just having written a book may be okay to get some courtesy coverage in your local newspaper, however, unless you are a celebrity or controversial, it will not produce your desired results. You need to spend time upfront determining what you can offer that the media will want to share with their readers, listeners or viewers.
One suggestion is to become an expert on a niche topic that is associated with your book’s theme. For example, if you’ve written a novel about how your main character faced or overcame a particular hardship or illness, you can offer quality information that will help others who are experiencing the same challenges.
Create a content-rich Website that provides valuable information about your niche topic and use your book for credibility. Essentially, do not promote your book – promote yourself as an expert and published author on your niche topic. This approach will attract the media’s attention and your expertise will help you to sell more books, as well as help others.
How to Effectively Use Technology to Accomplish Your Book Marketing and PR Goals
To say that media professionals are inundated with telephone calls and email messages is an understatement. To be effective in this era of information overload, you need to develop both “proactive” and “passive” campaigns. The proactive component is directly contacting the media, while the passive component is having your content-rich Website place in the “Top Ten” of the major search engines. When reporters and producers are searching for information on your niche topic, they need to be able to find your Website.
Under the Radar PR Tactics
When you conduct your PR campaign, you need to use a “rifle,” as well as a “shotgun” to achieve better results. For example, posting your press release on-line or paying to have it mass distributed can produce disappointing results unless you write it for good search engine placement and follow up with the editors and producers that you have contacted.
The PR “Shotgun” Approach
1. Write a Keyword-Rich Media Release
Incorporate one major keyword phrase and two – three secondary related keyword phrases into your release. This helps to ensure that the search engines index it and give your release a good ranking.
2. Post Your Release to the Free Press Release Distribution Websites
Make your release available to reporters and producers by posting it to the free press release distribution Websites including:
PR Web – http://www.prweb.com
MediaSyndicate – http://www.mediasyndicate.com
Free-News-Release – http://www.free-news-release.com
Press Release Spider – http://www.pressreleasespider.com
3. Sign Up for Google Alerts
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, blogs and groups). By entering your keyword phrases and e-mail address, Google will forward links to the posted items. This will act as your clipping service – http://www.google.com/alerts?hl=en – Include your name as one of the keyword phrases.
The PR “Rifle” Approach – Research – Email – FAX – Leave Message after Hours – Email Again
If you want to get through the information overload, this tactic will get your release noticed without initially having to talk to a reporter.
1. Research Media Contacts
Create a list of specific media contacts that are interested in your niche – including their email addresses, telephone and fax numbers. For an excellent US media research tool, go to: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/media
2. E-mail Your Release
E-mail your media release to each contact. Do not mass mail to your list. Address each contact by name and ensure correct spelling. Have a “catchy” subject line and stress the benefits you are offering their readers, listeners and viewers within the release. To test your release, contact the first five and measure your results. If the response is poor or non-existent, review your release to determine if it is written to stimulate interest. Then send it to the next five, and so on.
2. FAX Your Release
The following day, FAX the release to each editor with the following message preceding the actual release. “Yesterday, date, I e-mailed you the following media release. The subject line is _____________ and my e-mail address is ___________. As I know you are inundated with e-mails, and the SPAM filters can also play a role, I wanted to ensure that you received it. If you did not and would like me to resend an electronic version so you do not have to retype it, please let me know.”
Faxing a copy is a great follow up reminder and provides them with a hard copy version in addition to the electronic version.
3. Call and Leave a Message after Hours
Then, in the later evening or early morning, call and leave a voice message when you know they are not in the office. The message can be as follows:
“Ms. ______, This is _______. I wanted to follow up with you concerning my media release. (Describe your content and why her readers will love it). In addition to e-mailing it on (Date), I also faxed it to you. My phone number is _________. If you have any questions or need more information, please call or e-mail me. Again, my phone number is ___________.”
4. Follow Up E-mail
Then wait two days and follow up again by e-mail.
Subject line: Follow up: Your release title.
How are you?
I am following up to see if you are planning to use my release on_______. I feel that your readers will benefit_______________ (State benefits, solutions, etc.)
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Name / Phone number / Media Kit URL
With this technique, you are productively making several media contacts in less time and “surrounding” them with your release to ensure that they read it. You are also creating a content-rich Website that the media can find in the search engines.
When the media does express interest, remember to be professional, friendly and get them to like you.
V. Michael Santoro is creator of the Authorpreneur Program which helps authors turn their book’s theme into an online niche business. His Website provides original Internet book marketing information http://www.proauthors.com Subscribe to his free e-zine and receive a powerful PDF Creation software program and training program for FREE.