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Paul Krupin’s Trash Proof Marketing and Publicity Blog

The Blood, Sweat and Tears for Getting Publicity

I’m a publicist who works with lots of authors. I don’t view getting publicity for them different. I treat them the same. The best publicity for sales is galvanizing feature story and interviews. They should have both human interest and be educational. Book reviews sell far fewer books.

This comes from information I give to my clients It was developed to educate them and help them get into the right state of mind to do effective publicity campaign work. The title is:

The Blood, Sweat and Tears for Getting Publicity

To me, getting publicity is like making candy – it’s a tasty recipe backed by art and science, psychology, and specific tactics that come into play. It’s a persuasive communications process that one has to go through. It has a very narrow set of requirements that many people simply do not understand.

The blood sweat and tears of getting publicity is always in the writing of the news release. It contains your pitch. The news release is the crucial document that you create and transmit to media. Then you watch and wait to see what happens. It’s a very important document. Your pitch is basically a proposal. A publishing proposal.

When it’s successful, it can be real magic, like lightning in a bottle.

Phenomenal things can really happen. Careers and fortunes can be created. Millions of people can potentially see your message and be influenced by your writing and thinking.

But if it’s not, very little will happen, in fact, it can be a painful economic and pride felt loss.

The hardest part that I find is that people don’t realize that getting publicity is not like marketing.

When you market, you try to persuade tosell product or services.

When you seek publicity you are talking to a publisher or a producer and asking them to publish what you wrote, or write about what you say or do.

When you write a news release you are in effect you are communicating a very specific message:

‘esteemed and honored fellow publisher (or producer or host), please give me
space in your publication (or on your show).’

This distinctive purpose of this message is one of the most difficult things I have to teach and get people to understand when I work with clients. Many an otherwise brilliant and successful author, marketer and promoter has great difficulty with this concept. Basically they write an ad and expect
media to publish it. They are terribly surprised and hurt when it gets rejected. In fact, their failure at this point often times results in them ceasing the whole writing and creative or business development process. How tragic to come so far and then stop over the failure to be successful at
this point.

So heed the words of this publicist, and I truly believe if you grok this deeply, you’ll reduce the pain you go through as you learn what it takes to get publicity. It will make both our lives a lot easier. You’ll create better more newsworthy information, it will take less time to write a good news release, you’ll get more publicity when you do send it out, and I’ll get to spend more time fishing.

So here goes. I’ll share with you what I know.

First, understand that media are generally averse to giving anyone free advertising. They charge for advertising. That’s how they make their money.

So if when you write a news release and are perceived as asking for free advertising, for a commercial enterprise, the likely outcome is a call or email from the sales advertising manager at the media. So please do not be surprised if and when this happens.

Second, media only publish three basic things:


That’s it. There is no more, except for the paid advertising that is.

Don’t believe me? Look at any media publication. Look at a newspaper, look at a magazine. Identify what you see. Do this article by article. Analyze the media. Learn and try to grasp what they do. Pick up any publication and classify every inch of space into one of these four classifications: news, entertainment, education, or paid advertising. Prove it to yourself.

Do you get this yet?

And realize that if you want to be published, this is what you need to give the media people you are pitching to and be quick about it.

Part 2

Now there’s a special psychology you need to really get down about what you are doing when you pitch to a media person.

The real key is to give media what they want. The hard part is in figuring out what that is. It’s crucial to remember we are writing to a publisher and asking for them to publish something about our topic, featuring us. BTW, if you do a good job on the news release, you’ll get some media responses even if you use the free services. But you’ll get greater penetration and quantity and quality response with services that send to custom targeted media lists matched to the message.

There are lots of issues that enter into a media decision to respond to a news release favorably: content, timeliness, quality of thinking, how many people in the audience will be interested, what’s in it for the audience, cost and effort needed to use it, prior and competing coverage of the topic,
downstream issues, and the likely audience response.

These are among the many factors that go through an editor’s or a producer’s mind. You find this out when you speak to them, and also when you watch what they select, and of course, by what they publish every day. In fact, this is the greatest source of guidance you can find, and it’s available to you everyday.

What I find is that very simply, if they see what they like, they use it. They may not use all of it, and they may change it, but it gets some coverage if it fits their readership and editorial needs. Media people make decisions based on how it will likely affect their bottom line, which is revenue based on subscriptions, advertising, and market share.

To you and me, it’s a gauntlet of sorts, and we try our best to learn, create appropriate material, present it as best we can, and act persuasively.

Once you understand this psychology and positioning, then you can get to work, and it’s really not that hard.

So how do you decide what do you put into a news release so that you maximize your publishing success?

Here are the basics.

Do you want to see your media response improve dramatically? Send a news release that pushes the media’s hot buttons. I’ve developed a little set of criteria from having sent out thousands of news releases for clients over the past two decades, and the common set of factors that produce the maximum success.

Here’s what you need to do:

Tell me story (a short, bed time story), give me a local news angle (of interest to my particular audience), hit me in the pocket book (make me or save me money), teach me something I didn’t know before (educate me), amaze me or astound me (like in WOW!), make my stomach churn (in horror or fear), or turn me on (yes, sex sizzles).

Your news release needs to do this in 30 seconds or less.

Let’s look at it again from a slightly different perspective.

I’ve studied what the media actually publish for decades now and I believe you can boil it all down to one simple formula. Look at almost every article in USA Today or any other newspaper or magazine or any TV show and try to identify the common key elements that pop out at you. You’ll see it immediately once I tell it to you.

Here it is:


These letters stand for “Dramatic Personal Achievement in the Face of Adversity plus a little Humor.”

If you look at almost every media around you, from the front page of USA Today to the Olympics to the evening news to the sitcoms on TV, you’ll see this is what the American public wants, desires, and craves.


As a culture, we crave to see the human spirit triumph in matters of the heart, and in trials of hardship and tragedy. We ask to be uplifted right out of the humdrum of our everyday reality into the exhilaration and extreme emotional states of those who are living life on the edge.

It galvanizes our attention. It rivets us to our seats. It captures our attention and our hearts.

It drives us to pay for newspaper subscriptions, to movie theaters for entertainment, to rent videos for fun or education, to bookstores for a good read. This is what energizes and drives the very core of numerous key economic systems and is what creates and maintains the very infrastructure
of the publishing, news, and entertainment industries.

And this is what the media seeks to provide. This is what works. Human interest stores with


You will see these elements everywhere you look in varying degrees. It is a rare media feature that doesn’t contain most of these items. The media uses technology to increase the assault on our senses, enhance the effect, and make our experience ever more compelling and memorable.

And if you are writing a news release to get publicity for yourself or for a client, what you have to do to maximize your chances is recognize this desire and need, and then cater to it as best you can.

If you want to put your best foot forward and take a crack at writing a news release that does this, here is what I suggest:

For any particular publicity project you have in mind, study your target publications (the ones you really want to be in), identify articles that you want to achieve similar success, review prior and existing media coverage of your subject, and then make a list of the top ten things (ideas and actions) that you can write or talk about.

You can use News Search Engines (e.g., Google News) to evaluate media coverage of your topic and to identify articles that you can use as models. Then you can actually put pen to paper.

My 3 I technique is really useful at this point. Identify your success story, Imitate What You See, Innovate with your own information.

Just remember – you need to hit people’s hot buttons and galvanize attention. To do this you need to focus on developing some very special ideas.

One of the most successful types of news releases to use is the problem solving tips article or advice article or entertainment article.

Pretend that you are going to speak to 20 people and you wanted to inspire, motivate and impress the hell out of them, but only had exactly three minutes.

What are the very best eight to ten pieces of advice would you give them?

You must identify the topic that will interest the maximum number of people.

You must also then present the very best advice or analysis and recommendations, best stories, best insights, or best humor you are capable of to address the problem or the subject you identified. These must be ideas or actions they can take or implement that will produce highly desirable benefits in their life right now.

The reason is that these ideas are just like candy. Candy produces such pleasurable sensations that it results in chemical memory. People always remember where they got good candy. And that’s what you need to make. Good intellectual property candy.

The goal here is to galvanize them into action, so that when you are done, they jump up and open their wallets, and hand you their business card, and say “call me, I need your services”.

It is not just to sell your book. It is to sell people on YOU. You are the candy. It is professional branding at it’s best that we seek here, so that people are so enamored with you that they buy everything you have available for sale.

So if you’ve done your homework, and studied what your target media are publishing, you’ll see that this is what is being published day in day out in media of all types.

It is also a pathway that you can probably follow pretty easily if you set your mind to it.

So think about this relatively easy assignment and then start writing. If you do this, I’d like to see what you create. You can send it to me anytime and I’ll be happy to give you comments and recommendations on what to do with it to help you get to where you want to be.

Just remember this: If you give the media what they really want, they’ll give you what you want – free publicity.

Is this really it? The Miracle of the Microcosm

One of the Yahoo Self Publishing Group members posted two really important questions… about how to do targeted PR:

1) HOW do you find those people?
2) WHAT comprises that irresistible message?

I do this for a living for clients in all sorts of genres and industries. Here goes:

1) How do you find the right people?

First identify your target audience. Who are they? What do they do? How do they buy products like yours? When and how? Where do they get their recommendations? Research and identify what they read, watch and listen to particularly when they are most receptive to a product or service suggestion. You can focus on reaching individuals or utilizing media because of the credibility and audiences they can reach for you. Here’s a checklist of prime media:

Daily and weekly newspapers
Magazine & Trade Publications
News services & syndicates
Radio and TV stations, shows & networks

Then you have the online media:

News Web Sites
Online Version
Mailing Lists
Discussion groups
Audio Podcasts/Photo/Video Sharing Sites
Social Networking Sites

While you want to assemble a list of newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV programs, news services, syndicates, and Internet media that will help you reach your target audience, bear in mind that these aren’t the only places that people congregate. Here’s a list of non-media venues you ought to consider:

Interest Groups
Support Groups
Trade shows/conferences

Since I’m a publicist, I use a licensed media database called Cision to do this and I create custom lists for client outreach efforts.

But you can scratch the surface yourself using the Internet and make use News Search Engines and searchable free online media directories to search by key word to identify articles and media that you want to contact and pitch your own articles to. You can use the specialized search tools at Facebook, Twitter, and other MEDIA” just as easily and you can develop pitches that are properly formatted and designed to be appropriate for those technologies. The challenge will be reaching enough of them and being persuasive with them so you get your message published in enough places.


I write a lot of blog posts on this. I call this the miracle of the microcosm.

You need to learn how to turn people on so that they come to you for more of what you are offering.

Perhaps the simplest and most powerful suggestion I can you suggest to you is that you use The 3 I Technique

a. Identify a Success Story
b. Imitate the Success Story
c. Innovate with Your Own Information

This is a technique I recommend you experiment with. You can do this with any type of marketing communications. It basically focuses you on identifying a model of success and mimicking it as you create your own message. The idea is simple – follow in the footsteps of someone who is doing things that are successful.

You can use Google news for example on the word “troubleshooting tips” which I did for you here:

There are over 1,000 articles for you to study. Some are news releases, some are articles in newspapers and others are article in magazines and trade publications. Now your goal is to pick ONE! Find one about someone else, that is really interesting and motivates you the way you want to motivate others. This is your model success story.

Then open up your word processing program and start writing. Look at their headline, and then write your own. Then do their first sentence, then write your own. Then do their first paragraph, and write your own. You walk your way all the way through the article to the last sentence.

You may find this to be very mechanical, but guess what, it works. If for example, you use a story in USA Today as your model, and you use this technique, then you create an article that matches readership interest and editorial style on the first try. It looks like it belongs there.

And when you send it to USA Today, you maximize your chances of being successful with them because they tend to recognize when you’ve done your homework. And if it’s good enough for USA Today, then other media will respond to it as well.

Identify the successes of your competition or the authors in your genre. Study what they use to be successful and follow in their footsteps. If you are a story teller, tell stories. If you are a horror writer, scare and horrify people. If you write sci-fi, then talk about the future. Give people and experience. Engage them and let them experience something that is truly emotionally engaging. Don’t be boring. Be stimulating. Choose what you say carefully. Plan it out, test it, select and rehearse, like an actor or an actress on stage.

What you do is you talk about the ideas and concepts in your book and how it affects others. People are really only interested in things that have value to their own lives or others that they care about. That is what you must offer. I have a little poetic like formula which I wrote which describes what you need to do which goes like this:

Tell me a story
give me a local news angle (my audience!)
touch my heart (make me laugh or cry)
teach me something new
astound or amaze me,
make my stomach churn with horror or fear,
hit me in my pocketbook
or turn me on.

And do this as many times as you can in two to three minutes.

If you study your target media and employ the 3-I technique, you will see that news coverage is largely predictable. Consumers and editors are drawn to types of stories that have worked well in the past. If you want to receive coverage, it’s important that you get familiar with these content patterns and do your best to replicate them.

The reason is simple: media publish what sells. To be in media you have to give them what they publish. Therefore to maximize your chances, you give it to them their way.

Now I’ve been doing this with clients for years and I’ve characterized the many patterns and ways media publish. The following list of most commonly featured content is derived from analyzing successful media coverage of my clients in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV:

1. A dramatic personal story that describes achievement in the face of adversity plus a little humor.

2. A problem-solving-tips article on a timely topic that shows how you can help the people that you can help the most.

3. An innovative product or service that people want because of the remarkable benefits offered.

4. A dramatic and interesting photograph that tells a 1,000-word story at a glance.

5. A new development or situation that affects lots of people in a unique way.

6. A personal battle between the forces of good and evil, or David and Goliath.

7. A truly heartwarming tale with a happy or remarkable ending.

8. New effective techniques or tactics to improving a problem or situation that is commonly faced.

9. New form of creativity that makes people feel good or experience heightened emotions.

10. A story that makes people cringe in fear, howl with delight, or experience intense desire or want.

11. An explanation of a mystery that confounds a lot of people.

12. News, analysis, and commentary on a controversial issue or topic.

13. Localized stories and media access to the local people involved.

14. Innovative and new ways to have fun, save money, help people, increase their enjoyment, protect the environment, and help them get more out of life.

15. Unusual, hot, and wacky ideas, products, activities, and situations.

16. Mouthwatering recipes, food, culinary delights, or opportunities.

17. Educational, unusual, hard-to-believe, never-before-revealed, or fascinating news, data, information, or stories.

18. Record-breaking achievements, competitions, paradoxes, dilemmas, anything that confounds the human spirit.

19. Knowledge, ideas, or information that astounds, enlightens, and inspires people to experience new feelings.

20. Remarkable little things people may not know about, that will make their dreams come true.

This is the way to make use of the miracle of the microcosm. These are weapons of mass persuasion, in part because readers and viewers know the arc of these pieces by heart. This familiarity soothes them and allows them to concentrate on the particulars of your story.

This is how you first develop and prove what you can say that turns people on and gets them to take the action you want, and then use technology as a force multiplier to repeat the message and reproduce the action you want in quantity.

If you follow my advice, please send me what you create. I’d love to see it.

Hope this helps,

Paul J. Krupin, Direct Contact PR

Paying for Book Reviews – Are the Book Reviewer Sites Operating in Compliance with FTC Truth in Advertising Disclosure Requirements?

Paying for Book Reviews - Are the Book Reviewer Sites Operating in Compliance with FTC Truth in Advertising Disclosure Requirements?

I am participating in some heated discussion on LinkedIn regarding whether authors should pay for book reviews. Some of the owners and participants of book publishing review sites are touting how valuable the pay for review services are to authors. I openly disagree with their ideas and statements.

On December 3, 2014, Daniel Leffert posted an article on The Indie’s Guide to Paid Publishing.

I am a former attorney turned publicist who is very much opposed to seeing authors pay for reviews.

I respectfully wish to point out that according to the FTC regulations, if some one (e.g., any of the above companies identified) is paying reviewers and then posting those reviews to a review website for anyone to see, then each post is required to contain an appropriate disclosure.

Do you any of the businesses cited above abide by these requirements? I clicked on the book reviews. I don’t see very many clean and open disclosures.

You can read the regulations yourself here:

or use this sniplink:

Here’s the summary of one of the more interesting examples of FTC enforcement taken in 2012, that illustrates the expectations of the federal government:

The FTC also alleged that Spokeo deceptively posted endorsements of their service on news and technology websites and blogs, portraying the endorsements as independent when in reality they were created by Spokeo’s own employees.

The settlement fine is $800,000.

Here’s the link to this one:

Now people may think that the manner in which companies as like Blue Ink, Kirkus, Self-Publishing Review and other companies who offer paid review services self-police themselves is sufficient, but the regs and policy guidance clearly indicates that if each paid review isn’t disclosed sufficiently so that the viewing public knows of the fee arrangement, then they are very likely subject to legal action.

The Federal Trade Commission operates a complaint line too. Anyone can notify them of a situation and ask them to take action to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.

Here is the link to the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant:

People can also call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,700 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Hope this helps.

Getting More Publicity – The 3 I Technique Video

So many people struggle when they pitch media for coverage. They really don’t understand what media want and need.

The 3 I Technique makes it very easy to select the best topic and then nail it on the first try.

And with news search engines to aid you it doesn’t matter where you are are at all. You just search on your keywords to identify the most recent media coverage.

Then you use the 3 I Technique and design a proposal for media coverage that matches readership interest and editorial style. Push the conversation forward in a new direction carefully and strategically.

When do you stop marketing?

Never, unless you have one and now two books that are so good they sell by themselves.

Promoting book one evolves into promoting the brand. And the brand is you. Part of every day must be dedicated to reaching out and communicating meaningfully to the people you are seeking to help, or entertain, or work with.

With every breath, you do your best to leave a trail of intellectual candy that taste so good, that after a few bites, people decide they need to have the whole bag.

Posted in Uncategorized

Unique is Not Good enough

What authors need to do to achieve success

Unique is not good enough.

What an author needs to achieve success might include one or more of the following:

Uncommonly and relentlessly helpful
Superbly crafted
Pure Gold
True Stand Out
Exceeds All Expectations
Red Hot Imagination
Rich treat
Catapults You Beyond
Brilliantly Plotted
Perfectly Paced
Fiercely poetic
Lush exquisitely detailed
Page turning
Vivid eloquence
Shocking clarity
Rich and intricate
Deeply satisfying
Surprising revelations
Masterful journey

Getting your articles syndicated is challenging but worth it

Getting your articles syndicated is challenging but worth it

I’ve worked on syndication strategies for a number of authors with the designed intent on increasing newspaper and magazine coverage as a means to achieving the platform and name recognition necessary to command a spot at major syndicates like Creators. It’s very difficult to be successful unless you commit to growing your devoted fan base audience and network over a long period of time. The competition is cutthroat. The demands are incredible.

The plan very simply, you create a pitch that offers a formatted ready for publication column designed for cut and paste utilization and you pitch it out there to your target media with four or five additional installments.

You tell the media, try it for free, and if you like it (e.g., the feedback they get helps them sell more subscriptions), then maybe they will buy what you offer on a regular basis. You must be prepared to sell each column cheap $1 to $5 a week for newspapers) and you raise your prices to whatever your market can handle. So $5 a week from each of 100 newspapers is $500 a week. 200 newspapers is $1000 a week. Sounds easy? It’s not.

We have been only semi-successful at this for most people who have tried it. Media actually tell us, “why should we pay you when we have so many people offering to do this for free?” The answer has to be “Quality and Sales” and you have to prove it quick and keep on proving it or they stop paying you.

Sometimes, we pitch single articles and get offered a regular column. Does it pay enough to justify the effort? It depends. Can you syndicate from a single position? Yes. Look at Dave Barry. His humor posts from the Miami Herald were syndicated nationwide.

Can you write something that turns people on like Dave Barry does? Prove it.

Of course, nowadays there are content mills out there that will take contributions from *anyone* who wants to give away content. It helps them grow, but the benefits to the author are often very low, even non-existent. Even a regular contributor position on the famed Huffington Post doesn’t automatically mean that much any more.

The ROI of course really depends on the person and whether the writing produces the interest and conversion to sales. People with expensive or multiple books, products or services income streams have an easier time achieving a break even plus. The ROI (return on investment) and ROTI (return on time invested), is worth it when you make more money off very few sales.

You have to test and pitch and improve and test and pitch again and again and again and again. You don’t just write in a vacuum. You develop, test, deploy, analyze and improve.

My simple acronym for this process is this: CACA

C – Create

A – Ask

C – Create again

A – Ask again

Your objective is to keep on placing things before YOUR people so they can decide to participate, play or purchase. But just realize that this is hard to do. Think about it! When was the last time you read the newspaper, and went and grabbed your credit card.

Few authors realize that creating the book is only the beginning. To be successful they have to find satisfaction in connecting with people again and again till they get enough action to pay for their investment in the work they created. It’s not just mechanics and technology. It’s not just fine art or excellence in creative writing.

There’s persistent, dedicated systematic communication outreach that has to drive people to action.

Success often lives or dies with the close monitoring of the one-to one relationship developed between the author and his or her audience. That is where the author must determine “what did I do and say that turned you on?”

Learn this and you can use the incredible array of media technologies.

Fail to learn this and nothing happens.

Just remember triumph is TRI with UMPH added.

Self Publishing Companies – The Best and the Worst

Search Word Pro - One Page Click Sheet- Self-Publishing Companies Pros and Cons

Search Word Pro – One Page Click Sheet- Self-Publishing Companies Pros and Cons

My new Search Word Pro ebooks are specially designed to help you get the best information marketing available at Google, Bing, SlideShare, YouTube and Pinterest and more. The sole purpose is to help help you discover tactical and actionable guidance to improve your knowledge, capabilities, to make your business grow.

Find the search words you want answers to. Click on an icon link and the desired search results open up. Start reviewing the results.

Search Word Pro – One Page Click Sheet- Self-Publishing Companies Pros and Cons

or sniplink

Read what people are saying carefully. Look before you leap. Study what other people are doing and saying. Identify actions you can take to improve what you are doing in your own marketing effort! Tiny changes can have a significant impact on your income.


Search Word Pro One Pager on Evaluating Self-Publishing Companies

Search Word Pro One Pager on Evaluating Self-Publishing Companies

Many of you know I am getting ready to publish a new ebook series called Search Word Pro – they help people find the best information available on the Internet. You can see the technology in action here. This is a one page pdf file on “Evaluating Self-Publishing Companies”.

The results are there for all to see. The articles and links are very educational and some of the videos are very entertaining. One piece of advice for all who ponder using any self-publishing company — read the fine print. Know what you are signing up to. Look before you leap.

Here’s the link: “Search Word Pro One Pager on Evaluating Self-Publishing Companies”

or snip:

I welcome feedback and questions.

Why media say no and what to do about it

Why media say no and what to do about it

There are four primary reasons why media say no.

Media are publishers (or producers) who make their living off of two income streams: subscriptions and advertising. Every decision they make is tied to maintaining or improving these income streams, or protecting them from damage. When they receive a pitch they tend to need to see answers to three key questions:

1. How many people in my audience are going to be interested in this;

2. what’s the value to my audience; and

3. what will it cost me to do my job (time, resources, camera crews, lawyers, whatever).

The answers to 1 & 2 have to be A LOT of People and A LOT of value. The answer to 3. has to be VERY LITTLE (as in cut and paste, or we’ll come to you).

If you don’t meet these requirements, the answer is usually no.

If you get close, then you have to give them more information or the answer stays no.

The fourth issue is this: Running the article or feature or interview must also not result in really pissing off any of the existing major league advertisers. Media will not run an article if it will threaten their existing income streams.

What do you do?

Evaluate existing media coverage and design your pitch to meet readership interests and editorial style.

Make sure you won’t run afoul of the key advertisers.