Direct Contact PR, Internet media faxgrowth




 
amateurfetishist.com

asking questions

Quick advice for experts and professionals on how to maximize publicity and media coverage

Quick advice for experts and professionals on how to maximize publicity and media coverage

You are a natural problem solver filled with good advice.

This is the core approach you need to take when branding and promoting. You simply need to decide to help the people you can help the most, with each and every bit of outreach that you do.

Select the biggest upcoming problem that’s on the horizon and then solve it, offering an article and interviews.

This is what will carry you forward and propel media coverage. It will also carry your books, products and services along with it.

Make sure that the content you offer is like candy. It tastes so good that people want the whole bag.

Bet you can’t eat one!

Go beyond the book!

What do you place into a news release?

If you want to improve your publicity go beyond the book. You don’t have to just write about the book. You don’t even have to quote from the book.

In fact, to get great publicity you really need to put the book down and simply do what you are best at.

Tell me new stories.

Give me news that I’ve never heard before.

Educate me.

Entertain me.

Make me smile. Make me laugh. Make me hungry. Make me cry. Make me afraid. Make me experience something inside. Make me angry. make me sad.

Help me.

Advise me with superb insight that makes people turn their heads and listen and realize that you are handing them a gift.

Take the mystery out of a new problem that wasn’t on everyone’s radar screen when you wrote the book.

Dazzle me with new material and fresh photos.

Make me want to do something different.

Make me so interested in you I go home and look you up and even try to call you and make an appointment to see you.

Getting book reviews can be hard even with a really good book

Getting book reviews can be hard even with a really good book

Client had me send out a news release for a crime fiction mystery novel. The news release was transmitted on Feb 16 and produced 50 requests for review copies in four days.

It’s now April (three months later) and he has received exactly three reviews. Those reviews were all quite favorable.

But the client wonders, “is that all there will be?” He wrote “I originally thought by sending out the press releases, that all I had to do was to wait for those who solicited a copy of my book to read it, then they would do a review.”

It was not hard getting the book review media interested. 50 requests for review copies off of a single emailed news release for a fiction book is really quite good.

So why the low coverage? Why the lukewarm response from the book reviewers?

Is it the book? Maybe. It’s a relatively thick book, 426 pages, clearly self published, limited national distribution. Author is Canadian resident. Cover could be improved.

Is three reviews good or should there be more? There may yet be more to come, but three out of 50 is six percent, and that may be a very good reflection of what the media sees as the relative number of people who will be interested in this genre. It may be a very good reflection of the perceived interest in the marketplace.

Buit this is pure armchair speculation. You need hard data to make business decisions.

So what can you do?

You can call the media who received the review copies and ask them for feedback.

It may be that they simply haven’t gotten to it yet. They are busy people with their own lives, businesses and priorities.

It may also be that once the book reviewers actually see the book, they simply decide “this is not right for my audience”.

But without calling to ask them and see if they will be frank and give an honest and objective appraisal, this is pure speculation.

Call and ask. But be prepared for some hard to accept feedback.

People may not like your book.

They may resent you asking for this feedback.

They may not give you what you are asking.

You may not like what they say.

So if you do call media and ask them, be prepared.

Are you tough enough?

Book Publicity for Fiction Writers

22 Questions for Fiction Writers to Answer and Use to Get More Book Publicity

One core set of quality content that’s entertaining, educational and sheds light on your personality and the unique things you bring to your writing and the value it has for people all make for a good recipe for author success with the media.

What can you talk about that’s interesting and invites people to learn more about you and your book?

1. Describe your book in 50 words or less:

2. How did your book come about?

3. Can you tell us about the story and a bit about the main characters?

4. What has been your experience with (the subject of your book)

5. How does it relate to what happens in your story?

6. What are some of the rules or prejudices you’d like to see changed about (your subject)?

7. How did you do your background research?

8. Where do you research information for your books?

9. How has the community responded to your work?

10. How did your work on this get started? Where do your characters come from?

11. What can you say about (aspect of writing) and what it plays in your work?

12. What do you find to be most exciting about (name the issue)?

13. How did you get your start in writing? What, if anything, lit the “spark” to get you started and keep you motivated?

14. What are you currently working on?

15. What are your favorite and least favorite things about being a writer?

16. What do you do in your spare time, when you aren’t writing?

17. What was the last book you read and would you recommend it?

18. How have the books you’ve read influenced the books you write?

19. What do you do when you’re having writer’s block to “shake” it off?

20. Have you ever had to overcome real tragedy or hardship in your life?

21. What makes a good (type of book, e.g., thriller?)

22. What do you enjoy more, writing or discovering other people’s work?

If you write 50 to 100 word answers to these questions you can then offer them to media as a news release, feature story content about your book, an email questionnaire for bloggers, interview article, and Q & A’s for a radio or TV talk shopw interview.

Actions to help people will get you more publicity

Best professional branding publicity comes from problem solving tips articles and advice

This is one of the most common suggestions I have for people who seek publicity.

Help the people you can help the most.

When you write a news release the best professional branding will come when you ask media to publish something that helps people and show them you can really do it well.

You can’t do this by simply talking about a subject. Too much talk and discussion and passive explanation and you will lose attention. Text dense prose lacks direct tangible, immediate effect. There’s no way to achieve or experience real results right now. So if this is what you place in a news release, you are likely to fail.

You need to shrink wrap the dialog and explanation. You also can’t preach.

What you do instead is simply define a problem and then tell people with that problem exactly what to do to make progress solving that problem.

Action pack your article and dialog from now on with the specific ways to take action that produces a predictable result, contribution, effect or impact.

Let’s just say you were a romance expert and you wrote a book about romance and intimacy. Now to get publicity you want to propose an article or interview talking points that improve intmacy between people. Well there are five types of intimacy you identify. Intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual, physical.

If you offer up two ways each that’s ten. Three ways each that’s fifteen actions.

Take all your ideas and turned them into carefully organized specific set of actions. You need to offer actions designed to produce specific feelings and sensations and experiences that create intimacy.

This does not necessarily need to come out of your book if it wasn’t done this way. When you seek publicity you are free to go outside your book and simply focus on being expert at the subject matter of your book. So go a head and be free. Grow new ideas out of what you wrote in your book.

In fact, now that your book is published your new goal is to turn people on wherever you go and offering entertaining, educational, and galvanizing suggestions in the form of actions can make a truly great and memorable impression.

So no matter what you’ve written, try to learn to speak this way (action focused) from now on when you talk to and present to media and your public.

People don’t want to hear platitudes of just how they should think. They want to be told what to do that produces the results you are telling them to achieve. Your book explains. In your PR and interviews you have to offer things that are more immediate. This is work book time. Your PR are the recipes for action.

People will not remember the why or the how come. They will remember only specific things you tell them to do, that THEY LEARN REALLY WORK. If they experience even a glimmer of success then they will remember and attribute it to you. This is what you need to achieve for AND with them. Give them the actual steps to real success. Then they will trust you and buy everything you have available in every way you make it available.

The fact that what you now offer up goes beyond your book does not matter as long as you can own the words here and make these your own. We can leave the words in the book behind. You can talk beyond the book and help the people you can help the most by giving them what they need and what the most, which is to be told what to do. Right now.Now we have to learn how we (YOU) can talk and present (in person, in interviews and in media articles) so that we (YOU) really turn people on and HELP THEM.

That’s what PR does.

Free Book Publicity Podcast – Are News Releases Effective for Marketing Your Book?

Are News Releases Effective for Marketing Your Book? You betcha!

On November 19th, 2009 I had a wonderful time being interviewed for Authors Access with Victor R. Volkman and Irene Watson about whether Press Releases are still revelant to marketing and promoting books.

We covered a wide-range of talking points, including:

* So What Exactly Is A News Release?

* Why Is This So Hard To Do? What Makes This So Special?

* So What Exactly Do Media People Look For When They Receive A News Release?

* So What Do You Need To Do To Write A News Release That Really Works & Truly Gets Media Attention?

* How do you know when you’re ready?

* What Specifically Should Authors Do To Create This Galvanizing Candy ­This Magic Script.

* What is the Magic Formula (DPAA+H)? (“Dramatic Personal Achievement in the face of Adversity, plus a little Humor”)

* Which Are Better For Authors To Aim At – Book Reviews Or Feature Stories & Why?

* How do you know when you achieve success with a news release?

* So once you have a trash proof news release, what do you do with it

Download the free Authors Access podcast interview free at:

http://authorsaccess.com/archives/164
A pdf file that summarizes all the talking points is also available here:

Are News Releases Effective for Marketing Your Book? http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/arepressreleasesaneffectiveway.pdf

The Trash Proof News Releases is available as a free ebook at Smashwords:

Trash Proof News Releases

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/5921

If you write what you think is a trash proof news release, send it to me and I’ll send you my extra two bits!

Paul@DirectContactPR.com

The Key to Success is to Really Do Something

Action plan for turning passive reading into active maximum enjoyment

Read a book. To get from passive knowledge to active maximum enjoyment and real tangible benefits you need to do more than just read.

Take notes while you read. Underline ideas that you like. Highlight the things you’d like to make happen.

After reading, review the notes.

Think about each and every underlined passage.

Now think, actively dream and visualize about how you can use the idea.

Now write down what you want and need to do to apply the idea to your life, business, career, project or whatever.

Then identify the tasks you need to perform to make this idea happen.

Now create a schedule to do the tasks.

Now implement that schedule and take the first action on your list of task.

Keep going.

Five key metrics for evaluating publicity outreach effectiveness

Five key metrics for evaluating publicity outreach effectiveness

Most people are fully satisfied with the publicity results only when the “reach, persuade and move-to-desired-action” process produces sufficient visible actions on the part of those people you wish to influence. However, it may take several weeks or even months for this to occur.

There are five key measurement points you should use to determine your level of satisfaction with the effectiveness of your publicity efforts.

1. The first point is when you transmit the release. Do you feel like the costs of performing the publicity outreach are reasonable? Do you feel like the service has been responsive to your needs?

2. The second point is immediately after the release is distributed and you can identify the number and quality of the media responses to your news release.

3. The third point is when articles are actually published or when your interviews have been conducted.

4. The fourth point is when you determine whether enough of the right people respond to your message.

5. The fifth and final point is sometime later still, when you are finally able to somehow determine the overall benefits of your outreach effort and experience. It is only now you can truly ask “Was it worth it?”

At each of these points you should ask yourself: “What is really happening here?” Real data should be collected objectively and evaluated without prejudice. The actual numbers of tangible events can be tallied. The actual costs can be surmised. Only then can you ask yourself “How do you feel and why?”

It is crucial that you recognize the importance of measuring the value of publicity in clear financial terms at each step in this process. However, you must realize that this will not be easy to do.

On one time publicity efforts, you might be able to break even financially on step four within a few weeks of sending out a news release, especially if the release goes to newspapers, radio and TV. But with magazines and trade publications that require longer lead times, it may take seven to ten months to reach steps 4 and 5.

You may also need to continue to maintain your publicity outreach, say on a month-by-month basis. If you do not break even on a news release, what should you do? Stop or continue? Do you use the same publicity materials and media list or change them?

The answers depend on your specific goals, and your specific finances. Some publicity goals are financial and some are not. You may have the resources and commitment to go for a long distance. You may not.

You might not want money as your goal. You may simply be seeking publicity. You may simply want to get the word out for the purpose of informing and educating the public to a serious and important issue. You may need a specific type and quantity of media coverage to achieve this goal.

But if you are in business, you are far more likely to be solely interested in enhancing the bottom line. You are seeking to use publicity as a means to achieving sales. To you publicity is an essential part of your marketing plan and you very simply seek a positive return on investment.

If that is the case, every dollar counts and you must document and tabulate your sales and expenses.

Being bumped by the media – what do you do when this happens to you?

Tactics for responding to media when interview is postponed by other news

One of my clients just shared his experience of being bumped by a big media for a TV interview.

This does happen people some of the time. The question is ‘what do you do when it happens to you?’

You can strategize and come up with actions and ideas to best position yourself when it happens if you stand in their shoes and seek to understand what happened to them when they made the decision.

Media are businesses that are best viewed as publishers (in the case of print) or producers (in the case of radio, TV or some other electronic medium) who make their living from two income sources:

1. Paying subscribers
2. Paying advertisers (the number of whom is dependent upon the number of paying subscribers).

Media decisions are almost always made in favor of one proposal for media coverage over another because of the perceived value of the news, entertainment, or education offered and the direct impact it has on these two income sources.

Media evaluate these story by story, day by day, for each income producing media coverage opportunity that they have to offer. There are three key questions they ask:

1. How many people in my audience will be interested in this?
2. What is the value of the information to my audience? and
3. How much time and efforts (or people and money), will I need to invest to create this story?

The pass-fail answers have to be:

1. A lot of people 2. A lot of value and 3. Very little cost

So when something out competes you, you can at least you can empathize (or sympathize) with the media as a fellow publisher!

So the key thing to do is try to be understanding and professional when you follow up and speak to them.

Now this next step is the crucial one.

Never let conversation die. Don’t think that ‘not now’ means ‘not ever’.

The key action is to make another proposal for media coverage. Ask them:

– Can we re-schedule?

– What is the date and time for the interview?

If the planned coverage is based on a current event or issue and the timing or opportunity passes by, then look ahead and create another proposal.

Say

– If we can’t do this show, then how about we do this one instead?

– Can I send you more information and another proposal?

– Would you like to see some Q and A’s on this topic?

Never let the conversation stop. Once you have opened the door to a relationship as a professional guest, entertainer or contributor always offer to send them some additional ideas or information.

In fact, it is a good policy to never let a media person (or in fact any book sale prospect), get away without you making another proposal to send them something more, so you can keep them mentally engaged with you, and ensure they are taking steps towards doing something to help you promote or sell your products or services.

Just remember that these are very important people who hold the key to placing your message and magic words in front of thousands, even millions of people. Think about what they do for a living and give them ideas and answers to help them do their job.

Of course, “the magic words” have to be there. Your media pitch, whether it is in a phone call, a personal email or in a news release, has to offer the media content and value. Your proposal has to turn them and their audience.

That is how you can turn a cancellation, or even a no, into a new interview or feature story opportunity.

Getting Publicity & Making the Most of Book Expo America (BEA)

Tactics for getting publicity and making the most of the Book Expo America (BEA)

Getting Publicity & Making the Most of Book Expo America (BEA)

I won’t be at BEA this year, opting to stay home, work with clients (oh yeah, and go fishing for walleye on the Columbia River).

Many of you may want to hear my personal observations about working with the press at BEA.

If you haven’t already sent out news releases (20 to 30 days in advance), honestly, don’t bother.

Now, if you get an award — either a Ben Franklin or IPPY — you call me immediately but don’t worry, you can relax and enjoy yourself, get home and work on your press release announcement next week after the BEA.

You can read all about getting more publicity with awards here.

Personally, and with all due respect to others might disagree with my opinion here, I’d forget the BEA press room.

One look and you’ll see. It is sort of like a cavern filled with media kits. Files and files of them, alphabetically presented. Filled for journalists to come by and take. It’s only open to journalists, but if you do happen to get in, it will be a shocker and an education to see how the kits are created. Most of them are pretty poorly designed and constructed, and make the same errors and omissions that journalists see all the time.

Oh, once in a while you’ll see a journalist come in and peruse the files, maybe even grab a media kit or two, but not many. The press file room is one of the loneliest places to be at BEA.

In all my years of doing this show, I have never seen or heard a media success story that was based on materials placed in the BEA press room.

If you look at what happens at the end of the show, 99 percent of the stuff is thrown away. Total waste.

Now what is cool is the press meeting room, assuming they have one. Over the years this spot has turned into a haven for the media to escape and be amongst their brethren. There’s free food for journalists. It’s a nice place to be if you can get in, and you can meet lots of cool people there. But you have to have a press badge to get in. There are armed guards at the entrance (no just kidding). But really, normal people (floor walkers and exhibitors) are not usually allowed or invited and doing business (god forbid) within these hallowed halls is not really condoned, except by invitation of a media person. But if you do get in, relax and meet a few good people.

And again, I’ve yet to see anything happen there that was really book publicity related. Journalists hang out, but good luck getting them to give you the time of day and getting a story. Better idea would be to make friends, listen, learn, commiserate, ask questions and think about what you hear.

My advice on the other hand is to look for media by their badges, stop and politely introduce yourself, talk to them, get a business card, give them a business card, and then write to them later, follow up individually. Ask questions and be friendly, but don’t expect anything. They can’t take your book since it’s too heavy to carry. Send them the book and materials later.

This is also wise even if you are an exhibitor.

Now understand, that these folks usually have their own agenda, their own goals, and objectives, their own job to do while they are there. They usually simply don’t and won’t respond at all to publicity seekers or people who see their badge and make a publicity pitch on the floor. In fact, if you pay attention to them you will see that they are tired, they are harried and feel accosted by people.

So be nice, offer them candy and a coffee, or a place to sit and relax. Be friendly and nice and be a human being.

There is one golden opportunity you can keep your eyes open for.

If you do catch a media person at a book doing an interview and taking notes, you can jump in and ask a controversial question or throw out a controversial comment. This is how to garner some quick attention and a quote. But that sound bite had better be good, timely and relevant. You’ve got to be fast on your feet to pull this one off. You can take lessons from Expertising Expert Fern Reiss on this one and turn this opportunity into gold.

But this is rare. Generally speaking, publicity opportunities are few and far between at the BEA.

BEA is all about learning and making contacts. Meet people, study the industry, find out about new technologies and other people’s publications and the companies, study the successful. Get business cards.

My advice is to forget collecting the free books or at least keep it to a tolerable minimum. Stick to books you’ll really want to read or study, or take home and give away to friends or loved ones for fun or to help someone.

Get in line a few times and get some nice celebrity autographed books. It’s fun shaking hands with some of these people.

Don’t break your back — you can always collect a box or two day by day and ship home from the floor, day by day, or from your hotel room.

Instead, collect catalogs, exchange cards, make requests and have people mail them to you. These are worth a lot later as well if you do business with people and want to learn about their companies by studying what they publish later at home

Even if you are an exhibitor, chances are slim that you’ll sell a lot of books or close major deals. It can happen, but mostly you are there to meet people and learn everything you can.

Before you go, if you can, get a hold of Dan Poynter’s tip sheet on how to get the most out of the BEA.

Here are my own suggestions. Make a list of every booth you want to go to.

On day one even before the doors open, and before you walk in, sit down and take at least half an hour to study the show guide, especially the map and learn where everything is located. Identify your “must see” locations with a color high lighter.

Then lay out your trip plans for the time you will be there.

Wear comfortable walking shoes.

Bring two very strong carry bags to collect stuff.

Be the student. Be open minded. Pay attention and think about what you see. Meet people. Learn everything you can. Take notes on cards or in a notebook. Ideas will come to you about what you will like to do with people. Record these ideas. Capture them and specifically identify the action you want to take — what specifically you will want to do (these actions will definitely occur to you as you walk around).

The contact and this action plan is perhaps the most valuable thing you can walk away from your time at BEA.

Follow up when you get home.

That’s how to mine the incredible resources and people that you’ll meet and see at BEA.

Have fun everybody! I’ll miss you. See you next year.