March 27th, 2015 by Paul Krupin
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
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.
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.
July 12th, 2013 by Paul Krupin
22 Questions for Writers, Authors, Publishers & Artists to Use to Get More Publicity
22 Questions for Writers, Authors, Publishers & Artists to Use to Get More Publicity
Every author needs 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.
Each of these questions below was selected because they were used in interviews of bestselling authors and talented creative people time and again in publications like the NY Times, USA Today, NPR and PBS. These are the questions that the media ask these people.
The key is to realize that the subjective answer is not really what the media and the public are looking for. They seek to relate and understand how the creator’s experience, perspective and creative work has special meaning to them personally.
So when you answer these questions, seek to give the gift of understanding. Offer people a taste that so powerful they experience something: a laugh, a cringe, a shiver or a chill, or a blinding momentary flash of desire. Create a trail of candy that leads people to the conclusion they want and need the whole bag.
What can you talk about that’s interesting and invites people to learn more about you and your art? Pick out five to seven of the questions below and develop answers of two to three sentences in length. These become the key content you can then use in your news releases and articles and interview Q & A’s for your media outreach.
One important suggestion: don’t go for the low hanging fruit – the easy to answer questions. Go for the questions with information that you’ve learned to use to turn your people on the most – even if the answers are more difficult to develop and are scarier for you to share.
1. Describe your book/product in 50 words or less:
2. How did your book/product 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/product)
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/products ?
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/creativity) 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/art? 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/artist?
16. What do you do in your spare time, when you aren’t writing/creating?
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/create?
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/work, an email questionnaire for bloggers, interview article, and Q & A’s for a radio or TV talk show interview.
Send these to me. I’ll help you turn these into Q & A’s that really turn media and their audiences on.
Free pdf file download:
July 1st, 2013 by Paul Krupin
So many media! What’s a person to do? Who is going to read your news release? How do you close the deal?
Target your media carefully, based the following criteria:
1. What are you trying to achieve with the media? Most people can benefit from feature stories, interviews, and products reviews, in that order. Some people want incoming links along with the content that drives SEO. What do you want?
2. Who can do that for you? Identify the right people by keyword and geography, by beat and area of authority or responsibility.
3. Can you supply them with the content or people they need to do their job directly? Can you send it to them electronically? Can you deliver it by mail? In person? Do they need to send a camera crew? Your chances for success go up if the delivery is fast and if the cost they incur is low. The slower the delivery and the higher the costs, the less likely you are to succeed in doing at needs to be one to get real media coverage.
4. How effectively can you reach them to engage in a meaningful communication about your proposal? Can you reach them directly by email and phone? By fax? By street mail? Only by appointment? Are they well protected by secretaries or administrative assistants? Are you using an online a post and pray news release distribution method where the only chance of being discovered is if someone in your target media trips over you having done a keyword search? Reaching media by phone, email and street mail is the best way to make a direct connection.
Lots of people get all of these wrong.
You can watch your media success improve dramatically when you treat media people with respect by targeting media carefully. Make sure you offer and can deliver:
1. Galvanizing news, education or entertainment that is designed to interest lots of people in the selected media audience
2. Tangible real value. Help the people you can help the most.
3. Easy access to the information, graphics, technology and the people that the media need to do their job the way you want it done, and by covering the travel costs for the delivery if needed.
January 30th, 2013 by Paul Krupin
Targeted Publicity Program for a History Book
A Publish-L list member, wrote:
In November, I published a 400-page (20 in color) hardbound reference book with dust jacket about a particular regiment during the Civil War. It is the first of four books planned about the regiment. It is in pdf format without an ISBN. Although I’ve sold 300 copies locally (at $30 each), I’ve probably exhausted my available client list and would like to be able to offer it online in some format.
What should be my next step?
I’ve worked with a few authors and publishers of history, military, and civil war books so I’ll offer up some strategy and ideas from a book publicity standpoint. At the end I’ll point you in the direction of taking the same outreach communications and aiming at the “interest groups” you can reach directly using a similar but adapted approach. Here goes:
You can seek book reviews in certain media categories, but I believe this is one of those cases where feature stories filled with anecdotes, factual data, interesting information, and photos (hopefully some are available), will enable you to convey some portion of what the books offer so that you can make a truly favorable impression with the best galvanizing content.
There are several ways to target the different pools of media who we have seen respond with interest to books like this. I’m using the online Cision database which covers the US and Canada to provide the following information:
First there is the history media, with two key subcategories, national history and local history. I just created a custom media list and while it is not a big pool of media (770 media in the raw data Cision search but when I take out the empty & duplicate emails there are 646 media left) the people who cover this topic do have avid readers. I saved this list and will send it to you so you can see who is on this list. In the local history category, you will have to hand select media that align with the geography of the book and the people in the regiment.
Second there is the military media. The Cision count shows over 700 media (before cleaning) that cover this topic. There are military history buffs and depending on the stories you tell, you can get different types of military editors interested. There are several military subcategories including military lifestyle, Armed Forces, and other specialized categories. I’d recommend you study how a few of these media do military history feature stories first, and then use my 3 I technique to create a story pitch that looks like it belongs inside your target media.
Third, you can target media geographically and seek local feature stories based on the locations covered in the books, where the events covered by the book took place, and where the families of the people resided at the time.
Fourth, you could offer this out to all the non-fiction and general book reviewers. My latest database count from Cision for the categories of books, book reviews, authors, fiction, non-fiction, literature, and writing identifies over 3,300 media listings (before cleaning)..
Fifth, you could send an interview pitch to the NPR and PBS stations and shows. I’d recommend this go nationwide, but again, I would expect the media in the geographic areas covered to express the most interest, depending on how you spun the stories. To get to the national level, you would need to offer information and insights that have national implications, especially as regards what we see in our lives today, which is a consequence of what you write about. There are about 1,100 NPR radio station media and 800 PBS outlets.
Sixth, if there is ethnic or multicultural element, say the book is about an African American regiment, then you have an additional media pool who will have interest in the topics you write about.
I worked recently on a book by James Cameron, titled Color of War, a book which is based on extensive research and first-hand interviews with veteran white Marines and black Marines and African-American sailors who survived Port Chicago, a historic disaster in WWII. Campbell crafted The Color of War to paint a gripping picture of July 1944, the explosive month that changed the course of history. The Color of War juxtaposes the spirit of the Greatest Generation with the scars of segregation. In June 2012, in a fitting tribute, the black Marines who fought in Saipan will be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their WWII service. President Obama signed legislation to create the nation’s 392nd national park, the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial in Concord, California, to commemorate the explosion and the men who lost their lives at Port Chicago. The PR effort was pretty successful and got coverage in newspapers, magazines, radio and tv both locally in Chicago and nationwide. (I’ll send this news release to you and a few others so you can see what history news releases look like.)
I think the most critical element of your approach to media would be to not simply describe what the book contains. You have to tell entertaining stories that are so good as to intellectually and emotionally engage the audience and capture their imagination and make them relive a piece of the history. If they like the hefty taste you give them enough, then they will want the whole set of books. The news release offers stories and photographs so as to communicate to media both the printable, audio and visual elements of the stories that can be shared so the media can easily imagine what the finished media coverage looks like and sounds like. You’ll have to be willing to let the media publish or use on TV the photos you have available for their feature stories. You might want to be the interviewee but you may also want to see if you can find family member descendants so as to enlarge the pool of people so you can add depth and greater human interest.
The next area to follow along and create a parallel outreach strategy by using Google to identify the clubs, associations, institutions, museums, events, historical societies, and other groups of people who devote considerable time and interest to all the above subject matter areas: history, the civil war, books, military, veterans, and so on. Start locally (e.g., with a search on “civil war history club + your location”) and branch out with sequential searches systematically, city by city, county by county, state by state, and so on, depending on how far you can reasonably travel offering to speak and give talks and lectures.
This will keep you busy for a while!
August 27th, 2012 by Paul Krupin
Paying for Book Reviews and Sponsored Blog Posts
Very interesting article in the NY Times about paying for book reviews.
Paying for Book Reviews http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/business/book-reviewers-for-hire-meet-a-demand-for-online-raves.html?pagewanted=all
The 331 comments are about as entertaining and interesting to read as the article.
I have watched with interest the growing recent pay for reviews phenomenon.
Personally, I don’t like the idea of paying for reviews, but like it or not people do like to read reviews and comments. Hence book reviews have become an item that people are apparently willing to pay for.
The challenge for authors and publishers is to get noticed in the marketplace. The publicity that reviews can supply is one of the ways they seek to achieve recognition.
The media coverage can be about the book, the author, the issues, the comments, the commenters, or the controversy — it’s whatever gets people interested enough so that they buy the book.
In some cases, it’s the book and the content and the quality that produce the interest.
In other cases, the book may not be all that great of a piece of writing, yet the dialog in the marketplace that is sometimes created becomes a self-sustaining wave that by itself generates a desire in society that needs to be satisfied by curiosity. The presence in media, whether it be prime media or online media doesn’t matter if sufficient people are motivated to click and buy, in hard copy or ebook format.
The reviews – good, bad, indifferent, ethically acquired merit-based, or purchased, and hence allegedly tainted by the financial interest, well, it doesn’t matter if it generates sales.
When I send out news releases in the past year, I’ve watched a new growing trend for media, especially bloggers, to come back with a request for sponsored posts – e.g., pay in exchange for coverage. This is a growing phenomenon. I’ve seen it growing in the mommy bloggers, the fashion bloggers, and in the college online services. We see the fees for paid reviews start at $5 a post to $300 for a product review and more. We’ve seen major TV networks charge $300 for a five to ten minute satellite uplink and even seen some “creative” major network TV shows pitch their services and capabilities to create a show back to use with $5,000 fees for a 30 minute interview that gets aired on prime time TV.
Is it worth it? Maybe. For some.
Does it matter that more and more people are seeking to get paid for their time, their effort, and the coverage they provide?
Media coverage has significant perceived value. This is known. We also know that feature stories tend to be more valuable than reviews. But even reviews have value and get read, forwarded, tweeted, and contribute to the search engine placement of owner sites.
There are objective trusted media (Associated Press and the Voice of America). There are media who express certain bias one way or the other (CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX). There are media you can rely on for certain types of coverage and reporting because of their appeal to their dedicated paying audiences (ESPN, Oxygen, O magazine, Cosmopolitan, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Reader’s Digest) and there’s media who simply report the entertaining or outrageous (The Enquirer, The Star) and the tantalizing and sexy (NY Post, Playboy, Penthouse and more). It may be print, electronic, or it may be online.
Coverage is what everyone is after. Some are obviously willing to pay to be there.
There are ethical (non-paying, objective, honest) reviewers and financially conflicted (paying, inherently-biased, allegedly dishonest) reviewers as well.
Some comply with the FTC disclosure requirements, and many don’t.
Obviously, it’s become a buyer beware marketplace. There is no reliable ever present policeman in the marketplace to protect innocent viewers from those who would take their money despite the FTC’s disclosure requirements.
Some of my clients actually have decided to experiment and pay for the coverage. In some cases the posts can be very useful in terms of the SEO value, since they trigger media coverage online and in social media.
The hits, the traffic, links, tweets, and conversation generated downstream can be significant enough to justify the costs.
But there is no way to predict the break even costs or value.
If you have an expensive product or multiple products or streams of income, then it may be in your favor.
If you are a single ebook author, and it is your first time, well, and need to sell a thousand $.99 books just to break even on your investment then it is a risk that YOU have to determine. It may be a role of the dice. You better think twice and enter the marketplace with your eyes open.
In any case, getting the word out there is something you have to try to do if you are going to seek the financial reimbursement of your time and energy. Being systematic, strategic and taking careful action to reduce your risks and maximize your gain, well that is something I highly recommend you do.
Reach out your target audience and turn them on. You can do this by creating a great book or delivering valuable helpful content. You can do this by doing what you do best or by creating controversy and getting other people to talk about you.
There are lots of reasonable strategies that you can use to trigger the interest that results in sales. You just have to create a good workable plan and schedule, get it going, and learn to do the things that work for you.
I’ve written a few more posts about the paying for book reviews issue. If you are interested in reading more, here’s a link:
June 18th, 2012 by Paul Krupin
Magic in a Message! Creating the IrresistIble Pitch
HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY AND DEVELOP THE IRRESISTIBLE PITCH?
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: http://goo.gl/gMO74
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 you 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.
February 10th, 2012 by Paul Krupin
Vince Flynn Interview in USA Today
One of the best tactics I recommend to people is that they create Google News Alerts on their favorite authors and study the media coverage they get. That’s how I discovered this one.
If you write thrillers (or even if you don’t) you cannot afford to miss this incredible interview with author Vince Flynn in the Feb 6 USA Today book section.
His advice to writers is great and from a PR perspective, I feel that his performance in the interview was excellent. It’s worth studying a master at work. He’s written 13 best sellers.
Here is one of the best examples about how to be educational, engaging and galvanizing I’ve seen by any author.
The interview is three minutes and forty-five seconds. I not only learned something, but was truly impressed with his knowledge, personality, depth of conviction and his enthusiasm for what he is doing.
He was asked three questions, and he spent one to two minutes more or less, answering each question.
I was tickled to see how he handled a question from the USA Today interviewer, that he apparently had never been asked before – “What is it about your stories that brings the reader in?”
For those of you who have worked with me, I challenge you with this very same question “what do you do that turns people on?” whenever we seek get media coverage whether it is for a review, a feature story, or an interview.
His answer and what he says about successful writing is worth studying carefully.
This is a great example for aspiring authors, not only about how to write a good book, but how to do an excellent media interview.
It worked, too. I went to Costco and bought the book Kill Shot.
January 14th, 2012 by Paul Krupin
Getting the media (and everyone else...) to pay attention and get interested
One of the participants in the Independent Authors Guild list on Yahoo said:
> There is one question that I think all indi authors have asked themselves. How do the big publishers do it. I understand that authors like Dan
> Brown and Rawling can sell 10 million copies on release day, but before that. I remember years ago stopping in the book isle at Wall-Mart. I
> picked up this book called “Deception Point” by Dan Brown. …… But? How did he get his first novel on that Wall-Mart shelf? No one
> had ever heard of Dan Brown before.
I hear the frustration people have in seeking to break even and make a profit writing all the time. Just want to share some experience, perspective and some ideas.
Many years ago, Dan Brown was a poor starving author and an English teacher and his wife Blythe were struggling, seeking to achieve success and sales with his fiction writing. They hired me back in the days when I operated a business called Imediafax (we used to send one page faxes to media) and I worked for them to get publicity for the book Angels & Demons before Dan made it big with The Da Vinci Code. (If you have Angels and Demons on your shelf go and look, you’ll find my name in the acknowledgements).
Then as now, an author must first do his or her best and WRITE A GOOD BOOK. (That’s a separate question. But let’s just say, OK, you’ve written a good book.)
Then they must do their best to let the right people know that they have a good book. They must reach their target audience and entertain and educate them so that they are motivated to buy the book. Many authors don’t do this very well. Yet it’s crucial if you are to be successful. So I’m going to focus on this a little.
People’s needs haven’t really changed. Time and technologies have changed.
I think there are amazing opportunities for success in writing. In the US alone you have over 330 million people all of whom read, watch and listen to newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and all sorts of Internet and electronic media and communications devices. We’re trained from birth and indoctrinated in how to use these technologies.
What’s more is we are biological organisms and have five senses and we respond to stimulation in predictable ways. We laugh at the same jokes, we cry at the same sad stories, and we get turn on by beautiful half naked people. What even more important is that we can be stimulated to buy things. The media and producers have figured out how to do this and you can too.
It’s pretty clear that you have the opportunity to do really well IF you figure out how to turn people on.
The challenge is that you need to learn how to turn YOUR people on.
And once you learn how to do that, THEN you can use all the available technologies to reach people and stimulate them to action.
BUT if you don’t figure out how to turn people on first, then no matter what technologies you use, you really won’t have the effect you seek.
So HOW do you turn people on? HOW do you turn media on? That’s the challenge.
At least in my continuing experience and a publicist, it doesn’t matter whether you write non-fiction or fiction. The media does not really care about the book. They care about what you do to their audience with what you ask them to publish (in an article or a review) or use on a show (in a feature or an interview). It has to be so good that it helps them sell more subscriptions and advertising. This is how they make their income and this is what you have to provide if you want them to use your content.
So if it’s not the book, what is it?
My Answer: It’s about the issues you can talk about! It’s about the emotional engagement and interest you can capture!
As a publicist, I see this again and again. You can see the proof of it day in and day out in the media you want to be in. The question is how do you do it?
You have maximum success turning people on by getting jazzed up and energized and spontaneously raving about the issues you write about. It’s when you and revved up and all fired up that you generate the energy and the intelligence that galvanizes people’s attention. It’s those moments when you are at your best.
That’s what you need to identify for your all promotional efforts. You will be most successful with media, when you offer them a show or an article with you doing what you do best. It need not be very long. It just has to be really good.
So if you’ve written a book and are seeking to get people to buy that book, keep on talking to people about your book and your writing. Pay close attention to what you say and do when you create maximum interest and turn people on. You can also find much of this information in the reviewer comments and testimonials that you receive from people who read your book. They’ll tell you very specifically what you wrote that turns them on.
But remember that you can’t use the description of the book or the feeling as a substitute for the real thing. When you do promotion, you must deliver the communication that actually produce the feelings that trigger the interest and action.
That is what you have to place into the communications you use. You must learn what you say and do and then capture and repeat that messages. This is not easy to do, when you realize that each medium of communications you choose to use has its own format requirements.
So focus on identifying what you say and do that turns people on. Capture it! Repeat it several times in various settings and circumstances and make sure that it produces the action that you want to happen (as in people get so interested that they buy your books).
Then you can reformat and use all the technologies you want to repeat that message. Like Dan Poynter says, write it once and sell it forever.
December 17th, 2010 by Paul Krupin
The Goal of a News Release
The goal of the news release it to get publicity and not to sell product.
My experience is that media view endorsements as marketing facts. I don’t believe that media care much about what other people think until they have determined that they are interested in the story first. Only then do the bio and endorsements act to validate that the author and the message are solid and can be trusted. They are not usually newsworthy in and of themselves (although there are no doubt exceptions, e.g., a Sarah Palin endorsement of a candidate).
Media are usually content based decision-makers who make their living publishing. So if you want to be in the media you need to help them do their job. But there are lots and lots of media and you need to give the right message to the right media. How do you do this?
First you have to know your book, author and content.
Then you have to identify your target audience.
To answer the question, “Can I reach this audience?” you ask, what do My People read watch and listen to, particularly when they are most receptive to taking the action that I want them to take?
That’s how you identify and target the right media. I use Cision to create these custom targeted media lists. Hitting the right media is one of the crucial steps because they are the only ones that matter.
Then you tailor your message to meet the needs of those media. To be maximally effective when you do create your pitch, you study these media and evaluate existing coverage for similar projects. You look over the possibilities based on what they do publish or produce, since this is how they make their living.
Then you create and give them a strategically written ready to go proposal for an article or a show that meets those needs using the very best content that the author and intellectual property you seek to promote has to offer.
That’s how you maximize your chances of success for any book, product, service or initiative. You give right media something newsworthy and value laden that’s designed to make them money their way.
This is a very difficult process. There is lots of uncertainty and if you mis-match the message and the target, you simply don’t get the best response.
So many people miss the boat and create general vague all purpose news releases that really are simply ads for the book. They don’t really even understand that media don’t care about the book. They only care about whether a news release pitch offers, news, education or entertainment that the audience will really enjoy, and that’s really easy to publish (e.g., doesn’t cost the media a lot of time, money or effort).
Media simply will not respond unless the pitch is really interesting and delivers exceptional value (news, education or entertainment) and the actions they are to take (write an article or do an interview) are logical, easy and quick.
You give the media what they need and they’ll give you what you want which is bona fide objective editorial high value content laden coverage that promotes the book and the author.
You give them a pitch that looks like an ad, you’ll get a response from their advertising reps. They’ll basically tell you, if you want an ad, pay for it.
November 4th, 2010 by Paul Krupin
Overcoming the Self-Publishing Stigma
Who publishes the book rarely matters. If a media person or a book reviewer wants to give you an excuse to reject a book presented they will say one of three things:
1. I don’t review self published books
2. I need a local news angle
3. Or simply, it’s not right for my audience.
The “review self-published books” excuse is usually a knee jerk response they use to eliminate the need to even look at books of poor quality.
But even the snootiest media make exceptions for quality material.
What they first and foremost are looking for is quality content that offers relevant timely and value laden news, education or entertainment for their particular audience. If it helps them sell subscriptions, you can get in.
That’s what you’ve got to communicate to them. That’s what you’ve got to offer and that’s what you have to deliver.
If you do that, you will succeed in getting them interested no matter what type of publisher you are. The door will open and media will let you present more information and you might get media coverage for you or your author and the book. Getting reviews and getting feature story coverage for an author and a book is a process.
Of course, the next hurdle is that when you deliver the book and your detailed media proposal for coverage, the content and the quality have to be sufficient to carry the day.
Whether it is self-published or not doesn’t matter that much. But publication quality has to be good enough so that the media has the confidence in the credibility of the author and isn’t turned off and scared off.
It’s the essential validation that helps persuade another publisher that it makes good economic and business sense to publish a story and not regret making that decision later.