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The Multiple Publicist Question

The Multiple Publicist Question

How do you manage several publicists at one time? Some clients are pretty well funded. Others simply seek to get the job done and the publicist they hire, doesn’t do everything they want or need done. How do clients handle this?

I have never really before had a conflict while working with a client who has multiple PR people on a project. I’ve worked with big firms and other specialty publicists. It happens a lot with several of the big name publishers. When I work with HCI and Thomas Nelson, for example, they always has one or more big PR firms working, plus an internal publicist, and they hire me to do what I do best all at the same time. It seems that we all do different things.

When any of us gets a fish nibbling on the line, the trick then is to reel them in and get them in the net. Even when a media receives proposals from two or more different people, they will usually call up the one that strikes their fancy and not both. I’ve never been asked “who’s in charge”, since the client really is. The key is to get the right content to the media from the right person (THE CLIENT) so that the media gets what they need to do the job we want done, and the coverage we all hope for is indeed achieved. There are so many media people, we rarely even hit the same people from one day to the next. THE CLIENT needs to be engaged to fully integrate things at the top and on the way across the finish line, especially on the big plays. The publicists need access to the clients schedule for interviews, and answers to key questions, and they need to respond appropriately and fast. Media will not wait very long, and the window of opportunity closes unless they get what they need.

My specialty is my copywriting (which focuses on the content we offer to media for publication and interviews) and how I target, reach and interact with the right media, project by project. I create my own targeted media lists, transmit and make selected phone calls. The goal is to get reviews, feature stories, and interviews. We try to get as many as we can and of the best quality. Results vary. I typically go beyond the book seeking to get galvanizing feature stories that strike wide interest. These types of dialogs outsell book reviews by far. So even when we pitch one thing, we offer media the opportunity to do it their way. This creates new ideas and opens the doors to content development that pushes us into new areas of intellectual pursuit.

Other PR people come up with different content, proposals, and media lists. They will more or less stay within the confines of the core content associated with the book. Some PR people have better success within a certain genre of literature, certain types of products, a certain category of media, or industry, or blogs, or social media, or other types of Internet media, while others develop radio and TV better, and others focus only on top tv. You may not know till you see where people strike a chord and achieve success. Costs and what people actually do also varies significantly.

The client and the PR people should be introduced by phone or email and the methods or media coverage plans should be shared, since it helps to communicate openly. It’s helpful for all those involved to know a little about what others on the team are doing. I am happy to share always. But it’s really not necessary to force a detailed involved coordination to try to create a dominant/subservient competitive system, since it’s not helpful towards the achievement of success. You just need to hire people, delegate a job to them, get out of their way, and let them do what they are best at.

The crucial thing is to stay connected to those who are pitching so you learn what works, and then pass the word once you learn what chord to strike back to everyone, so that the whole level of effectiveness rises.

When you learn what works, then you do more of it, and you stop doing what doesn’t work.

The cost of a publicist covers the actions needed to produce the results you want. There are lots of options for someone who needs publicity to consider from doing it yourself all the way to simply hiring someone to do it all for you. The choices range in cost from as low as the cost of acquiring a custom database all the way to hiring a full service PR, firm, or a pay-for-performance firm, all the way to hiring an in-house publicist.

Now I operate a task based service that allows people to select and deploy the simplest and most intelligent actions. For most authors and publishers this is a one-time project that involves identifying the target audience, figuring out how to galvanize them, crafting one or more news releases, creating the right custom media list to present this message to the maximum number of right people, sending them any and all additional materials the media then needs to do their job, and then calling them to persuade media who have not decided to do what you are hoping for to try to persuade them to give you the publicity and media coverage you seek.

Other publicists and PR firms do similar actions and charge more and less to do these things. But there are many different types of fee arrangements by which can acquire publicity services. You should study the differences when you make your decision and do so recognizing specifically what you will get for the money you pay.

Here’s a link to an article I wrote titled:

“Evaluating the Range of Publicity Tactics and Publicity Options”

http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=41

There’s a second article that talks about how to get the most out of whichever type of publicity service you choose titled:

“Super Client! Getting the Most Out of Your Publicists and Copywriters”.


http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=42

Hope this helps. Questions anyone?

Publicity success story – Self-published author makes the Wall Street Journal

Self-published author makes the Wall Street Journal

Mini brag and congratulations to client Glen R. Sontag, author of Anything Other Than Naked, for being featured in a half page article on Wall Street Journal on Thursday July 14, 2011.

Read the article here: http://snipurl.com/13e54f

He made p. 2 in the Personal Journal section in the On Style column. The print version of the article takes up ½ page and includes 5 books on fashion which are reviewed. His book is the most prominently displayed in the full color photo.

ANYTHING OTHER THAN NAKED
is a small, illustrated 86-page book with separate chapters on how to evaluate, select, and wear each item of clothing—from suits, shirts, ties, and trousers to sweaters, belts, shoes, and outerwear.

The best quote from the article highlights why other men should trust his advice:

“Gentlemen might ask: Why take style advice from Glen R. Sondag, a former financial adviser and U.S. Air Force captain? Well, for one thing, because his mother sewed and he helped her, so he knows his way around wool, cotton and silk. More to the point, Mr. Sondag has been working outside the fashion world for 35 years. His slim volume, “Anything Other Than Naked,” is full of practical, direct advice.”

I love it. He helped his mother sew.

I worked on the project with Jim and Lynda O’Connor. We created a two page problem solving tips article for his outreach effort and made some phone calls. We sent out the news release twice a two week period in March 2011. So the time between news release transmittal and media publication was four months. The custom media list we developed targeted fashion, clothes, men’s interest, and work/life. The WSJ was one of over 80 media requests or review copies acquired as a result of the outreach effort. The WSJ has an audited circulation of 2,117,796.

🙂 Glen’s author website http://anythingotherthannaked.com is worthy of inspection as a masterpiece of simplicity and beautiful design that matches his style and elegance. It is a great example of letting people see and know exactly who you are.

Kudos to Glen.

Getting more publicity in newspapers means going beyond the book pages

Strategies and tactics for getting beyond the book review pages

One of my clients expressed her frustration in getting her local paper to give her coverage for a children’s book. Her local paper was The New Orleans Time’s Picayune.

I offer up some of the techniques I use to help identify how to increase your chances of being successful with them and other newspapers and media who cover children’s books.

Use the 3 I Technique and the newspapers’ own search engine.

The 3 I Technique consists of 3 steps:

1. Identify a Success Story (and use this for a model for your own pitch).

2. Imitate It (line by line).

3. Innovate It (with your own information).

Now go to the target media that you want to be in.

I went to Nola.com since this is where you want to be, but you could use Google News, USAToday.com, the NY Times, or any media that you want to target.

Now search on your key words: children’s book

I used the singular (book) to capture both articles that use ‘children’s book’ and ‘children’s books’

Here’s the search:

http://search.nola.com/children%27s+book?date_range=m11

The first set of results included several years’ worth of articles so I used the advanced search engine option to narrow the results to the past 18 months only.

Now start studying the articles. Look to see what the editors write and publish, who the journalists are, what the articles contain in the way of information about the books, the authors, and their stories.

Make a list of the key content you see and realize that this list reveals both the editorial style and readership interests of the media you are studying.

Now use the 3 I Technique and start writing headlines, leads, sentences, paragraphs, and ends that mimic the articles you see.

If you use this process carefully, when you get through you have created a draft article that will very likely have all the characteristics of a feature story that looks like it came right out of the media you are using. You’ve done this on the first try without much pain at all.

Now polish it up and turn it into a news release. Send it to your target media.

You can also now use this same news release and send it to a custom targeted media list of other media.

There are about 2200 media that you can pitch that will consider stories about children’s books and authors in the US and Canada.

This is one of the best ways I know to be successful when you try for reviews and stories.

If all you do is seek a book review, you are narrowing your chances of getting media coverage. Book reviews occupy a very small portion of the overall publication. You have far greater opportunity for media coverage if you expand your horizons and look at other sections of the publications you seek to be in.

To avoid the risk and stigma of being classified as a self-publisher and experiencing the negative response associated with such a determination, you must first make sure that your book has the quality and content of a professionally produced product. This is a given.

Assuming it passes muster, then you must then bring into your pitch for media coverage, news angles and story content that goes well beyond what is covered on the book review pages. You must be totally aware of the type of news, educational information, entertainment information, and human interest data that is used in the other parts of the media publication (or tv or radio show) that you want to be in. Then you must consciously and strategically array and incorporate this type of data and information into your news release.

If you look over the stories in the NOLA search you will see that they do appear to be quite discriminating in what they choose to publish. But there are media coverage opportunities you can aim at. The big area of opportunity appears to be in local book events with a strong community involvement element.

To maximize your chances, you must identify the topics and the content of the articles that you see and then propose and present comparable content.

Now there is a diversity of content demonstrated in the articles. Learn from them. Identify from these articles the characteristics and information that is deemed newsworthy and do your best to present comparable information about yourself.

Just realize that no matter what you do, the media you are pitching to may still have a standard for “celebrity” that may be very difficult indeed to achieve. In the case of NOLA, if you look over the articles they publish on children’s book authors, you will see that the “celebrity” standard is indeed quite high indeed. In the past year, it does not appear that they have even written on article about a local author unless he or she was indeed a best seller or had “national celebrity” status.

You may think that you deserve to be there, but these media may simply still decide that you do not have what they are looking for to justify the coverage to their audience. Accept it and move on. Don’t get in a slump over the media you can’t please. They are making editorial decisions that keep them thriving economically as publishers. Realize that they are very sensitive to the character of their articles and editorial coverage. There are economic reasons that force them to maintain rather strict policies on what they can publish, so as to avoid any loss of revenue. The “self-publishing stigma” is one of those areas. Imagine the consequences of giving media coverage to low quality books. Understand what happens to subscriptions and advertising revenue if the audience decides, that was a pretty poorly done book you wrote about. The quality of the paper goes down if the quality of the content fails to stay at the levels that the paying audience expects and demands. So realize and understand the plight of your fellow publishers. They too are trying to stay alive publishing.

My advice is to try your best, allow yourself to fail, and move on. Stay focused on working with the media that will allow you to reach the people that matter the most to you. Like my client Andy Andrews says “what you focus on get bigger”.

So focus on getting beyond the book pages. Use the 3 I technique to bring your proposal up to the caliber and style of the media you want to be in.

Then present it to that media and all sorts of other similar media who will be interested in this sort of content. You will find that when you use these techniques to create a quality media proposal that contains the type of information, you will see other media respond to that quality content as well.

You can use this combination of tactics any time to maximize your media coverage and success.

Go for it!

Being effective when pitching articles

How to be maximally effective when pitching articles

Client was heading to meetings with the National Speakers Association and she asked me if there was anything I wanted to share with them about how to be most effective when pitching articles. Here’s what I suggested:

To be maximally effective with articles:

1. Do your absolute best to help the people they can help the most on the biggest most pressing problem facing them; and

2. Target the right media with exquisite care and realize that you only need to reach the media who can reach YOUR PEOPLE. No other media matters.

3. Deliver the problem solving content in whatever format the media wants it to be delivered so that it can be easily published and utilized.

Have a great time!

Publicity Planner for 2011

Publicity Planner for 2011

Every year I create a forward-looking publicity calendar to help identify opportunities for people which is available in a free pdf file download.

It contains a lot of unusual holidays so that you can really get creative and think up ways to tie-in to calendar events well in advance of the day they occur.

Here’s the link:

Publicity Planner for 2011
http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/Publicitycalendar2011.pdf


Enjoy!

The Goal of a News Release

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.

Getting Publicity for Web Seminars Is Very Difficult

Getting Publicity for Web Seminars Is Very Difficult

Have to tell you that I have yet to see media (prime media or even bloggers we pitch to) cover web seminars to any great extent. But to answer the question properly I had to ascertain existing media coverage for those keywords.

So I did the following search at Google News for “web seminars”.

http://news.google.com/news/search?aq=f&pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&hl=en&q=web+seminars

You can study the results yourself if you do this search. The proof is right before your eyes.

Here what I saw on Page 1 of the results:

• One AP article from US newspaper article talking about a free government web site web seminar on health insurance (hot topic for obvious reasons)

• One NY Times article on strategies for graduates that talks about using web seminars as a tactic for searching for work

• Three news releases posted at free online news release distribution services (not type of media coverage we are looking for)

• Two online magazine event announcements (topical but online only and good luck finding these unless you specifically look for them)

• Two topical online news service announcements (similar highly limited distribution and actual reach to people issues)

While the AP article appears encouraging, the AP cited to the US government on a hot topic.

The others are all media with very little reach or impact

So there is not one author, expert, or company article to be found in the prime media.

So at least based on this analysis of existing media coverage, the chances of seeing a business web seminar getting picked up nearly non-existent in newspapers, radio, TV, news services and news syndicates.

You may see a few pickups in trade magazines, but the possibilities of people in a given target audience are remote given the extreme paucity of bona fide media coverage that is revealed from the Google News results.

So what can you do?

Stay with the known proven tactics that perform well.

To date, media will run (in order of effectiveness and ROI to you)

– problem solving tips article by authors and experts

– local event announcements with significant community engagement

– human interest stories

– book reviews in media that serve the people you are trying to reach the most

Since the client I was working with was seeking targeted publicity that brands her and she sought to see interested people contact her for books, speaking and consultation, the best tactic I could recommend is for her to use the problem solving tips article approach.

It is the only reliable proven way to let people see and experience what she can do for them so that they act by asking for her to do more of the same for them.

How Important is a News Release?

What a news release does and why they are so important

How Important is a News Release?

A news release is the key deliverable for those seeking publicity (much like a résumé is for job seekers, or a contract is for contract seekers).

If a news release works you can get an article in a newspaper, an interview on radio or TV and information about you will be placed in front of an audience of people who can take action based on what they learn about you.

With publicity comes increased interest, name recognition, calls from prospects, sales, and profits. Compared to advertising and direct marketing, publicity is very, very inexpensive to acquire.

The publicity you can generate with a news release can be phenomenally valuable. You can inform people and generate interest in your products and services, educate and entertain hundreds, thousands, even millions of people, drive traffic to a website or get people to attend an event and as a result acquire fame and recognition.

But if the news release fails to capture the attention of an editor or producer, your business, event, or idea may wind up in the trash along with it.

When I published the original Trash Proof News Releases in 2001, the primary ways you could send a news release were:

1. street mail
2. fax
3. e-mail
4. in person
5. telephone

Internet based media platforms and personal communication devices have evolved considerably in the past seven years. In addition to those outlets listed above, we now have:

1. web pages
2. regular search engines
3. news search engines
4. specialized search engines
5. online libraries, directories, databases
6. newsletters and ezines
7. discussion groups and mailing lists
8. forums
9. audio and podcasts
10. video (You Tube)
11. chat rooms
12. blogs
13. social media (MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc)
14. cell phones and PDA’s

The technology continues to evolve, get smaller, and faster. The way we receive news continues to change.

But the message you create when you send a news release to persuade media to give you exposure is the crucial starting point. What you write, say, or look like influences their decision and if they decide in your favor people get to read, watch or listen to some version of your message. Your news release to the media is the key – the crucial proposal that determines what media do.

What you place into a news release determines whether you get media coverage. If the message is deemed newsworthy, you can fly across the media and soar to majestic heights like an eagle in the wind.

If the message fails to incite media interest, then it sinks like a rock in a pond, never to see the light of day again.

The successful news release provides a story arc, anticipates questions (who, what, where, when, why, and how?), triggers an emotional connection, and leads the media who reads it to a decision to share you and your message with an audience of people.

In the face of the hundreds and even thousands of other people competing for media attention, this is no easy task.

Oftentimes, you’re trying to capture all the most meaningful aspects of your life’s efforts in one single phrase. You must outshine all the other twinkling stars in the night.

The success of a news release resides primarily in the quality of the copywriting. It must address the needs of the media outlet, its sponsors, and its audience. Those audience members can tell the difference between content and advertisement pretty easily, so your news release must be pitched perfectly if it’s going to accomplish both your aims and the media’s. It must be concise, easy to understand, interesting, believable, value-laden, and actionable.

That’s what you need to do when you create a news release.

The length of a news release doesn’t matter anymore.

The length of a news release doesn’t matter at all anymore. This is email. We create and transmit articles ready to go and they are used for both print (even as is), interviews (the Q & A’s are right there), and as a pitch if media decide they want more, less or even something else. It allows them the freedom of choice and they like it and respond to it.

Quality matters. Content, originality, innovation, and value to the audience matters.

We use what creative driven people bring to us and we focus on the biggest problem facing the audience they want to reach. Then we offer to solve that problem and we do our best to help the people we can help the most.

This process works and gets us more coverage in the right places than any other method I’ve ever seen used.

This is how we achieve professional branding that not only results in book sales, but in the case of people with multiple income streams, it sells everything they have to offer.

That’s how come so many experts and people with experience and mature businesses do so well with the publicity they get. Even one single sale of a consulting contract can be worth many tens of thousands of dollars.

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.