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The Blood, Sweat and Tears for Getting Publicity

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

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

The Blood, Sweat and Tears for Getting Publicity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second, media only publish three basic things:

News
Entertainment
Education

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

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

Do you get this yet?

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

Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the basics.

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

Here’s what you need to do:

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

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

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

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

Here it is:

DPAA+H

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.

DPAA+H

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

DPAA+H

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.

Why media say no and what to do about it

Why media say no and what to do about it

There are four primary reasons why media say no.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you do?

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

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

Are you ready to publish? Knowing when you are done.

Are you ready to publish? Knowing when you are done.

Each year I work with hundreds of authors and publishing companies. Very few of them ask enough strangers to give them feedback as part of their book creation process.

What I recommend people do is go slow. Start with family, friends, colleagues, employees and expand the circle till you reach strangers. Show and tell one on one. It’s possible to learn how to sell. That’s the miracle of the microcosm. If you learn what you need to say to people in your little neck of the woods, chances are you can then say the same thing anywhere and everywhere you go and you’ll be equally successful selling your products wherever you go.

But you need to learn those magic words first.You have to write to sell, and the job of writing isn’t done until the book sells. This is where most self-publishers go astray. They publish their book without verifying it was really ready for market. Many don’t even get the help of an editor!

You have to test your ideas and test your product and test your mar-com (marketing communications) on real live people. STRANGERS! You need to identify your end users and the people who will buy the book for your users. Then you need to learn what to say to get these people to take the action you want.

Write to sell and test, test, test. Do this in small doses till you get the right buy signals. Reliably. Not just once or twice, but repeatedly and reliably.

Do 25 to 50 POD versions and test it with these important people.

You’ll know by their behavior and response whether you are really ready to publish the book.

If you can’t get people to even look at it, then you’re not done.

If they look at it and put it down, then you still have work to do.

If people look at it and grab it, you might be done. It depends what happens when they then pick it up and peruse it. If they put it down, then you’re not done.

If you get good comments that say “OMG you turned me on” – capture it, and do more of it.

If you get negative feedback that says “YUCHHH!”, take it out or fix it. Get rid of it.

Improve with the CACA process. Create — Ask — Create Again — Ask Again.

Yes it can be pretty s****. You may choke on your pride and wake up after a sleepless night. You have to have the guts and fortitude to redesign and re-write it till you know you are done because it sings to people. You have to work with your prospective audience to get real feedback, and you must listen to what people say and address the issues you receive.

This may take a lot of reiterations. But one thing is for certain, there is a point that you will reach when you know that you are done. It’s a wonderful thing when you get to this point and know it.

So this is my bottom line advice: Write to sell. Don’t stop writing and re-writing till you know it sells, and sells easily and continuously.

Prove it with small test POD numbers. Use the technology that is available to all of us wisely. Then move it up through the publishing and promotion chain level by level.

In most cases, the author thinks the book should excite and grab people. But it doesn’t always happen that way.

So to me, they still have work to do. But they can’t speculate about what’s wrong, they need real data.

This is what I tell people to do – get the data. Figure out what you need to say and do to produce action that will satisfy your stated goals and objectives:

Go ask your candidate customers. Ask until you are blue in the face and get the hard difficult data and feedback you need to redesign and redo your project.

Being a force multiplier is where I get my kicks

Being a force multiplier is where I get my kicks

I read with a pen in my hand at all times. The real trick is to not only underline the good ideas and passages, but open up a notebook and write down the idea and develop an action, identify who else needs to be brought in, identify a completion date and deploy the action plan to turn the idea into a reality with benefits. Even if it is inspirational, fiction or non-business related, identify the good stuff and share it with someone. Sharing and caring someone else’s life’s work can bring joy to the world. Being a force multiplier is where I get my kicks.

Turn Your People On! Copywriting that Produces Action

Writing marketing and publicity copy that produces interest and action (sales)

Here’s my best advice for authors and publishers wanting publicity that helps sell books: Turn your people on.

The message has to make people pay attention and want more of what you have to offer. If you don’t succeed at this, even an article in USA Today won’t
help you sell books. Identify the hot buttons that get your audience jazzed.

Ask them, “why do you like this?”

Pay attention to what you said that produced howls of delight. Study your testimonials and reviewer comments, ask your mother or kids. Just figure
this out and focus on it. What you focus on tends to get bigger.

Identify what you do that turns people on, and then do more and more of it. Then prepare a variety of presentations that hit those hot buttons again and again in varying lengths from 30 seconds to ten minutes in length. Every word you say has to make people crave more.

If you bore them even momentarily, you will likely lose them.

This is the key to PR success and marketing success as well.

You can’t say “buy this amazing provocative book!” You must be amazing and provocative. You must do what you are best at in your own unique way. You
must entertain, educate and stimulate. You must give people chills and thrills. And you must practice this and perfect this messaging until you can
do it again and again with adequate action producing results (=sales).

Once you develop, refine, and prove YOUR MESSAGING, based on the actions people take in response to what you say and do (= proven sales), then the
rest is easy. Then can you use technology as a force multiplier to extend and share and repeat the message (using technologies and media of all types) and thus get the results you dream of achieving.

When can you send out a news release? Answer: as soon as your books are available!

Timing and lead time on sending out a news release about a book available for review

My rule of thumb is that you can send out a news release offering books for review as long as:

1. you have books for the media to review and can ship them within a week or so of getting the request

2. the book is available for purchase on Amazon and your web site at a minimum (and maybe other places as well).

Timing is roughly based on when you want the publicity to hit taking into account the normal lead time the media needs to do what they do even if they decide to do a feature story, an interview or a book review the day your book arrives in their hands. Your web site and Amazon need to be in place and operational so you derive the financial benefit of your promotion.

Now from experience (and I do send out lots of news releases for authors and publishing companies), 95 percent of the media response to a news release transmitted by email occurs within 24 to 48 hours of delivery. Then you have to stuff a package (with a book and a copy of your news release at a minimum), send it by street mail (I recommend First Class or Priority and never media mail), then wait for delivery (five to seven days), then wait for the media to review the book or take action (review time on the book and work time to take action on your proposal for media coverage).

The minimum lead time for media is usually two to three publishing cycles. So for online media you can estimate that even once they get the book and if they read it right away, it’s one to two weeks. For daily newspapers it is two to three weeks. Same for radio. TV varies on the urgency and perceived interest but the normal lead time is three to four weeks. For magazines, the lead time if four to six months.

I recommend you transmit your news release on timed for Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday delivery. The media tend to operate on a five day work week. Saturday and Sunday they are gone. Friday tends to be a bad day because they are wrapping things up and trying to get their desk cleared before the weekend. Monday is a bad day because they are catching up from Friday and also have staff meeting and priority assignment from on high. By Tuesday, you can get the maximum attention to read and respond to your proposal and it gives the media the rest of the week to identify, allocate and deploy the resources needed to give you the type of publicity you seek.

You may think that sending an eBook will expedite reviews. Don’t make that assumption. Media seek to validate when they get a review copy. They want to make sure they recommend something good that has real value. The ebook or pdf file is too readily deleted, discarded or ignored for you to trust a media to do a quality review. The best way I know to maximize your success with media is to make a quality presentation and give them what they need to do the best job you want done. Send them a quality book, a quality pitch, photographs of the cover and the author, plus feature story quality content and value.

Response to Publicity Doesn’t Work

Response to Publicity Doesn’t Work

Forbes just posted an opinion article “Book Promotion for Self-Publishers

http://www.forbes.com/sites/suwcharmananderson/2012/06/19/book-promotion-for-self-publishers-a-waste-of-time/

Quite a number of authors express great frustration and anguish over the fact that the publicity (book reviews, interviews, feature stories, etc). they received didn’t result in lots of book sales.

In fact several of them conclude that publicity doesn’t work.

OMG, failure certainly speaks louder than success. What a sad perspective.

Their experience with media may be due to a lot of things. But to me what appears to have happened is that whatever the media published certainly didn’t result in them “turning their people on”. I don’t see that as a reason to conclude that “Publicity Doesn’t Work”.

I see that a failure to make effective use of any number of golden media opportunities. Very simply, they didn’t turn people on.

In the middle of February, one of my clients, JJ Smith, did one interview on The Steve Harris Morning Show, and sold over 6,000 books and made it to the top of Amazon’s best seller list ahead of The Hunger Games Trilogy. Sure, it was only for 24 hours or so, but it was a single talk show interview that did it.

One of my favorite authors, Vince Flynn, did an interview with USA Today on Feb 6. He’s a best selling author of 13 books. 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 the last question from the USA Today interviewer, one that he apparently had never been asked before – “What is it about your stories that brings the reader in?” BTW, it worked since I ran to the local bookstore and bought a copy.

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.

Think about what happens – just for example, when was the last time you read the newspaper or a magazine or watched TV and grabbed your credit card?

It probably doesn’t happen very often., does it? In today’s world, it may actually happen more often if you read something on a trusted blog or on a friend’s Facebook and they say, “…this is cool. You gotta have it.”

Think carefully about the times that it does happen. How did you feel? Weren’t you amazed, galvanized, and stunned? Wasn’t your attention riveted?

Well, if you want publicity or any other marcom that you create to do that, then you’d better figure out what is happening when it happens to you first. Then you have to learn what you can say and do to make it happen to others.

Realize that if you want to be a successful author you not only have to write a really good book, but when you get in front of media you need to turn your audience on. You have to learn how to do that or else people won’t respond the way you want them to.

Now I’ll share with you something I’ve learned doing publicity for a few tens of years.

I believe that you can learn to do this anywhere. I call this the miracle of the microcosm because I’ve found from working with real people, from all over the country, that it really doesn’t matter where you are. You can learn what to say that turns people on one person at a time. Yes you can.

You just have to keep talking to people and pay attention to what you said when it happens!

You can ask people at a speaking engagement to tell you. You can have a partner watch the audience and take note while you are speaking. You can record your talks and track sales or how many people raise their hand or come up to you after your talk. You’ll find hints in your reviewer comments and testimonials where people tell you why they love what you do.

The miracle is that once you learn the magic words that produce the action you want, you can then you can use all the media and other marcom technologies as a force multiplier to repeat the message and keep reproducing the effect.

In a nation with 330 million people, you have very good reason to focus on that message. Even if you are successful in reaching and converting an itsy bitsy tiny percent, you can be phenomenally successful.

Before you think that doing publicity or any other MarCom (marketing communications) technology is going to help you, you really need to learn what you can say and do that turns your people on. You need to develop a script that produces action.

Can you stand in front of 50 people and talk for three minutes so that half the people come flying out of their chairs and hand you money? That is what you need to be able to do. You need to hit their hot buttons by being the very best you can be. You need to give people a transcendental emotionally engaging experience. Learn how to do this in a small audience and then place that script into your interviews and feature story proposals.

The same is true by the way with social media. The real promise of social media is only achieved when what you’ve done is so good people rave about it to all their friends. If it’s not good enough, it’s just panned.

If you learn how to turn people on, and then use that in your targeted communications so that you help the people you can help the most, you’ll see your success with the media hit maximum levels. This isn’t easy to do. But if you are strategic and test, improve, and prove your communications systematically, it can be done.

Make sure that the content you offer is like candy. Create a recipe that tastes so good that people just can’t get enough of it. and they want the whole bag.

BTW, I’ve create a five minute, self-serve Prezi that describes how to do this process in a highly entertaining and visual way. It’s at my blog – here’s the link:

http://blog.directcontactpr.com/2012/02/getting-the-best-publicity/

Enjoy.

Getting publicity for books with “edgy” content

Getting publicity for books with "edgy" content can be very difficult

Publish-L author asked a question whether to include sex, violence, drugs and “edgy” content in a new Young Adult title. I offered up some thoughts from a publicity perspective.

Most of the prime media reviewers and many of the Internet and bloggers represent the socially conservative family oriented (hence G-rated) perspective. They actively embrace the clean and wholesome.

I have yet to see YA books that contain violence, sex, drugs and four letter words do particularly well with media. It seems that most of the adults simply nix the idea of sharing books that contain these elements with others. They cater to their audience preferences and opt for the safe and easy to promote so that they don’t suffer criticisms from those who find these elements distasteful.

Basically, while you may be able to persuade media people to take a look using news releases and phone calls that describe the books but don’t reveal or utilize these elements, once they get the book in their hands and see what it contains, you run a major risk of then being unable to get any positive reviews, and may in fact find yourself having to deal with the consequences of negative reviews.

Not that this should stop you, it’s just a factor I recommend you consider. My kids still rave about the Alana series, and witness the success of The Hunger Games. These books contain sex, violence, highly questionable behavior. Of course, quality content, style, and action packed edge of your seat writing may be playing so much more of a factor that reviewers will overlook any incidental elements they find to be distasteful within. And if the books are so good people will rave about them to each other in spite of their “edginess”, then you might not care about what media say, and in fact, it may not matter.

One of the other Publish-L participants noted that even the NY Times covers Young Adult books that contain sex, violence, and drugs.

This is true. It’s also not particularly relevant to the issue of promoting a new book from a lesser or unknown (or heaven forbid – self-published) author that contains these elements.

My point isn’t that you can’t get media to play with you once you climbed the mountain and achieved the level of a social phenomenon. You can. The fact that you’ve become a best-selling success makes the reporting of that news easy, safe, and trust worthy. The media are reporting facts. They are no longer taking a gamble on the book or the author. There is very little risk to them for publishing the news on this basis.

My point is that until you do so, getting media to play with you will be very difficult. After the fact reporting of success is much easier to acquire than coverage that helps you achieve success.

Persuading the media to give you media coverage before you’ve acquired a track record means you need to communicate and validate the quality, the value, and the importance of the writing and contribution without being able to demonstrate that tens of thousands of people agree with you and do in fact love what the author has created.

My point is that when you promote a book (or anything else for that matter) and seek to get media to share information about the book and the author, media look at that idea as a proposal for media coverage. You’ve got to answer to the three main questions that they use to make decisions correctly. These are:

1. How many people in my audience will be interested in this?
2. What’s in it for my audience?

The answer to both these questions has to be:

1. A LOT OF PEOPLE; and
2.. A LOT OF VALUE

Then you get to the third question the media asks.

3. What does it cost me to do my job?

The answer to this question has to be:

VERY LITTLE

This is because media editors will only invest staff time, energy, and publication resources into articles that help them sell more subscriptions or get more advertising, since that’s how they make their income and survive and thrive.

Good luck trying to persuade media to review a new just published book or interview an author of an unknown author of a book that’s filled with sex, violence, and drugs.

Can you imagine the how editors wince and cringe when little old ladies and god-fearing parents call up or write in and say they will no longer buy the publication because they are promoting such awful stuff?

Editors and producers will not give people coverage if doing so threatens their publishing income. Reporters and columnists won’t take the risks when they are so easily fired and replaced.

Yes, it’s sad that the world is like this, but this is the way it works and this is what really happens.

The point is that as writers and authors we get to make decisions about what to place into our works. We can think ahead and recognize what the people we will use to promote need to be successful and we can design, create and incorporate the elements that will enable them to utilize what we offer.

We can think ahead and do our best to write to sell. You just need to do so with your eyes open.

If you don’t think ahead and you create books that contain risky topics or course language, and you do so to express yourself or drive whatever points or agendas you may have, well, that’s your decision. It’s your publishing business and you take the risks. It’s your choice.

Just don’t be surprised when you then try to promote it and find out that it’s really hard to succeed.

Dealing with Media Rejection – How to Turn a No Into a Yes

How to turn a rejection from media into an acceptance and feature story media coverage

OK, you send out a news release.

You asked for a review, a feature story or an interview. You gave them options, incentives, access to data, photos, people.

They said NO! Is it all over? Is that all there is? Has the door to opportunity slammed in your face?

I don’t think so.

No rarely means No. It usually means not now. It means maybe later.

But it is up to you to figure out what do do.

And what you do is simple: You make another proposal. You offer to send another idea. You say, how about i call you back in two hours (after your deadline has passed).

Always pitch back another idea for something else. Never let the conversation stop. Take the action and get them to say yes to something that keeps the conversation going.

Media people have a job to do. Maybe your proposed idea just didn’t fit in with their needs or maybe they think it will take more time and effort than they can give. As them “Is there something I/We can do to make this more attractive? Is there more information we can send to you.”

If they still say no, ask them “How about something totally different? What about this idea instead?”

Ask them “What would you like to see us present to you?”

Find out what the media wants. Then give them what they need and make it easy for them to work with you.

That’s how you’ll get respect from media for being a valued contributor and a working professional they can trust and rely upon to help them do their job.

That’s how you’ll close more deals and get more of what you want, too.

Getting the media (and everyone else…) to pay attention and get interested

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.