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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.

Is this really it? The Miracle of the Microcosm

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

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

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

1) How do you find the right people?

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

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

Then you have the online media:

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

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

Interest Groups
Associations
Clubs
Institutions
Foundations
Support Groups
Churches/Synagogues
Trade shows/conferences

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

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

2) To identify THE IRRESISTABLE MESSAGE

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

http://blog.directcontactpr.com/index.php?s=miracle

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

http://blog.directcontactpr.com/index.php?s=the+3+I+technique

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope this helps,

Paul J. Krupin, Direct Contact PR

Getting More Publicity – The 3 I Technique Video

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

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

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

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

Getting your articles syndicated is challenging but worth it

Getting your articles syndicated is challenging but worth it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My simple acronym for this process is this: CACA

C – Create

A – Ask

C – Create again

A – Ask again

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

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

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

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

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

Fail to learn this and nothing happens.

Just remember triumph is TRI with UMPH added.

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.

What’s Wrong With Pay for Play? Why is Pay for Play Unethical?

What's Wrong With Pay for Play? Why is Pay for Play Unethical?

First, what is the distinction between pay for performance and pay for play?

One of the primary concerns about Pay for Performance and Pay for Play and even with Relationship Based PR has to do with the risk of payment to the journalist or media organization without adequate disclosure. Money is a powerful incentive. If you pay a PR person $15,000 to 25,000 for a five minute interview and placement on a prime time national TV show and half of it goes to a producer who agreed to booked the show then that is a serious issue. It presents something as objective reporting instead of identifying it clearly as advertising. Does everyone disclose their back door payments? Not really.

At least in my experience, most publicists who offer pay for performance are also highly ethical about what they do. The reason is that while success speaks loud, failure speaks much louder indeed, and unethical and illegal behavior fairly screams across the planet. And as in politics, there are, of course, consequences for getting caught.

The higher costs associated with pay for performance are a testament to how difficult it is to be successful. The publicist must take the risk for their time and effort instead of being paid for their time and effort. So yes, publicists do tend to take care when accepting PFP clients. Clearly, it is exceedingly difficult to be successful with poor quality books and inexperienced authors or those who aren’t qualified in the eyes of the media.

The key thing here is to follow the money. If the money gets to the journalist, then the disclosure is required by the FTC. With Pay for Performance, you pay the publicist for success, but the risk is that the media is getting paid, too.

What’s the Problem with Pay for Play?

With pay for play, you pay the media for their time or to cover production or whatever. With relationship based PR, you pay the publicist for the inside connection or referral, or you pay to be at an event where journalists and producers are there, and there is a risk they are receiving payment above ethical guidelines of requirements. With retainer based and task based, you pay the publicist to pitch and there is no payment to the media. It’s the content that is the determining factor.

There is a growing number of media who will charge you a fee and then give you coverage. It’s an ongoing issue in society.

Pay for play poses a growing ethical issue in social media, blogs, paid reviews, media placements in print, and on radio and TV. FTC 16 CFR Part 255 states anyone receiving a product (book, TV, widget) for review is considered to be paid with the product and must be disclosed.

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)’s code now states that ethical practitioners must “encourage disclosure of any exchange of value that influences how those they represent are covered.” The value exchanged may take the form of cash, travel, gifts or future favors.

http://www.prsa.org/SearchResults/view/8138/105/PRSA_speaks_out_on_Pay_for_Play_strengthens_Code_o#.Usnlf9JDss0

You can pitch blogs and receive responses from mommy and techie bloggers (from $5 and $10 to $300) to radio shows and even major network and syndicated TV shows saying they’ll be happy to write about you or do a show, if you only pay for the costs of production ($3,000 to $5,000).

Steve Bennett wrote a column in PR Week and said:

“At The New York Times you can’t even accept a free lunch from a contact. And the AP sets a limit of $10 on the size of any benefit received by a journalist.”

http://www.prweekus.com/when-earned-media-becomes-paid-for/article/254180/

The relationship based poses similar ethically questionable situations. It sounds great to hear a PR firm or publicist say that they are on personal terms with a journalist or a host or producer at a big TV show. What’s the problem?

We rely on media to be impartial and to give everyone fair and honest consideration.

Many see this particular style of doing business as a slippery slope that is very susceptible to corruption that undermines the very core of objective reporting and fairness in journalism. There are public relations firms and service providers who offer to place you in front of a group of journalists for a fee. Is it any different than the payments of lobbyists and political action committees in exchange for a meeting with a lawmaker or a politician?

The gold ol’ “hey I’ll buy you lunch meetings”, with drinks, and even, the payment of transportation and even stays at hotels, and more in exchange for coverage. These can turn into lucrative clandestine long-term arrangements where favorable repeat coverage goes to people, companies, organizations, who can afford to pay for the privilege to speak with journalists. What if the PR firm slips a commission fee to the journalist or a “production cost reimbursement” to the media organization?

Do the journalists and their media organizations disclose all financial and other “gifts” faithfully? Do our politicians disclose all their donations, donors, and payments? OK I’m in dreamland.

The next time you see a TV news magazine show look closely for “FTC Disclosure” with the list of sponsors in the credits at the beginning (“The following is paid by our sponsors”.) and the end of the show (the quickly scrolling list of sponsors). Do you even see it?

Publicity Planner for 2014

Publicity Planner for 2014 - a forward-looking publicity calendar to help identify opportunities for media coverage and publicity

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 get creative, think ahead, and identify ways to tie-in to calendar events well in advance of the day they occur.

Here’s the links to the Publicity Planner for 2014:

http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/publicitycalendar2014.pdf (full color)

http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/2014PublicitycalendarBW.pdf (light color version for printing)

Share freely. Happy Holidays everyone! Stay safe. Enjoy!

Google Changes to the World of News Release Distribution

Discusses the latest Google algorithm changes and how the impacts on news release distribution

Google Changes to the World of News Release Distribution

For many years now marketing practitioners have been advocating people use news releases to improve their placement on search engines. The theory was that you could write and post a news release at a web distribution service and the optimized use of keywords and the links included in the release would result in oodles of incoming links all of which would help capture people’s attention and increase your page ranking on search engines as a result.

Google has decided to clean up the search results and do what it can to rid organic results of press release content that is really not bona fide news, but are instead, paid advertising in disguise. The requirements also have significance to sites that rely heavily on user-generated content.

The latest Google algorithm changes, known as Penguin 2.0, modifies how Google analyzes the role and utility of news releases posted at news release distribution services in a very significant way. The changes, adopted in late July 2013, include the following:

1. Press releases will be treated as paid placement by Google.

2. Optimized anchor text links in a press release distribution post will be considered as “unnatural” and will not be used in Google PageRank search result calculations.

3. Google now requires news release distribution services to add a “no follow” code attribute to all their outbound links in the news releases they post.

What this means is that if you now do a search for keywords on Google or Google News, your will now notice the near total absence of news releases, which used to account for fifty percent of more of what was the search engines produced in the top ten pages. No more. What is now delivered are articles from real media – newspapers, magazines, radio, tv, selected news services & syndicates, and the online versions, news web sites, and certain blogs.

The Google “no follow” and “anchored text” policies apply to”webmasters and directly impact services such as PR Web, Businesswire, PR Newswire, Send2Press, WebWire, MarketWire, OnlinePR Media, eReleases, and many more of the sites who used to be able to get top placement with their posted and archived news releases.

No more. Google has declared those days are over. The new moves by Google places the highest value on unique, quality content at real media sites.

The new search engine results highlight real media and focus on “earned media” and not subsidized links designed to simply weight and manipulate search engine results.

Google is also on the lookout to reduce the impact of large scale guest post activities and advertorials.

For several years now, SEO placement was driven by the use of “unnatural” backlinks and the heavy handed use of keywords in news releases. A variety of “black hat” SEO practices have been developed and used to push page placement. This will no longer be a viable strategy for businesses to utilize if they seek to improve their SEO ranking and the traffic they receive.

Natural links, directly to quality core content, expert or a company web site, are still acceptable.

What this means to publicity seekers is that a news release should not be written with the purpose of producing a sale directly. The news release should also not be written as an advertorial, or an infomercial.

The best view is that a news release is a pitch to a publisher (=media) to get them do publish or produce a story in the medium they utilize.

A news release, or a press release, is therefore a media proposal — a purpose driven communication that is delivered to media, or placed where they can find it, and which invites the media to do a feature story, an interview or a review (in the case of a book or product), and which contains an offer or the actual content and access to the people, needed to do that job.

So if you want real media coverage, write a news release that is truly designed to get you quality media coverage and send it to the right media. Instead of a post and pray web service. Then target your media carefully and send it to the right media directly. Reach out and contact real media people and offer them everything they need to do their job your way.

Help the people that you can help the most. The latest change means that quality content matters now more than ever before.

Good problem solving advice, news, value-added commentary, noteworthy public events, innovative products, quality books, and the best entertainment will get higher search engine placement, and hence command more value in the eyes of the searching public. Earned media coverage acquired by using targeted PR tactics and strategies will be one of the primary vehicles for gaining that status.

For additional reading:

Yahoo Small Business Advisor article Sept 1, 2013
http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/press-release-writing-since-google-penguin-2-0-235044581.html

Forbes magazine article by Cheryl Conner, August 28, 2013
http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2013/08/28/do-press-releases-still-matter-yes-but-not-like-you-think/

Search Engine Watch articles by Lisa Buyer August 9, 2013
http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2287902/12-Ways-to-Optimize-Press-Releases-Avoid-Google-Penalties

Search Engine Land article by Barry Schwarz July 30, 2013
http://searchengineland.com/google-links-in-a-press-release-should-be-nofollowed-like-advertisements-168339

Search Engine Roundtable article by Barry Schwarz July 30, 2013
http://www.seroundtable.com/google-press-releases-nofollow-17151.html

Search Engine Watch article by Lisa Buyer July 26, 2013
http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2194404/Can-the-SEO-PR-Love-Affair-Survive-After-Panda-Penguin

Search Engine Land article by Barry Schwarz July 26, 2013
http://searchengineland.com/google-adds-large-scale-guest-posting-advertorials-optimized-anchor-text-to-list-of-link-schemes-168082

Search Engine Land article by Barry Schwarz July 9, 2013
http://searchengineland.com/google-guest-blogging-for-links-you-better-nofollow-those-links-166218

Search Engine Watch – #nofollow
http://searchenginewatch.com/topic/nofollow

Evaluating Your Media Coverage – Online Clipping with Search Engines

Evaluating Your Media Coverage - Online Clipping with Search Engines

Evaluating Your Media Coverage – Online Clipping with Search Engines

There are several ways to search and find media coverage without spending money on clipping service. All you have to do is use the right keywords and search in the right places. You can discover many, if not most, of the media coverage you get from your campaigns within a week of your outreach.

There are several types of search engines you can use – all of these are free. There are more search engines out there and this list will always change over time. These are the ones that I use on a regular basis.

Search by using a persons’ name, their book, product or whatever keyword you want to focus on. To keep your results narrow and focused, place “quotation marks” around your search words.

If you want to evaluate media coverage, focus on the keywords that you are researching and study what is being published, by whom, and what the article or interviews says.

    Regular (Web) Search Engines

Google

Yahoo

Bing

Ask

    News Search Engines

Google News

Yahoo News

Bing News

Ask News

Topix


    Blog Search Engines

Google blogsearch

Yahoo searchblog

Blogdigger

Blogsearchengine

Technorati

    Media Search Engines

Reuters

USA Today

The New York Times

Washington Post

LA Times

Boston Globe


    Social Search Engines

TalkWalker Alerts

Social Mention

Tumblr.com

Facebook

LinkedIn

Twitter

Topsy

Scour

Pipl

Zoominfo

MyLife

Peek You

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

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:

http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/22questionsfor.pdf