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Getting More Publicity with Trash-Proof News Releases – Free Ebook

Getting Real Publicity - Trash-Proof News Releases - Free Ebook

Short link for this post: goo.gl/FTvDzq

Someone asked “does any one use news releases any more?”

I laughed. It may come as a surprise to people, but I still do write news releases and send them out to custom targeted media lists.

And guess what. They still work. I even wrote a book about them.

But there’s a catch. There are no guarantees. The psychology o dealing with media has not changed. There are however, a lot more media – people who publish in one form or another.

The technology has and continues to evolve and there are more types of media technology and platforms.

But to be featured or interviewed has not evolved significantly. The news release is still a viable and in fact essential tool that you need in your marcom (marketing communications) toolbox.

What is a news release?

My definition has not changed:

A written proposal:

– containing a request for media coverage (feature stories, interviews or product reviews).

– and/or an offer to provide media the content needed to achieve that end.

A news release is either:

– sent directly to media decision makers directly (e.g., by fax, email, street mail, in person, etc.); or

– placed where they can find it and use it (as when it is posted to web site either your own or using a news release distribution service).

A news release is not an advertisement.

You do not pay for coverage and do not control what the media says. It is a document that seeks to persuade media to give you media coverage.

Your degree of success is often based on how much of what you give them to do their job is actually used.

You must provide media with information that matches what they are accustomed to publishing (or producing). Usually this means the content must be news, education or entertainment, or opinion or commentary.

If you have a different objective, then perhaps you should not be thinking what you are writing or need to write is a news release at all.

It’s OK to have a different objective. There are other types of marcom (marketing communications) you can choose to achieve a goal. It also means your target audience is not likely to be media people. You will need a different targeted list of people to match your objective.

And even when you send out a news release, some media will view you as a target for money since after all, that is how they make a living and they do run publishing businesses. So do not be surprised when media send you sponsored post requests, or email that pushes you to participate in their business (and pay for the privilege).

Trash Proof News Releases

But if objective publicity in media is what you want, you write a news release. You mus earn the right to be featured. This is a gauntlet since you need to provide exquisite quality that meets the media needs – readership and editorial elements, and more.

The first version of the book Trash Proof News Releases captured the lessons learned for getting publicity at the peak of the fax era, and covered the techniques I had developed running Imediafax – The Internet to media Fax Service. It was published in the year 2000.

Faxes died as a technology at the turn of the 21st Century. Email took its place. So we stopped sending out faxes and switched to email html with graphics and links.

Trash-Proof News Releases was revised and published again to focus on and illustrate the techniques that work best using email to reach media and get coverage. It was published in 2015.

The one major change that has occured since then is the continuing changes and evolving changes to search engine algorithms starting with the Google Panda and the Hummingbird updates. It is no longer effective to use free news release distribution services and expect them to have your news release posted all over the Internet and in news search engines. The search engines now routinely penalize duplicate content and require sites to place a no follow command when a news release is posted so that they are not indexed and then found by the search engines.

So quality content was elevated over spam. And now, if you use a news release, your purpose and goal is to persuade the media to do their job using you and your creative work as the centerpiece of their coverage.

You need to learn and recognize that they will require you to help them create unique content so that what gets published or produced meet’s their needs and maybe if you are lucky, some of your own.

The other major change is that you can now find media and pitch journalists and producers on social media.

These were major motivators behind the decision to first create Search Word Pro which evolved into the new creation Presari www.Presari.com

Presari helps you create the keyword strategies and the best content you need to use to find and reach out to media of all types using search engines and social media platforms. You can now search for whatever you want and find all sorts of influencers anytime. Yes, the search engines can set you free.

Free Trash Proof ebook downloads

The link below goes to a PDF file copy of the 2015 Edition of Trash Proof News Releases.

The free download also includes in a one hour Powerpoint Presentation I developed and gave to audiences all over the country. The original title of the presentation was How to Make the Media Fall in Love with You. This version is titled Trash Proof News Releases (and other Marcom) That Really Work.

Enjoy

Trash Proof News Releases ebook download (PDF):
http://test.directcontactpr.com/s/K6808840019040

Here’ a clean link to just the presentation:

Trash Proof PPT Presentation (PDF): http://test.directcontactpr.com/s/L7810140021762

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The Blood, Sweat and Tears for Getting Publicity

The Blood, Sweat and Tears of Getting Publicity for Professional Branding

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 to sell 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 our lives a lot easier.

You’ll give me better more newsworthy information, it will take us less time to write a good news release, you’ll get more publicity when we do send it out, and I’ll get to spend more time fishing.

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

The Key Psychology for Dealing with Media

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 and 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 and 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.

Now to really make the connection with your media targets when you pitch to a media person, you have to give them 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 every day.

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 just two key critical elements:

1. their readership interests; and

2. editorial style and requirements (e.g., mandatory 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’s a link to an article I wrote that explains this in more detail:

The Hot Button Theory: Maximizing Media Response to Your News Releases http://blog.directcontactpr.com/index.php?s=hot+button

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 theatres 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.

Use the 3 I Technique

My 3 I technique is really useful at this point. Here is what the 3 I Technique consists of:

1. Identify your Success Story
2. Imitate What You See
3. Innovate with your own information.

Remember, this step wise process helps you nail two most critical elements of importance to your media target on the very first draft.

• Readership interest
• Editorial Style

Nail it, and you get a chance. Hit people’s hot buttons and galvanize attention. To do this you need to focus on developing the very special ideas and content that helps them be successful.

Learn more about this technique here: http://blog.directcontactpr.com/category/3-i-technique/

Help the People You Can Help the Most

One of the most successful types of news releases to use is the problem-solving tips article or advice article.

Even if you have written fiction or romance, you can turn the world of fantasy into something real by offering solid advice or actionable insights that only you can offer because of the unique expertise you acquired in your life.

So here’s an exercise to help you create the right content.

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 its best that we seek here, so that people are so enamored with you that they buy everything you have available for sale.

Bottom line:

Do your homework – study what your target media are publishing. Study what is being published today and realize this is the very best critical business intelligence you can find. Then utilize it to match media readership interests and editorial needs in your pitches.

This is the very best path to use to get the media coverage you seek.

This is perhaps one of the easiest writing assignments you will ever receive. Use the 3 I Technique from now on, every time you seek to get media coverage, or social media shares, or interviews, or whatever.

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 comments and recommendations to you on what to do with it to help target and reach the right audiences and get you 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.

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.

Content Marketing: Using The 3 I Technique to Create a Publishable Content

Content Marketing: Using The 3 I Technique to Create a Publishable Content

I received lots of questions today about how to get the most out of my 3 I Technique.

There’s a neat way to create publishable content that you pitch in a news release. It’s called, “The 3I Technique” and you use it to create appropriate publicity materials for yourself, using articles about other people (= PR success stories) as a guide.

The 3I Technique works like this:

Step 1. Identify the Success Story (using the search engines to identify appropriate articles)

Step 2. Imitate it (pick one and mimic it line by line)

Step 3. Innovate it (by writing an article just like your success story, but using your own information).

Very simply, you must follow in the footsteps of those who have been successful with the media before you.

Using the 3 I Technique allows you to identify other successful media coverage and leverage it for your own practice.

Now to arm you so that you can develop releases and deploy these strategies freely, do a number of searches using your key words.

Then you’ll be able to use The 3 I Technique and do what’s necessary any time and you’ll be on your way.

Things you can’t do if you want publicity — What definitely doesn’t work

There are certain news releases that simply look more like advertising that news to most editors. Thus, while commercial advertising elements generally may be great for direct marketing, they are generally are fatal when placed into a news release.

¨ Anything that resembles a request for free advertising.
¨ Hard sell commercial pitches or marketing hype.
¨ Pithy quotes from executives & corporate gobbledygook.
¨ Clearly incomprehensible technical mumble jumbo.
¨ Freebies or discounts on prices or demos or consultations.
¨ Offers for free samples
¨ Promotes a product without more.
¨ Simply promotes a web site
¨ Promotes a publication or e-zine.

Although this may ultimately be your goal, the purpose of a news release is not to sell product. The purpose of a news release is to persuade an editor to give you news coverage – to publish information about you or your product.

You just need to interest the media decision-maker, and make it easy for them to do their job.

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

Tell Me a Story! Five essential elements for being on the front page of your target media

Five essential elements for being on the front page of your target media

More than anything, your audience seeks a story containing knowledge of success and a happy experience. Let me share with you an example.

I was on an airplane to Los Angeles wondering what I was going to say at a conference where i was speaking, when I had a breakthrough in understanding media. I had stared at the cover of USA Today and I glanced from story to story and there it was. The common elements of news on the front page again and again. Then i went to the magazines one right after another. Same elements. Everywhere! I just wrote down what I saw. Five simple elements, which I made into an acronym for easy storage and ease of use.

DPAA+H

I’ll share this with you now.

You are in the driver’s seat when it comes to selecting what you will tell people.

If you want attention that drives people to you, you have be engaging and you have to bring it on quick.

If you want to take your connections to a new level, tell people a story and make it:

DRAMATIC

PERSONAL

ACHIEVEMENT in the Face of

ADVERSITY

and add in a little HUMOR if you can.

Look around and you’ll see that these five elements are the most common things that are featured in both successful media coverage and in marketing communications.

DPAA+H

Study the top media. Look at he headlines and read the lead sentence and the first paragraph.

You can do it, too.

Creating the Best Online Media Kits

Advice on creating the best online media kits

There are a few articles on my web site all about media kits both regular and online. Here are the links:

What Goes in Your Media Kit? Have a ready to use media kit toolbox
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=79

Building a Really Effective Online Press Center
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=80

The online media kit is simply the electronic version of a regular media kit. Instead of paper delivered, you place the content, photography, bio, advice, book covers, and references on a dedicated web site page that is easy to find, navigate and use. All the key core content media requires is made available with links or downloads.

Every media kit must be designed to meet the media’s needs. The goal with media is to get media coverage. Feature stories, interviews, and product reviews are the most common goals for most creatives. Photographs, videos, music play, event announcements, calendar items, op-eds, columns, and even letters to the editor are other possibilities.

You select and design the numerous key content components to match the entity seeking the coverage to the target media style, content, and requirements.

The most effective online media kits give the media everything they need to do their job, the way you want that job done.

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.

Targeted Publicity Program for a History Book

Targeted Publicity Program for a History Book

A Publish-L list member, wrote:

In November, I published a 400-page (20 in color) hardbound reference book with dust jacket about a particular regiment during the Civil War. It is the first of four books planned about the regiment. It is in pdf format without an ISBN. Although I’ve sold 300 copies locally (at $30 each), I’ve probably exhausted my available client list and would like to be able to offer it online in some format.

What should be my next step?

I’ve worked with a few authors and publishers of history, military, and civil war books so I’ll offer up some strategy and ideas from a book publicity standpoint. At the end I’ll point you in the direction of taking the same outreach communications and aiming at the “interest groups” you can reach directly using a similar but adapted approach. Here goes:

You can seek book reviews in certain media categories, but I believe this is one of those cases where feature stories filled with anecdotes, factual data, interesting information, and photos (hopefully some are available), will enable you to convey some portion of what the books offer so that you can make a truly favorable impression with the best galvanizing content.

There are several ways to target the different pools of media who we have seen respond with interest to books like this. I’m using the online Cision database which covers the US and Canada to provide the following information:

First there is the history media, with two key subcategories, national history and local history. I just created a custom media list and while it is not a big pool of media (770 media in the raw data Cision search but when I take out the empty & duplicate emails there are 646 media left) the people who cover this topic do have avid readers. I saved this list and will send it to you so you can see who is on this list. In the local history category, you will have to hand select media that align with the geography of the book and the people in the regiment.

Second there is the military media. The Cision count shows over 700 media (before cleaning) that cover this topic. There are military history buffs and depending on the stories you tell, you can get different types of military editors interested. There are several military subcategories including military lifestyle, Armed Forces, and other specialized categories. I’d recommend you study how a few of these media do military history feature stories first, and then use my 3 I technique to create a story pitch that looks like it belongs inside your target media.

Third, you can target media geographically and seek local feature stories based on the locations covered in the books, where the events covered by the book took place, and where the families of the people resided at the time.

Fourth, you could offer this out to all the non-fiction and general book reviewers. My latest database count from Cision for the categories of books, book reviews, authors, fiction, non-fiction, literature, and writing identifies over 3,300 media listings (before cleaning)..

Fifth, you could send an interview pitch to the NPR and PBS stations and shows. I’d recommend this go nationwide, but again, I would expect the media in the geographic areas covered to express the most interest, depending on how you spun the stories. To get to the national level, you would need to offer information and insights that have national implications, especially as regards what we see in our lives today, which is a consequence of what you write about. There are about 1,100 NPR radio station media and 800 PBS outlets.

Sixth, if there is ethnic or multicultural element, say the book is about an African American regiment, then you have an additional media pool who will have interest in the topics you write about.

I worked recently on a book by James Cameron, titled Color of War, a book which is based on extensive research and first-hand interviews with veteran white Marines and black Marines and African-American sailors who survived Port Chicago, a historic disaster in WWII. Campbell crafted The Color of War to paint a gripping picture of July 1944, the explosive month that changed the course of history. The Color of War juxtaposes the spirit of the Greatest Generation with the scars of segregation. In June 2012, in a fitting tribute, the black Marines who fought in Saipan will be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their WWII service. President Obama signed legislation to create the nation’s 392nd national park, the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial in Concord, California, to commemorate the explosion and the men who lost their lives at Port Chicago. The PR effort was pretty successful and got coverage in newspapers, magazines, radio and tv both locally in Chicago and nationwide. (I’ll send this news release to you and a few others so you can see what history news releases look like.)

I think the most critical element of your approach to media would be to not simply describe what the book contains. You have to tell entertaining stories that are so good as to intellectually and emotionally engage the audience and capture their imagination and make them relive a piece of the history. If they like the hefty taste you give them enough, then they will want the whole set of books. The news release offers stories and photographs so as to communicate to media both the printable, audio and visual elements of the stories that can be shared so the media can easily imagine what the finished media coverage looks like and sounds like. You’ll have to be willing to let the media publish or use on TV the photos you have available for their feature stories. You might want to be the interviewee but you may also want to see if you can find family member descendants so as to enlarge the pool of people so you can add depth and greater human interest.

The next area to follow along and create a parallel outreach strategy by using Google to identify the clubs, associations, institutions, museums, events, historical societies, and other groups of people who devote considerable time and interest to all the above subject matter areas: history, the civil war, books, military, veterans, and so on. Start locally (e.g., with a search on “civil war history club + your location”) and branch out with sequential searches systematically, city by city, county by county, state by state, and so on, depending on how far you can reasonably travel offering to speak and give talks and lectures.

This will keep you busy for a while!

Is there anybody out there?

Discusses active vs. passive methods of delivering a news release

When you write a news release your goal is to get publicity – media coverage about you and your book – either an article or an interview. To do that you have to write a news release that is persuasive and interesting and then make sure it gets to media decision makers.

The technology you use to reach media decision makers has an incredible influence on the effectiveness of your outreach.

Online news release services will post a news release (a page of text and some even do multimedia pages) and then post a snippet (short description) or maybe even just a headline or a subject line with a link to the news release page and your content. Media have to search to find it and read it. The headline may be on top of the list of news releases posted for only a few minutes before another one is added to the system and then it gets pushed down as it is replaced by others. It may be accessible to media if they have signed up to receive news releases for selected keywords they are interested in. But they still may only receive an email with a list of subject lines or snippets and this may not produce a very high response.

The data you see on the reports from these services is also terribly misleading. You do not know really how many people saw your pitch, compared to how many machines or even search engine spiders actually are causing the hit. Page hits do not equal media coverage.

The meaningful measurements are:

How many media actually responded with an article or an interview;

How many review copies requested;

How many and what quality blog posts you get with links and attribution;

How many quality articles/reviews and interviews results from you then sending your book and media kit; and finally

Did you sell ultimately product and produce a return on your investment that exceeded the cost of your outreach;

The challenge with this process is that you have to communicate meaningfully with media and first persuade them to give you coverage and second, the coverage you get has to trigger action on the part of the audience.

I prefer using email html and the phone to get maximum effect when I write a news release.

This way you hit the maximum number of key media people directly with a pitch and follow up with them so you find out if they even received it, and if so what they think. If you can get them interested in getting more ideas, information and proposals from you, then the door opens. .