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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!

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.

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!

Publicity Planner for 2013 – Identifying Opportunities for Media Coverage Well In Advance of Deadlines

Publicity planner is a publicity calendar designed to help people identify opportunities for media coverage

Every year I create a forward-looking publicity calendar to help identify opportunities for media coverage in advance 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 are the links to the Publicity Planner for 2013:

• Color version (the dazzling beautiful to look at edition)

http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/Publicitycalendar2013.pdf or http://goo.gl/MMz6N

BW version (low ink eating printable edition)

http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/publicitycalendar2013bw.pdf or http://goo.gl/LLScX

Many more useful tips, articles and resources are included in the calendar. The calendar can be printed or used on your computer.

Share freely. Reach out and help the people you can help the most. Enjoy!

Happy New Year! Stay safe wherever you go!

Publicity Planner for 2013

Magic in a Message! Creating the IrresistIble Pitch

Magic in a Message! Creating the IrresistIble Pitch

HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY AND DEVELOP THE IRRESISTIBLE PITCH?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting the Best Publicity

Guidance, strategy and steps to getting the best publicity

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.

Publicity Planner for 2012

Publicity Planner for 2012 - free pdf file download

Publicity Planner for 2012

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 link to the Publicity Planner for 2012:

http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/PublicityCalendar2012.pdf

• Snip URL: http://goo.gl/YtBUi

Share freely. Enjoy!

A Simple Publicity Plan

Steps to implementing a simple publicity plan

The steps to creating a simple publicity plan are this:

· Know your goals and objectives
· Arrange your critical facts and data
· Study existing news coverage to learn media preferences and style
· Write your news releases to fit in and fulfill media needs
· Transmit your news releases to your target key media
· Follow up to fill informational gaps and to confirm coverage

Getting more publicity in newspapers means going beyond the book pages

Strategies and tactics for getting beyond the book review pages

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

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

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

The 3 I Technique consists of 3 steps:

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

2. Imitate It (line by line).

3. Innovate It (with your own information).

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

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

Now search on your key words: children’s book

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

Here’s the search:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go for it!