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:
News Web Sites
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:
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.
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
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