return on investment
February 5th, 2014 by Paul Krupin
Content messaging: Broad or narrow - which is better?
What did you say today? What did you sell today?
Look at your messaging. Is it aimed broad or is it aimed at a specific niche. Which sells best depends on where and how the ROI is returned?
If ten broad content posts produces a 0.02 percent ROI (in terms of dollars) and the ROTI (return on time invested) and you can get a 2 percent ROI off ten niche posts at the same ROI, then you get 100 times the ROI from your niche posts.
I personally observe in my clients and have experienced myself that broad content also carries a much higher risk of producing a negative ROI, if it produces “energy vultures”. These are people who simply become a time and money wasting drain which reduces and undermines the ROI you get from real prospects and customers.
Traffic does not always equate with profit. Sometimes, there is an investment required to to turn a cold call or inquiry into a hot prospect and paying client.
This is why I train my clients to go where your people are and learn how to turn them on. Usually that means teaching them something they didn’t know before.
But it’s not always niche content that does the trick. I have many clients who are superb generalists. They can be witty, hilarious, and make all sorts of people laugh, cry, cringe in horror or squeal with delight. Hey a half naked man or woman with six pack abs always gets heads to turn.
But when and if you get up close and personal, they turn you off. Their niche communications are too pushy, too impersonal, too demanding, and don’t deliver on the promise or expectations.
The lesson is that you have to develop whatever messaging you use carefully and test it till it gets the action you want. You have to study, analyze and improve every step in the funnel – every communications touch point and the overall process.
If you fail to track, then you lose the ability to know what is really happening. The trick is to take actions that can be tracked and use metrics that matter, so you can manage what you do effectively.
If you do something that helps, do more of it. If it doesn’t work, stop and do something else.
In fact, if you practice and test and improve your messaging so you do this really well, you will make them realize that hiring you (or buying whatever it is you are selling) is simply the best action they can take.
November 23rd, 2013 by Paul Krupin
Ethics and tactics of publicizing clients before and after PR success
A question came up in the Small-PR Firm group at Yahoo, about whether and how to best leverage the fact that you got a new client. Some comments said it’s OK to do so, while others indicated they had concerns about doing so. Here’s my opinion on the ethics of doing so and the proper and best way to leverage one’s PR achievements.
We are in the business of doing PR for clients and ethically, how they do their marketing is critical and sensitive business intelligence that we do not have the right to share freely. I feel that the very fact they have hired a PR firm or specialist is a privileged piece of marketing information and it is very poor professional conduct to share that without client permission to other people in the industry.
The release of this type of contracting information can be damaging to the client no matter what type of publicist or professional service provider you are. The client gets hurt because you may be good or you may be not so good. Either way, the competition gets to know what your client is doing and can counter that move in the marketplace.
You can get hurt if you promote the client if: 1. They don’t want you to and they get upset if you do; and 2. If you then fail to produce the expected PR performance. Either way, your reputation is tarnished with the client, and possibly in the marketplace if it gets out that you can’t be trusted. You won’t get referrals this way.
That said, the publicity achievements we get for the client are fair game. That information is far better to use in our PR promotions anyway, since it reveals and showcases the ROI we are capable of.
You can share PR achievements in lots of highly visual, colorful and impressive ways:
* Using a series of links to media posts, clips, or audio clips in an email (four or five links to top media with client names or project or news release headlines)
* Take photos of the paper coverage or of the best moments in a TV clips.
* Post ongoing PR successes each day to a “Clients in the News” page on your web site or a similar dedicated Facebook page with photo imagery and links each time you get something noteworthy. You can just send the FB link to prospective clients. You can place a link on your web page that goes here too.
* Do the same on a blog. Post the achievements and tell PR success stories with photos and links. Make these posts keyword rich and it will improve your search engine placement.
* Create a Portfolio or Experience page on your web site, and place the Portfolio button on your navigation bar so people can see it. Get your programmer to create a web form that allows to add posts with photos and dates. Over time these client lists can get lengthy and will be quite impressive.
. Create Slide shows from Powerpoint presentations and even Word docs showing the PR success visually. Then turn these into videos you can post or send. This is the type of “Project” you can post to LinkedIn. You can also post them on your website and use them in all your other marketing communications.
. You can use prior performance and your creative works to build and formalize your own referral network. Every now and then, you contact your clients and ask them to celebrate you or something you have done, you’ve created, or are doing. This way, you create something superbly helpful and you ask your clients to give it to people who might benefit from the type of problem solving answer you have offered.
I highly recommend you just forget about posting news releases about your own company to the online news release distribution services. With the Google algorithm changes, the only media coverage that really counts is “earned media” with truly educational and helpful content. You can read all about this here:
http://blog.directcontactpr.com/2013/09/google-changes-to-the-world-of-news-release-distribution/ or http://goo.gl/rf8yLQ
You want to use the very same tactics we use for clients to improve and enhance your own professional branding. Write problem articles, get them published or posted on industry sites. Write a regular book even a series of mini-books and use them as calling cards to get clients to know you are the best. Every time a client asks a technical question, create a really good answer. Save these Q & A’s and build up an arsenal of them. Post them to your blog and again, turn them into a multitude of useful marcom and use them in all the prospect interactions you have appropriately.
Hope this helps.
April 3rd, 2013 by Paul Krupin
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.
August 27th, 2012 by Paul Krupin
Paying for Book Reviews and Sponsored Blog Posts
Very interesting article in the NY Times about paying for book reviews.
Paying for Book Reviews http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/business/book-reviewers-for-hire-meet-a-demand-for-online-raves.html?pagewanted=all
The 331 comments are about as entertaining and interesting to read as the article.
I have watched with interest the growing recent pay for reviews phenomenon.
Personally, I don’t like the idea of paying for reviews, but like it or not people do like to read reviews and comments. Hence book reviews have become an item that people are apparently willing to pay for.
The challenge for authors and publishers is to get noticed in the marketplace. The publicity that reviews can supply is one of the ways they seek to achieve recognition.
The media coverage can be about the book, the author, the issues, the comments, the commenters, or the controversy — it’s whatever gets people interested enough so that they buy the book.
In some cases, it’s the book and the content and the quality that produce the interest.
In other cases, the book may not be all that great of a piece of writing, yet the dialog in the marketplace that is sometimes created becomes a self-sustaining wave that by itself generates a desire in society that needs to be satisfied by curiosity. The presence in media, whether it be prime media or online media doesn’t matter if sufficient people are motivated to click and buy, in hard copy or ebook format.
The reviews – good, bad, indifferent, ethically acquired merit-based, or purchased, and hence allegedly tainted by the financial interest, well, it doesn’t matter if it generates sales.
When I send out news releases in the past year, I’ve watched a new growing trend for media, especially bloggers, to come back with a request for sponsored posts – e.g., pay in exchange for coverage. This is a growing phenomenon. I’ve seen it growing in the mommy bloggers, the fashion bloggers, and in the college online services. We see the fees for paid reviews start at $5 a post to $300 for a product review and more. We’ve seen major TV networks charge $300 for a five to ten minute satellite uplink and even seen some “creative” major network TV shows pitch their services and capabilities to create a show back to use with $5,000 fees for a 30 minute interview that gets aired on prime time TV.
Is it worth it? Maybe. For some.
Does it matter that more and more people are seeking to get paid for their time, their effort, and the coverage they provide?
Media coverage has significant perceived value. This is known. We also know that feature stories tend to be more valuable than reviews. But even reviews have value and get read, forwarded, tweeted, and contribute to the search engine placement of owner sites.
There are objective trusted media (Associated Press and the Voice of America). There are media who express certain bias one way or the other (CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX). There are media you can rely on for certain types of coverage and reporting because of their appeal to their dedicated paying audiences (ESPN, Oxygen, O magazine, Cosmopolitan, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Reader’s Digest) and there’s media who simply report the entertaining or outrageous (The Enquirer, The Star) and the tantalizing and sexy (NY Post, Playboy, Penthouse and more). It may be print, electronic, or it may be online.
Coverage is what everyone is after. Some are obviously willing to pay to be there.
There are ethical (non-paying, objective, honest) reviewers and financially conflicted (paying, inherently-biased, allegedly dishonest) reviewers as well.
Some comply with the FTC disclosure requirements, and many don’t.
Obviously, it’s become a buyer beware marketplace. There is no reliable ever present policeman in the marketplace to protect innocent viewers from those who would take their money despite the FTC’s disclosure requirements.
Some of my clients actually have decided to experiment and pay for the coverage. In some cases the posts can be very useful in terms of the SEO value, since they trigger media coverage online and in social media.
The hits, the traffic, links, tweets, and conversation generated downstream can be significant enough to justify the costs.
But there is no way to predict the break even costs or value.
If you have an expensive product or multiple products or streams of income, then it may be in your favor.
If you are a single ebook author, and it is your first time, well, and need to sell a thousand $.99 books just to break even on your investment then it is a risk that YOU have to determine. It may be a role of the dice. You better think twice and enter the marketplace with your eyes open.
In any case, getting the word out there is something you have to try to do if you are going to seek the financial reimbursement of your time and energy. Being systematic, strategic and taking careful action to reduce your risks and maximize your gain, well that is something I highly recommend you do.
Reach out your target audience and turn them on. You can do this by creating a great book or delivering valuable helpful content. You can do this by doing what you do best or by creating controversy and getting other people to talk about you.
There are lots of reasonable strategies that you can use to trigger the interest that results in sales. You just have to create a good workable plan and schedule, get it going, and learn to do the things that work for you.
I’ve written a few more posts about the paying for book reviews issue. If you are interested in reading more, here’s a link:
May 10th, 2012 by Paul Krupin
Getting Publicity with Book Awards Update 2012
For those of you who do get a book award these next few weeks, I thought I’d give you my thoughts and advice on how to make the best use of your award as far as how to get publicity with it. So many people come to me and say how can I leverage this?
First I’d take a quick breather after getting the award and within a day or two sit down and do some quick research to calibrate what you are really trying to accomplish next.
I’ve written all about pay to play book awards like this before. I’ve worked with dozens and dozens of authors who win or are finalists (which in my book means you were one of several considered) in all sorts of categories by all sorts of organizations. My take it or leave it advice is that they rarely mean anything to anybody from a PR standpoint. They may result in a minor amount of media coverage IF you choose to do an outreach promoting yourself as someone who won an award. They may or may not mean anything as regards actual book sales.
Read all you want: http://blog.directcontactpr.com/category/awards/
Realize that media want quality yes, but they want objective proof and not paid praise. With so many book awards being given out by so many organizations every week and with each author paying to be considered, the “objectivity” is seriously in doubt. Look at what the awarding organization is doing. You’ll likely see they are using it as a promotional vehicle for their own purposes. Their business model is usually very clear to see. $75 per book per category times 60 categories. If they get dozens of books in a category and they can get dozens of volunteers to do reviews, they they can do pretty well.
So media tend to play very carefully since if they publish something and they are wrong, then they get hurt in ways they do not like. The key to being successful with media is to give them quality content anyway, and not a medal that says “I came in second place in a pay to participate commercial contest”.
But as I said, the proof is in the pudding. My rule of thumb is simple. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, then do something else.
As Colin Powell said, “Don’t let a little bad data get in the way of a good decision.”
My best suggestion on how to use a book award in your copy writing and news releases is to study what is being published by media and see and learn how the book award information is being used and incorporated into stories. You can do this online by using news search engines.
I just did this for the key words:
“Book Awards”: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws&q=book+award&oq=book+award&aq=f&aqi=d2&aql=&gs_l=news-cc.12..43j43i400.22856.26918.0.292184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.924.6j3.9.0…0.0.
There are several interesting things you can learn by studying the results.
1. This is the season! There are lots of little local stories about book award winners.
2. The book award information is in the headline half the time. The book, the author and the importance of the book or the ideas surrounding the book are the lead.
3. Most of the stories being published feature the top award winners. Stories about authors who receive second or third place are much less frequent.
4. The biggest media write articles which feature the books who receive the top national awards in the top national literary contests.
5. The regional and local media writer about the lesser well-know or recognized awards.
You can also do a search on the words “book award nominated”:
book award nominated http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws&q=book+award+nominated&oq=book+award+nominated&aq=f&aqi=d2&aql=&gs_l=news-cc.12..43j43i400.1776.6262.0.8518.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.488.5j1.6.0…0.0.
Here you’ll pick up a few additional news clips and see that many authors are creating news releases which they submit to several of the online news release distribution services. But most of the articles that you’ll see don’t cover books that are nominated. A few do mention these especially when it is coupled with other newsworthy facts.
One of the more amazing things I learned when I did this search and studied the results is that there are tons of book awards. Just in the top ten pages of these two searches, I was able to make a list of over 50 different individually named book awards in the current window of news coverage (two to three weeks):
Commonwealth Writers Book Award
City of Calgary W. O. Mitchell Award
Next Generation Indie Book Award
Hawaii Book of the Year Award
Nautilus Book Award
USA Book Award
IPPY Book Award
Ben Franklin Book Award
National Book Award
California Book Award
Harvard Book Award
UK Christian Book Award
Grampian Children’s Book Award
BC Award for Best Canadian Non-Fiction Book
BC Award for National Business Book
Children’s Choice Book Award
National Business Book Award
Arizona Book Award
LA Times Book Award
New England Book Award
US National Book Award
Reader Views Book Award
Dartmouth Book Award
Vadaphone Crossword Book Award
McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book Award
Governor’s Literary Book Award
Julia Ward Howe Book Award
National Outdoor Book Award
PEN/Beyond Margins Award
Independent Book Award
Catholic Book Award
Corretta Scott King Book Award
Schneider Book Award (ALA)
Flicker Tale Book Award
Human Rights Book Award
Michigan Notable Book Award
Irish Book Award
International Reader’s Association Book Award
Jane Addam’s Children’s Book Award
Great Lakes Book Award
Saskatewan Book Award
AAPOR Book Award
Christianity Today book Award
American Book Award
Robert F. Kennedy Book Award
Northern Minnesota Book Award
Toronto Book Award
Phi Eta Sigma Book Award
Science Fiction Book Award
Hugo Book Award
Newberry book Award
Trillium Book Award
Ohioana book Award
Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award
Pushcart Press Editors Book Award
Now multiply by the number of categories, and then by 3 for gold, silver and bronze for the top three prizes in each category, and you’ll get a picture of how many people are getting awards and potentially competing for news coverage using book awards as a factor this week.
If you are going to create a news release and seek publicity for your award, then here my suggestions on the essential facts you need to include in your copy:
1. headline – Author wins prize/award
2. one sentence killer – knock their socks off description of what the book is about
3. unusual or interesting facts about the situation/the book/the author/the topic/the issues
4. the specifics of the award – what, where when, or how much and why is this award so important and prestigious
5. three to four paragraphs about the book, who it features, what’s amazing about it, why people will like it
6. basic book facts and marketing information so people can find it and buy it
7. author bio and information
8. book cover photo and author photo
9. contact information
10. offer for review copy and interviews if you want to offer these items.
Finally, once you have the news release written, it needs to be distributed to the right media. Proper targeting will maximize your chances of getting the right type of coverage in front of the people you can interest and help the most. So a children’s book needs to go to children’s media and editors, and a travel book needs to go to travel book media and editors and so forth.
You’ve worked hard to get this award. So congratulations. I hope this helps you take a few more steps in a positive direction so you can make the most of it.
If you get an award and want my help finalizing your news release and creating the right custom media list and getting the word out, just call me or send me an email with the facts and the book cover jpeg.
December 27th, 2010 by Paul Krupin
Book publicity and selling more books
Question Posted on Independent Authors at Yahoo Groups.
>> Do book reviews sell book? Yes, and the review sites can prove it, because they get paid a percentage of the “buy-through” from Amazon. They don’t sell that many, and more nonfiction than fiction, but they do sell. And why not try to get our books reviewed? There are only so many options open to us. We can try to place an article in a magazine or newspaper, we can try to get book reviews, we can enter contests and hope for the best, we can do book club talks, and we can visit our local book stores and try to get signings. Why not try them all? I’d stand in front of Costco with a banjo and balloon hat if I thought it would help. I write books that I hope people will read. How they find my book is immaterial to me. I write books that I hope people will read. How they find my book is immaterial to me. < <
I just don't believe that it's smart to rely on the "proof that reviews work" for others and make the assumption that the same process will work for you.
I also believe that if you are writing to create a real business, then how people find your book is crucial to your survival and success.
There are many choices an author/publisher can make when deciding how to profit off one's intellectual property. Hope is not a strategy. Systematic carefully targeted communication to specific groups of high probability markets of people with money, with dedicated monitoring and continuous improvement is a strategy.
The Naked Cowboy stands in Times Square in his underwear playing his guitar.
That's how he communicates with HIS PEOPLE. He's built a successful nationally recognized brand doing this.
He entertains and stimulates sufficient numbers of people who buy his music.
There's a teenage kid with hair down to his knees who plays a screaming guitar a la Jimi Hendrix each day in Santa Monica who also is doing pretty well.
So maybe standing in front of Costco with a banjo and a balloon isn't such a bad idea.
If it works for you, do it!
YOU have to determine how you can reach and communicate with the people who matter to you. If what matters is sales, then that means you HAVE to know how you are communicating so that the action you produce is sales.
Look at this model:
Write a book. Self-Publish in ten ebook formats and POD. Have the book available at Amazon and Google and dozens or even thousands of other e-stores. Send the eBook to book reviewers by email. Get reviews. Sell books.
Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?
What if YOUR PEOPLE, don't read the reviews.
What if THE REVIEWERS, won't even accept the ebook.
Yet this is what lots of people are doing. They write the book and pitch to a limited number of book reviewers. Then fail and stop.
I see this all the time. Sometimes the problem is the book. Some books simply aren't that good. This is one serious problem.
Sometimes the book is fine, but the author and the publisher don't take the actions needed to reach THEIR PEOPLE. And they don't have the stamina to go the distance. They stop before they learn how to turn THEIR PEOPLE on.
To me and my clients, this question is one that turns on return on investment. If the goal of writing and publishing is to produce sales, and there is only so much time and money to be invested in marketing, promoting and publicizing, then the determining factor is how many books can you sell?
People do write to try and make some money. You have to care about how people find out about you and your writing if sales are important to you. If you don't care, then there is very little chance that enough people will ever learn about you and buy what you have to offer.
My point is that YOU have to decide how to spend your time and what you receive from your efforts.
Book reviews are one option.
Feature stories are another.
You can embark on a program of speaking and or doing entertainment. People are successful in producing income and attracting attention that triggers action (e.g., sales).
Which tactic works the best for you? Do you know?
The LA Times article BOOK PUBLISHERS SEE THEIR ROLE AS GATEKEEPERS SHRINK (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-gatekeepers-20101226,0,7119214.story) is pointing out that it is possible to create writings and develop audiences using the new technologies that are available. The article only hints at what JA Konrath and the other authors are doing to gain attention for their writings so that they do indeed sell books. The article says “In addition to Konrath, bestselling author Seth Godin, science fiction writer Greg Bear and action novelist David Morrell recently have used Internet tools to put their works online themselves.”
This article fills people with hopeful and vague ideas that the future is here and that this type of success is going to become more commonplace.
And it may indeed for some.
BTW. Look at this article! It points out exactly what I am saying. It’s not a book review. It’s a human interest feature story. It is even a shining example of one of my favorite rules — the DPAA + H rule. It’s dramatic, personal, and tells stories of achievement in the face of adversity + humor.
So it does attract reader attention. It is emotionally engaging and even galvanizes people with visions of hope that they too can be a wildly successful author without being raked over the coals by classical mainstream publishers. It highlights the apparent simplicity of the new publishing economic model.
It also identifies the authors by name. It brands each one so that anyone who looks them up can now be exposed and potentially buy everything they have available.
Great article. This is an example of the very best type of media coverage authors can get.
Is it entertaining? Yes. Is it really helpful? Let’s look for the practical value.
Seth Godin and Stephen King can write just about anything they want and it will sell. They not only have created a huge national following, but they’ve each created consistent, high performing diverse platforms of communication that allow them to reach and sell directly to THEIR PEOPLE. They have created astoundingly successful communications systems that persuade people to take action.
Most people do not have these “Internet tools” in place. In fact, many authors write and publish without even thinking about how to reach out and touch someone, anyone. They don’t think about how to do so consistently, so that can run a writing and publishing business profitably and consistently.
The article doesn’t help most of us very much at all. In fact, the end of the article highlights what is identified as the biggest challenge to successful publishing:
“Indeed, the challenge in a world where anyone can publish a book is getting people to pay attention…. In a blog post titled “Moving on,” about his decision to self-publish, Godin wrote that “my mission is to figure out who the audience is, and take them where they want and need to go, in whatever format works.”
Seth Godin is talking my language. This is the field I work in. Targeted PR.
So back to reality.
You get to choose what you want to do.
And if you want to make money with your publishing, here’s my suggestion.
Follow the money.
The country is huge – in the US alone you have 330 million people. The potential is phenomenal. If you can develop a process for reaching people you can do very well. I believe you can even learn how to do this starting one on one in your back yard, anywhere.
I even came up with a cute little acronym which describes how to do this.
Think about what you do that turns people on. Test it. Get a sale.
Ask people who reacted the way you wanted them to. Ask them, “What did I do that turned you on?”
Capture it. Record it. Document it. Then prove it.
If it works, do it again. Test it again. Improve it by asking again.
Then repeat this process till you can stand in a room or present to 25 people and get half the people in the audience to hand you money.
Then use the many technologies you have at your disposal to present, broadcast and target YOUR PEOPLE with this proven message.
Decide what marketing actions to take and then document the sales and profits you receive.
Compare it to other actions you can take. Be systematic. Identify a pathway to profits. Determine if you have developed a process of steps that can be duplicated.
If it works, then do it some more. If it doesn’t, then stop and do something else.
Bring it on.
August 31st, 2010 by Paul Krupin
Paying for book reviews - costs compared to normal book publicity
Discussion of the new program to charge $149 for book reviews at Publishers Weekly. One person asked “Is it worth it?”
I write lots of news releases and send them out to lots of media and one of the primary goals for each and every one of my book author clients is to get their book reviewed.
I personally think that paying for reviews is just one way to achieve the goal of reaching and persuading people in a given target audience. I am seeing more and more media now say that they are charging for reviews. This is happening in many categories of media we deal with regularly. There are real reasons why this is happening and there are important tactics that those of us who promote books must pay close attention to.
To me the media are best viewed as publishers who make their living from writing, or using other people’s writing, to create something people will pay for. They only have two income streams for the most part, subscribers and advertising. To date, the core content that people who pay require of them, is usually a cost to the publisher. They have either employees, or they use freelance writers, and must pay for articles, or reviews. They create publications that they sell to buying audiences. That’s how they make their money.
Hence certain requirements exist when you want to be featured in a publication. The first is that you make sure you create something that matches or exceeds the quality or needs of the target audience, and the defined character of the media you wish to be in; and 2. That you then persuade that media that the audience in fact will be interested in what you created and 3. That you make it easy for the publisher to do their job, which is write something favorable that triggers sales.
Now for people who wish to get book reviews in library and publishing industry journals, the book review is helpful to getting the book before librarians and booksellers. So a book review in certain media has value.
More and more of these media are charging because they see the time and effort needed as a significant issue. It takes people, time, and physical space to manage a book review program that receives hundreds of books a week from authors and publishers all over the world. So the costs and manpower to do this is considerable. It is no wonder that media have decided to place a price on the process, to cover and defer these costs, and yet make no promises whatsoever on whether the review conducted will be helpful to an author or a publisher at all. I mean if you want to truly control the message that gets placed before a target audience, these media have a clearly identified process for doing that. It’s called advertising.
On the other hand, if what you seek instead is a bona fide objective review then you are forced to use methods of persuasion like sending news releases, books for review and media kits that contain the information needed to make a really favorable impression on media professionals, demonstrate to them that lots of people will be interested in the book, why, and what value it will have, and that even writing their review or story is easy with the extra materials you can make available to them to do their job (and defray their publishing time, effort, and costs).
This is what you need to really think about these days when presenting a review proposal to media.
To me, $149 for a review is a little high. Not only that, if all you do is send a book and wait for a review, then you are missing the opportunity to influence and control the outcome. That’s what you do when you work with a publicist.
If an author or a publisher invests $500 in an outreach effort, it is not unusual for me to see them get 20 to 60 requests (or more) for review copies as a result of their effort. One average, one can expect 50 percent of the requests to actually result in a review. So that means that the cost per review averages from $10 to $50 per review achieved. Follow up will improve the media response and performance.
Other publicists will cost more than this to achieve the same thing. You pay for the time, effort, technology and expertise and this is the business of strategic communication and persuasion.
However, book reviews may not be the only outcome or consequence from pitching to media.
The same PR outreach effort and $500 cost also triggers interviews and feature stories and even requests for speaking engagements. The actual outcome depends on the author, the topic, what we give to the media to share with the audience, the prior media coverage of the same topic or genre, the specific media targeted, and in many cases most importantly, the bottom line quality of the book. The value of this coverage is very hard to place a real value on. A single placement on FOX News, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, or MSNBC may result in hundreds or thousands of book sales and it may not. A single well conducted interview on NPR may launch a best seller. It also may not. Then again, a single well written and galvanizing story in the middle of nowhere but to a captive dedicated audience may also sell a great number of books. But then again, it may not.
The quality of the book and how it fits in the scheme of things is very important. But sometimes that doesn’t matter to the media. The content of the message is what matters the most. Timely content with high value to the audience gets the best coverage regardless of whether the book is fresh and new or old and musty. I’ve gotten many an author great publicity opportunities that failed to ripen into coverage because the book quality, content, and timeliness falls short of delivering the quality needed to validate the needs of the media for their audience. That is the challenge with many a self-published author and publisher.
July 10th, 2010 by Paul Krupin
Book marketing case study of book marketing success by a self published author
I love this. Here’s a story that illustrates one of my primary rules for getting publicity.
Take a look at The NY Times July 9, 2010 feature story about self published author Randy Kearse selling over 14,000 books by himself on the subways of New York City
This story illustrates The DPAA+H Rule. The story captures the five essential elements of a great human interest feature story:
It’s DRAMATIC and PERSONAL
It tells a story about a real person who seeks ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY
Finally it adds in an element of HUMOR.
It’s all here and this story shows how it can be done.
This story illustrates another of my key concepts – The Miracle of the Microcosm.
Randy has developed an experience based communication script that captures his magic words that turn people on and get sufficient numbers of people to take action. They buy his books.
He has a specific goal and knows that he must present to enough people to hit his goal each day.
He has developed and documented a systematic repeatable process for achieving a known level of financial success each day.
The article talks about Randy in ways that make him very likeable and very approachable. Several of his books are also mentioned along the way and he is positioned as being a very helpful dedicated and innovative individual who seeks to achieve financial success while he does his best helping others.
This is a beautiful example of the best publicity one can get.
Congratulations to Randy Kearse.
June 22nd, 2010 by Paul Krupin
Advice on how to get more talk show interviews and how to get the maximum ROI from the interviews you do
Start with the end in mind.
The real key to evaluating your media performance is your sales. Radio is an instantaneous communications medium. To evaluate your performance you might want to see if you can figure out whether you can trace book sales to the time and place of your interview.
Many a small radio station or show in the middle of nowhere have captive audiences who are very dedicated. They trust their hosts, and they do what the host advises.
I’ve done five minute interviews on small stations in the middle of the morning that produced thirty to as many as fifty book sales on a toll free number literally while I was talking. This has outperformed 30 minute interviews on big Arbitron rated stations and shows in major cities. This is because of the quality of the audience and the interview.
So when a guest does an interview and really shines, they can sell a lot of books very quickly. But whether this happens really depends on the quality of the performance.
Your success on radio (or any other medium and technology) really is determined by what you communicate to your listening audience. That is why you need to evaluate what you said and identify exactly what happened and when.
In my opinion, it is a mistake to say “My book”. It labels you as a person who is selling a product. It’s a turn off. Experience shows that saying this reduces or diminishes your success. So you want to prepare the host and make sure they have products and information in advance. It’s better to be a galvanizing guest and have people call up to learn more about you than to be seen as a salesperson hawking a product.
You want the host to be the one to mention and talk about your book. You want the host to lavish you and your writing with praise and point the audience to what you have available. You want them to be the ones who do the sales talk for you.
Your job is to be the best guest you can possibly be. You don’t talk about you and your life unless you really know that it is interesting and impresses people. You don’t talk about your book and your writing and your marketing unless you really know it interests and engages people.
What’s the very best galvanizing media publicity you can get that will produce the maximum ROI?
I believe that it’s a three to five minute piece that galvanizes people with you doing what you absolutely do the best.
So 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.
That is what you have to do when you are interview on radio.
The goal is to have a meaningful communication with the right real people on the receiving end. The message is matters, the medium matters, and the effect matters. The real value to the recipient is what determines whether they in fact are affected to the point of action.
So, did you turn people on to the point where they were motivated to take the action you wanted?
Do you know how to turn people on? Were you galvanizing? Were you funny? We your education or entertaining? Did you entrance people with your story telling? Did you plan and communicate your very best talking points? Were you boring or were you memorable?
You have to decide in advance what your goal is and then carry it off without a hitch. Then you have to evaluate whether you achieved your goal.
This is the key thing you are out to learn and to achieve. If you goal is to sell books, then ask yourself honestly, did you sell books? If not, then maybe you need to revise your script and your strategy until it does do what you want it to do.
Technically, you need to be on a single land line when you do your interview simply to achieve the best sound quality. Cell phones, Skype, even portable phone are all at risk for interference and reduced sound performance. You also must turn off all intrusions, such as other phones, door bells, cell phones, and call waiting. You need to be where you can conduct your interview quietly without anything distracting your attention or introducing unwanted sounds. Close all windows, close the doors, tell the kids and any other people that you need quiet and no interruptions while you are on the air or taping. Make sure no one in the house picks up another phone on the line you are using to make a call while you are using the phone.
BTW, I’ll go out on a limb here and offer up a point of some controversy. I’m not a big fan of blog radio simply because to date, my clients don’t sell a lot of books using the technology, or at least it is rare. It can be done. Some blog radio shows have developed some pretty nice dedicated audiences. Blog radio interviews also tend to be saved online in audio file formats that can be readily played on people’s computers (MP3, MP4, etc). So the potential is there for people to discover and play your interview again and again.
But does it compare to regular radio? There are over 6500 radio stations and shows out there in the US and Canada. When me and my clients do campaigns, it’s not unusual for a single news release and phone campaign to net us dozens of interviews. Some radio stations and shows have tremendous geographic reach. There are 10,000 to 50,000 watt stations in the Midwest that can be heard from Mexico all the way into Canada. There are radio network shows and syndicated radio shows that can result in a single interview being played in dozens to hundreds of affiliate stations. This is what you can do when you hire a publicist who has the ability to create custom media lists for you and help you pitch to hundreds and thousands of media.
The proof of whether it works for you or not is what you need to zero in on and document. The technology is not as important as whether you created and communicated a message that got the people you want to reach and influence to take the action you want them to take.
So, the bottom line is that you evaluate your talk show experience by whether you sold product. Were you successful?
If it works (and you sell product) then you are achieving success. If your interview sold books, then do more interviews just like it. If not, then study your message. Don’t conclude that the technology is at fault.
Your success with radio is just one of the many ways you can learn to be successful promoting your writing.
Learn what you can say to turn people on in your own backyard anywhere. This is how you’ll get the most effective publicity you’ve ever experienced. Once you create and prove this little script and once you really get it down and prove to yourself that it’s repeatable, you can use it again and again everywhere you go.
We’ve got a country of 330 million media indoctrinated people. They react to media messages in predictable ways. You can learn what it takes to get people to get interested in you. You can even learn what to say to get people to buy something.
And once you learn how to galvanize them in your back yard, you can use technology to repeat the message and reproduce the response again and again. Whether it’s radio or print or online it won’t matter. That’s the miracle of the microcosm in America.
March 17th, 2010 by Paul Krupin
What Really Happens When You Send Out a News Release? Marketing and Promotion Using News Releases
Marketing and Promotion Using News Releases
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.
Some of the most 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. At least you hit the maximum number of key media people directly with a pitch.
It is not unusual for me to see 25 to 60 media responses for interviews or review copies as a result of a news release I transmit.
Here are just some recent book project email outreach results showing actual media response stats to news releases I wrote and transmitted to custom targeted media lists:
Brian Bianco, Dressed for a Kill, mystery – two geographically tailored news releases on to the US media, one to Canadian media – 49 media requests
Stacey Hanke, Yes You Can, business communications, 34 media and interview requests (see the article in the Investor’s Business Daily from Monday Feb 22, 2010 http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=521721 and see Chief Learning Officer from Feb 2, 2010 http://www.clomedia.com/industry_news/2010/February/5124/index.php for a few examples of coverage)
L. Diane Wolfe, Heather, Circle of Friends Book 5, young adult, 29 review copy requests
Maggie Simone, From Beer to Maternity, family parenting humor, 65 media and interview requests, Among other things, our news release netted her a regular column at Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maggie-lamond-simone Lisa Pankau, Beyond Seduction, relationship self help, 42 interview and review copy requests
Louise Hart, Liking Myself, and The Mouse, the Monster and Me, children’s books, 65 media requests for review copies,
Dan Green, Finish Strong, inspirational self help, 58 interviews and review copies, outreach was coupled with Drew Brees and the Superbowl, helped raise money for NOLA nonprofits, a few dozen interviews and major media coverage
Andy Andrews, The Noticer, fictionalized storytelling, motivational self help, 173 media requests from two news releases staggered one week apart, major media included Fox TV, and others. (Go see what several years of monthly news release promotion and publicizing can do at the amazing press center at http://press.andyandrews.com)
HCI Books, Going Rouge: An American Nightmare, politics, not to be confused with Sarah Palin’s book), over 250 media requests, made NY Times best seller list.
Patricia Starr, Angel on My Handlebars, sports travel memoire, 36 review copy and interview requests
Derek Galon and Margaret Gajek, Exploring the Incredible Homes of the Eastern Caribbean, luxury travel architecture coffee table book, 75 media requests.
I have similar media response statistics for products, films and videos, and even consulting services and events.
The data clearly shows that media interest and responses are a real life reflection of public interest and predicted response to a communicated offering no matter what it is.
The bottom line, is this: If you offer up an idea that turns people on, they respond to it.
Of course pitching to media is a great way to leverage technology as a force multiplier. Each person you contact is a publisher and if you persuade them to share you and your message, their audience gets to see your creation.
It can be a great way to jumpstart and supercharge your marketing efforts.
If you want to learn more, here is a link to a one page info-graphic pdf which talks more about:
What Really Happens When You Send Out a News Release?
Paul J. Krupin