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writng news releases

Boiler Plate for a News Release

Guidance to a novice self publisher about writing a news release

A new author self-publisher on the Self-Publishing Yahoo list wrote:

> Can anybody direct me to a boiler plate for a press release that I
> can use to create my own? I have heard a variety of different things
> should be included. Most say that it should be only one page and
> other say it should be three to four pages. I would like it to be
> brief and to the point and something I can send out via email to a
> variety of sources. … I need to get this done in the next couple of days
> because my book will be back from the typesetter by then to go to
> Amazon, so I truthfully don’t have the time, nor the money to be
> purchasing several books and wading through them.”

Goodness, this looks like you’re hopping on the first and fastest and cheapest train to go by without looking where you are going. You run a real risk of ending up somewhere down the river with no hope of getting where you really want to go. Are you really hoping this will help you achieve publicity and publishing success?

I urge you to slow down and first really take the time to create a marketing message that truly inspires people to take the action you want. Learn to walk and talk with people about your book and learn to sell and speak about your topic first. PR and news releases aren’t a guaranteed trip to the bank. You need to learn how to connect with the people that matter the most to you.

If you don’t really focus on creating a pitch that works and refining it until it reliably produces a good response (as in they buy into YOU and your book), then you will encounter failure no matter what media you present your boilerplate messages to and no matter what technology you use to spread the word.

On the other hand, if you do slow down you can create a short set of talking points that educates, entertains and galvanizes the people that you help the most. Then once you have proven that your MAR-COM works, you can use it in your news releases.

But this is what you need to do first and you can do this right at home with the people around you. What you say (or write) will depend on who you are trying to connect with, what they need (in the way of guidance or advice or inspiration or entertainment) that you can give them, so that you make such an impression on them that they want to buy what you have to offer.

To really figure out if you are ready to do publicity you might want to read the following:

The Magic of Business
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=105

If you are indeed ready and your goal is to persuade them you have valuable ideas that can help them, then I would recommend you emulate a problem solving tips article or a feature story article format, or a radio and TV interview format.

One of the most popular sections of my web site is the free news release samples — pdf file downloads of numerous types of news releases for you to use as models for your own efforts. You can find examples of news releases for you to use as models.

http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-downloads

Once you have a goal for a news release in mind, then you can use my 3 I Technique.

Create a Better News Release with “The 3 I Technique”
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=52

You may also want to go directly to the hot button theory article to get more insight and education in making the media fall in love with you.

The Hot Button Theory: Maximizing Media Response to Your News Releases
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=35

If you’ve never really written a news release or have experienced limited success when you do, you might benefit from reading the following articles:

Why News Releases Fail — The Most Common Reasons & What to Do About It
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=22

Press releases – which types of news releases really work the best?
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=122

Copywriting – The blood, sweat and tears of getting publicity
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=121

If you really don’t have the time and energy to put into doing your publicity yourself you may choose to work with a publicist.

Evaluating the Range of Publicity Options – Making the Right Decision for You
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=41

Finally – once you do create a news release you’ll need to then figure out how to transmit it to the right media. That’s where a good publicist can come in handy.

If you need help identifying who they are give me a call anytime, I help people in creating custom targeted media lists, book reviewer lists, and systematic action plans and tactics to identify the best web sites, newsletters, libraries, article repositories, blogs, forums, search engines, ezines, audio, video, radio sites and even social networking sites to contact to get the word out.

There are several other highly experience people on this list who can provide you with quality professional publicity guidance and assistance if you choose to make use of them. I highly recommend you take some time and do indeed read their books, study the articles at their web sites and contact them directly before you invest any more time and effort in your publishing endeavors so you avoid the personal pain and harsh financial impacts of failure.

One last little thought for you. I just am reading Reality Check, Guy Kawasaki’s newest book. I highly recommend this book to all serious business minded publishers, along with his previous book, The Art of the Start.

Chapter 41 is titled and devoted to DIY PR. He begins the chapter with a quote:

“If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.

~ Bill Gates.

Why News Releases Fail- Free ebook and Powerpoint presentation

20 + fatal errors people make writing news releases and what to do about them

This is one of my most popular articles turned into a Powerpoint presentation and an ebook pdf file.

Why News Releases Fail

Free Powerpoint Presentation here:

Why News Releases Fail Powerpoint Presentation

Free ebook pdf file here:

Why News Releases Fail ebook pdf file

The worst news release you ever saw. Extreme copywriting mistakes illustrated.

The worst news release you ever saw. Extreme copywriting mistakes illustrated.

Oh the mistakes people make when they write a news release.

The copywriting errors I see every day as a publicist and a copywriter are plentiful. It can be costly to those who send news releases that contain copywriting errors since all the copywriting efforts and the cost of conducting the publicity outreach produce absolutely nothing from a media coverage point of view. In fact, it can be harmful to the company and to the publicist. A badly written news release actually produces ill will and has a negative impact on the reputation of those involved in the effort. It can also be costly to the service that transmits the news release because many media upon receipt of the offensive time wasting communication will request removal from the whole service. This hurts their future business forever since they lose so many media.

Can you learn what not to do? Can you learn how to write a news release? Can you improve your copywriting skills?

Of course you can! It does take time to write a good news release, and you must study the existing news coverage, study the experts, and practice, and improve. It is not something you do well the first time or even the tenth time. Copywriting is a specialty and is not learned overnight.

Here you’ll experience the wit and brilliance of Herschel Gordon Lewis, one of the most important copywriters of our time, talking at a AWAI Copywriting Bootcamp.

First he presents the “worst news release” he ever received and does a quick and succinct word by word analysis of what’s wrong with it. Then he ends with a two minute re-write of Mary Had a Little Lamb, as done by the alleged copywriter of the news release. It’s hilarious.

For more advice on what not to do when you write a news release and how to fix it, you can read my article Why News Releases Fail.

Getting Publicity with Book Awards

describes copywriting tactics and strategy for getting publicity after receiving a book award

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.

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.

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..43j43i400.22856.26918.0.29259.16.9.3.4.0.0.164.924.6j3.9.0…0.0.

http://goo.gl/mA2yI

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..43j43i400.1776.6262.0.8576.20.6.0.14.0.0.134.488.5j1.6.0…0.0.

http://goo.gl/UTu3r

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
Edgar 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.