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Free Book Publicity Podcast – Are News Releases Effective for Marketing Your Book?

Are News Releases Effective for Marketing Your Book? You betcha!

On November 19th, 2009 I had a wonderful time being interviewed for Authors Access with Victor R. Volkman and Irene Watson about whether Press Releases are still revelant to marketing and promoting books.

We covered a wide-range of talking points, including:

* So What Exactly Is A News Release?

* Why Is This So Hard To Do? What Makes This So Special?

* So What Exactly Do Media People Look For When They Receive A News Release?

* So What Do You Need To Do To Write A News Release That Really Works & Truly Gets Media Attention?

* How do you know when you’re ready?

* What Specifically Should Authors Do To Create This Galvanizing Candy ­This Magic Script.

* What is the Magic Formula (DPAA+H)? (“Dramatic Personal Achievement in the face of Adversity, plus a little Humor”)

* Which Are Better For Authors To Aim At – Book Reviews Or Feature Stories & Why?

* How do you know when you achieve success with a news release?

* So once you have a trash proof news release, what do you do with it

Download the free Authors Access podcast interview free at:
A pdf file that summarizes all the talking points is also available here:

Are News Releases Effective for Marketing Your Book?

The Trash Proof News Releases is available as a free ebook at Smashwords:

Trash Proof News Releases

If you write what you think is a trash proof news release, send it to me and I’ll send you my extra two bits!

Not all media are created equal – targeting the right media – targeted PR

Not all media are created equal - targeting the right media - targeted PR

Targeting the right media takes special skill.

They say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. It’s exposure in front of people in any case. Right?

But it can also be true that even good publicity in the right media may not be worth very much in the way of immediate direct sales.

When was the last time you read a newspaper article and ran and grabbed your credit card and the phone?

When was the last time you watched a TV interview or a commercial and felt compelled to buy the product or service featured?

Then again when was the last time you read a post to a blog or a forum or an ezine describing a solution or a tip and found it so good that you went to the web site and contacted the owner, or bought a service or product site unseen?

The point here is that the context of the message and the medium are both important.

The right message has to be in the right media and your audience also has to be in the right state of mind to be receptive and even open to taking action.

You target your media by asking what do my customers read, watch or listen to, especially when they are in the mood to hear and act on information related to what you are offering.

This leads you to the right media.

The right media could be prime media: newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, news services or syndicates.

Prime media are still one of the most powerful and trusted media for the masses. Each media is a business that makes its income from paying subscribers and from advertisers who also invest money in advertising because of the number of subscribers.

The right media can also be online: blogs, Internet online media web sites, articles sites, forums, ezines, mailing lists, discussion groups, and social media and networking sites.

The right media is media where enough of the people who see the message take the action you want them to take.

There is no way to know for sure which ones will produce fruit until you place your message out there and see what happens.

You find them where you find them.

What is a News Release? Really!

What is a News Release? Really!

So much confusion over this simple question. Here’s my definition of a news release:

A written proposal:

– containing a request for media coverage

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

A news release is either sent directly to media decision makers directly (e.g., by fax, email, street mail, etc.) or placed where they can find it and use it (as when it is posted to a news search engine using a news release distribution service).

A news release is not an advertisement. You do not pay for coverage and do not control what the media says. It is a document that persuades media to give you media coverage. Your degree of success is often based on how much of what you give them to do their job is actually used.

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

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

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

But if publicity in media is what you want, you write a news release.

Knowing When You’ve Created Your Purple Cow

Knowing When You've Created Your Purple Cow

A question was presented to me today:

>> If CNN does decide to interview me, or if I’m scheduled for an interview on
>> any of the other cable news networks I’ve approached, I’m going to want the whole world to watch and learn about my concept.

>> I need to hire someone who knows how to use the Internet to make that happen.

Actually, I don’t think you need to hire anyone. I can’t imagine lots of people being motivated by a message that says ‘watch me on CNN!’ Think about it. You might send out an email to friends, colleagues and your mother, but most media won’t tell their audience to go watch you on another channel or network.

What I think you really need to do is refine your idea until it flies by itself when you present it to anyone and to everyone.

You’ll know you’ve got what it takes when it happens repeatedly and reliably and a level that produces a sustainable yield.

I call this the miracle of the microcosm. If you create something good and can communicate it so that people want it in your little neck of the woods, then when you go on CNN and say the same thing, it will have the same effect on millions of people.

But if what you created isn’t all that great, and what you said to people to get them interested wasn’t all that persuasive or galvanizing, then it won’t matter at all what you say even if you are on CNN.

You can develop your ‘mar-com’, script, or that magic sequence of communications yourself right in your back yard. You create the interview script that goes A-B-C-D-E and produces action XYZ.

This works because we are a nation of people who have been raised to respond to media communications the same way. We laugh at the same jokes and cry at the same sad stories, we cringe at the same pictures of tragedy and disaster and squeal with delight and water at the mouth when promised something sweet to eat.

Here is an article which describes a method for developing your own galvanizing communications sequence and testing it till you know it works.

The Magic of Business

Here’s a link to another article I wrote with tips and ideas on:

How to Be Galvanizing- 22 ways to be galvanizing and interesting to media, prospects and customers

To me and based on my experience with my own books, databases, inventions and clients, perhaps the most powerful thing you can do is make your presentation in the form of a helpful problem solving article or interview. Being helpful is the most important thing you can do to get people interested in what you have to offer. What you offer has to be truly remarkable and useful.

So here’s one more set of ideas for you all about:

Publicizing and Promoting by helping the People You can help the Most

If you do create a script that produces reliable action when you present it to people, of course, then it’s time to incorporate it into news releases and other business proposals and send it out to media and companies and organizations everywhere, so you can use the power of the media as a force multiplier.

I’ll be happy to see that ‘mar-com’ once you’ve created and feel like it’s ready to be pitched.


Are books dead? Is publishing dying?

discusses what it takes to be successful publishing, promoting and publicizing

Books aren’t dead. Publishing isn’t dead. It’s just that publishing technology keeps on evolving. The way we sell intellectual property is diversifying.

I work with many, many creative people and companies and what I am observing is that the number of ways people buy written words that they can read and acquire for value is increasing. As a publisher, this represents a major challenge. But the rewards in a country of 330 million people are still phenomenal. So I believe it’s worth the effort.

In the publishing field, you can start with a single book and then do what Dan Poynter has been saying for many years now. You diversify the intellectual property and sell it in what ever way people will buy it. So that means turning a book into a tape, video, ebook, or a workshop, or a teleseminar, or a web seminar or whatever your particular target pool of people will want and purchase. You can package your IP small and big. You can format it for pdf, Kindle, large print, tape, video, audio (mp3), video (MPEG, WMV).

Promoting it is the same. First you learn what you have to say to interest people and produce the action you want. Then you incorporate that learned tested message into your marketing materials. You start with your person to person discussions. Then once you learn what turns individuals on you expand it to small groups. Then you can move on to your news releases and then use the same core copy in your direct marketing materials.

Now you also have the ability and choice to reformat the same core copy and adapt it so that you can use it in all sorts of prime media formats and Internet media formats.

What you need to do is be systematic and test and develop and retest and redevelop till you have the content and communications that produce the same effect on people each time you use them.

What I’m seeing is that the use of technology is a force multiplier. Whether you put proven messages into a news release and convince a publisher to share your news is what you are aiming for. The choices of placement are now expanded. With prime media you have newspapers (daily and weekly), magazines, radio, tv, news services, syndicates. With the Internet web sites you also have the online counterparts to all the above. But you also have content opportunities at other people’s web sites, blogs, forums, discussion groups, ezines, mailing lists, audio, video sites, and the news search engines and specialized search engines. There is also social media – blogs, and the MySpace, Facebook types of sites, and the Twitters and more. People are now receiving plug messages for good stuff in all sorts of ways. Encouraging snippets motivate people when they come from trusted sources.

So in addition to creating THE TRULT GREAT BOOK, you also need to have galvanizing copy that not only gets you published but also searches well and motivates people to action off of very small snippets. You start with the book. Then you learn and document the best way to turn people on.

Once you get that down you can leverage it using the technology and mediums available to reach people. Each technology has its own style, format and communication system requirements. This means you may have to learn new styles and ways to communicate. But if you for example have a great problem solving tips article that produces media interest, you may also be able to use that core in articles and posts online at forums, blogs, mailing lists, ezines, and other places.

Even the David Meerman Scott’s New PR methods are basically just adapting to the new technologies. They say “write news release that sells product” because people can see it on a news search engine.

However the success still hinges on the quality and remark ability of the product, and the persuasive content and quality of the news release. People respond to quality. They ignore and bypass mediocrity. The good stuff rises to the top. The bad stuff sinks away out of site.

People tell their friends when something is really good. They also steer their friends away from stuff that’s not that good. That’s because people want to be seen as helpful to others in the marketplace.

And if the statement “You gotta get this!” or “That book is incredible!” gets flowing on social media sites from person to person, you can find yourself swamped with orders.

From my perspective as a publicist who helps people achieve success, the two base requirements for creators who want to achieve success are 1. create something really good and 2. develop the proven communications needed to trigger action by your target audience.

You must learn how to sell your product by speaking to people. Your personal experience with your products with your customers and audience is very valuable. You use their feedback to guide you to the best communications you can use.

Once you have this then you can use all the available technologies to communicate meaningfully with your particular audience.

This may take some systematic careful planning and effort. But it really creates opportunities. One book can be sold in many different ways. Each one is an income stream that can be developed and can contribute to a very significant income.

The most important thing you can do is to create something remarkable. That’s what you have to do first and foremost. It’s like making candy. You test your recipe by giving it to people and refine your formula till people just get a little taste and instantly want more. You’ll know when people like your candy by their reaction.

In my view, what you need to do is simply devote yourself to being the best that you can be. I see that success is going to people who help the people that they can help the most. This is true whether they are a writer or a comedian or a manufacturer of products or a provider of services. If you devote yourself to excellence and service of others, then people recognize and appreciate what you do, because you do it so well.

My job as a publicist always seems to be trying to help people find out what they do best because sometimes they don’t really know because they have not asked the right questions and really paid that much attention to the very people they are trying to reach, help or entertain, and sell.

It’s up to you as the creative source to produce the candy that make people go crazy and tell their friends all about it. That’s the base challenge – the key requirement. The creation has to be really good. If you are an author or a publisher, you need to write a really good book. If you are an inventor, you need to create a product that really makes a difference. If you are a service provider, you need to offer advice or help so that it really does solve a problem and improve what people can do.

If you don’t do that first, then not much can happen as you try to get people interested in it.

Once you create a product that taste like candy, then you have to learn how to get people to talk about that candy.