Building Your Public Platform Series Public Relations for the Author–Part 7
As we have mentioned throughout this series, it is important to plan ahead. There are many elements that need to be completed before your book ever gets to print. Publicity is one of them.
Publicity is “earned media” as opposed to advertising which is “paid media.” Earned media occurs when the press, customers or others share your brand or content. According to an article at PRSA.org based on a study by Nielsen, “Ninety-two percent of those surveyed said they trust earned media.” Why? Because people trust the referral of others or the media. Earned Media “draws the attention of your prospects and customers, turns them into brand advocates and influencers, who will, in turn, push your brand before the eyes of more customers and potential brand advocates.”
And if that doesn’t convince you…in a study conducted by two professors at the University of Pittsburgh, they found that earned media, both traditional and social, has a “long-run positive effects on new and repeat sales.” They also found that while the sizes of these effects across the various media and sales channels differ greatly, that “traditional earned media activity has the largest per-event long-run impact.”
So let’s get started on your traditional earned media…publicity! It will take time to develop your publicity and relationships with the media. Here are some tips to help you develop your publicity:
- Start by writing a press kit. This will consist of:
- A press release about the book. This is a one-page piece that describes the book and answers the questions about what problem you are solving.
- A bio about you, the author. As mentioned in a previous post, this should be a heartwarming one-page piece about you, what you like to do, why you are writing, etc. Include a picture of you.
- A suggested interview questions Most broadcast hosts do not have time to read the books that come across their desk. They rely on these question to steer the conversation. Write a series of 7-10 questions in a logical sequence about your book or message.
- Q&A. Turn the suggested interview questions in a question and answer article by writing the answers to the questions. Online sites may post this.
- There may be other ancillary materials such as articles you have written, book trailer, videos you have speaking about the book or topic, etc. that you may want to include.
- Put all of these pieces together into one pdf. This will be your electronic press kit. Place this pdf on your website under the media tab.
- More homework. Do a google search for media. There are several places where you can find and purchase information. One of those sites is Mondo Times. Doing media research is more than just gathering a list. You need to watch and read the different outlets. Find the journalist that are writing or covering your topic. Read and follow their blogs. Don’t make the mistake thinking everyone is a fit for your message. If you have a serious topic on grief and death, reaching out to a high energy morning drive radio DJ is probably not the best place for your message. If they do not cover your topic, move on and don’t bother them. The journalist will be friendlier to those who have done their research about them.
- After you have written the press kit and have done your homework on the media, you need to contact them. Start by sending a query email. In an article in Fast Company, the author referenced a study conducted by Muck Rack that “92% of journalists preferred to be pitched by email…” Don’t attach files, those usually go to their spam box. The first email needs to be a query and should be personal. Even mention that you have read one of their articles or watched one f their shows, if appropriate. Don’t try to fake this…they can tell. Ask for permission to send them the book and/or the press kit. Then take the relationship from there.
- You can check back with them several times but don’t inundate them with a phone call or email them every day. They will write you off pretty quickly if you do.
Publicity is relationship building. It takes time and the ability to stick with it to capture the attention of the savvy journalist. A 2014 survey by Nielsen concluded that “PR is almost 90% more effective than advertising.”