Tag Archives: publicity

Planning your Communications Strategy—Publicity

Building Your Public Platform Series Public Relations for the Author–Part 7

Author Series #6

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.”

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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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.”

If you find this task daunting, give us a call. We have been doing book publicity for 29 years! We have many different ways we can get you the media interviews and reviews you need!tina's first name signature




Building Your Public Platform Series Public Relations for the Author–Part 5

Author Series #5

Do you know who your reader will be? Beyond your family and close friends? I have had most first-time authors come to me and say, “My book is for everybody.” This is rarely the case.

To create a public platform, it will be very important to know who your audience is and who you are writing your message to. Here are some steps to take to determine who the target market is for your book:

  1. First, start off by identifying your target consumer of your book. Is this person male or female? What is their age? Is he/she married? Do they have children? Where do they live?

This can look like: I am writing about how to raise a child that will not boomerang, move back home, as an adult. My target audience is the female reader over 45. Males would be a secondary audience. These females will be married, divorced and single. They have at least one adult child, over the age of 21. They live in the United States and possibly Canada.

  1. Then think through and answer the following questions:
  • What are they challenged with?
  • What problems do they need to solve?
  • What are their goals and values?
  • Where are they getting their source of information?

This can look like: I am writing to parents of foster children. They are challenged with children who have multiple emotional problems and some may have physical problems. Their biological kids may have difficulty accepting the new sibling. They need help to figure out how to blend their family with as little stress as possible. They value family and their goal is to have a loving household. They get their information from websites that cater to foster parents, seminars for fostering and church.

  1. Another thing you can do is solicit friends and family. You can email them with these lists of question tailored to your topic or put a question up on your Facebook page.
  1. Lastly, research. Once you know the profile of your reader, you will want to research the reader’s habit. Take note where the congregate online. See what they are buying. Find out where they get their information. In your research, you will want to also find out who your competition is and what they are doing to sell their books. You will need to search and see how well their books are selling. Here are some good places to gather information:

Once you have this information, you can make a profile about who your target market is. You will know what they like, where they meet/congregate, and how they like to receive their messages and news. You will be able to use this information to help inform you on the next steps, creating the written plan.

If you need help, we can coach you or do the work for you.  Just send a message and we can let you know what we can do.tina's first name signature





Building Your Public Platform Series Public Relations for the Author–Part 2

Author Series #2

Communication, the giving and exchanging of information, has become even more difficult in the 21st century. Where we use to have a few channels to communicate a message (three television channels, local & regional radio programs, newspapers, and magazines), now there are thousands.

Noise, as it relates to communication, is defined by Business Dictionary as: “Anything that interferes with, slows down, or reduces the clarity or accuracy of a communication.” Today, People have countless choices to find their information. And information, as you know, is now 24/7 and instant. With these choices comes many interruptions that we call “noise.” How many of you get notifications on your phone every few minutes from some news source on some breaking news?

So, you ask.  How much noise is out there?  Let’s take a look at the channels:

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  • 16,000+ TV Networks in the US including cable/represents 116.6 Million US Household
  • 15,000 + Radio stations in the US
  • 7,291 magazines (print and online) in US (2014) / 1,331 newspapers in US
  • Facebook: 1.59 billion ( as of December 2015)
  • Instagram: 400 million (as o f September 2015)
  • Twitter: 320 million (March 2016)
  • LinkedIn: 100 million (October 2015)
  • Pinterest: 100 million (September 2015)
  • 7 million blog accounts

That is a lot of noise! So how can you use public relations and build your platform? Before the internet and social media, you would hire a PR practitioner. This person would write a press release and mail, or email, to the journalist or program host. This would be followed up by a telephone call to book interviews or reviews.

Today, while there is still much value in hiring a professional, there are many things you can do to enhance your own PR. In a Fast Company article titled “Defining the Future of Public Relations,” Jarone Ashkenazi states, “At its core PR is still about great storytelling but the future of PR is about creating a shareable experience.”

Now you have an opportunity to share your stories (books, messages) to many different audiences in many different ways. Because of the different channels available to you, you can establish yourself as the authority in your area. In an article about Disney, the author states: “Even the most boring of industries can find ways to make their content marketing and social presence stand out. Write like you speak, be specific, let your sense of humor show and tell your story visually.”

Need help sifting through all the noise.  We can help. Just send us a message!

tina's first name signature



That’s Not How it Works! That’s Not How Any of This Works!

When Beatrice announces, “I’ll just unfriend you” in the popular Esurance commercial, one of her friends declares, “That’s Not How it Works! That’s Not How Any of This Works!”

When it comes to publishing a book, growing a ministry or building any sort of public platform for your message, many people are like Beatrice. They have an oversimplified idea of what it takes to get their message heard or seriously underestimate the time and work that is needed to build their public platform.

Like Beatrice’s friend, we often find ourselves explaining the realities of what it takes to get noticed and be heard in the virtual world of social media and the overcrowded marketplace of traditional media, book publishers and consumer interests.

There are many others that, unlike Beatrice, don’t have any idea of where to begin and are paralyzed by indecision. Still others have fearlessly launched themselves into the frenzy only to become discouraged by the obstacles and lack of expected results.

So unless you have already “arrived and made it big”, you need a plan to help you get to where you want to go. But before you can put a plan together you need to better understand the road ahead. You may need a guide.

Public relations and platform development take TIME and know-how. It takes not only trying new things but also learning to do them well or correctly.

Here’s a few questions you can ask yourself. Your answers will go a long way in determining if you are on the right track or not.

1. What do you think that it takes to get noticed?
2. How long do you think it will take?
3. Do you think your expectations are realistic? Why or why not?
4. What is distinctive about your message, mission or ministry?
5. How much of your personal time and energy are you willing to invest to make it work?
6. Are you in it for the long haul? Are you willing to take at least the next 3 years to improve and learn new skills before you see significant results?

Tina Jacobson is founder and CEO of The Barnabas Agency