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I was at NPRS meetings in Omaha. I found out by the way that most big PR firms don't have a real clue about the Internet and E-Mail PR. Anyway, I caught a few subject lines about requests from people who wanted to know what works. This is sort of long, but I hope you find it useful.
Most of the people who come to me initially write detailed book reviews, not short articles intended to attract editors attention and get published. I often have to tell them to start over or shift gears.
A lot has to do with the content and quality of the book, but let's just assume that you've written the end all of all books in the field. This is the ultimate sensation. The only book anyone will ever need or want. You're all charged up and rearing to go. Now what... A Publicity Plan! Yes!
First, establish your goals for the release. Write them down. Memorize them. Remember you have to integrate your marketing with your PR and keep it all within your budget.
Let's assume your goal is getting the word out about your book. Could be an initial announcement, or part of a year long monthly campaign to a well targeted media list (again and again to get name recognition). You've got your schedule and this month your task is at hand. You want to get an article published in as many places as possible, to feed sales, acquire name recognition, drive web traffic, all the above, or whatever. These are common goals. You can be more specific, and this will narrow your options and tighten the true alternatives you wish to seriously consider. Think strategically. Narrow the goals and keep it as simple as can be.
What ever your specific publicity goals, you need to be mindful of the types of news releases that get published. Last April, I completed a qualitative quarterly review of our custom news distribution and the relative success people have been having in getting published as a result of sending fax and e-mail news releases. While this is by no means definitive, it is nonetheless useful.
We've seen one page releases sent to targeted media lists result in successful publicity (defined loosely as having resulted in either wide national publicity, a significant number greater than 35, top national interviews or bookings, or profit) for book authors, publishing companies, product firms, and government agencies, whose one-page news releases took one of the following approaches. Here's what appears to be working the best:
At least in my humble opinion, for those of you writing news releases or seeking publicity, your chances of success are likely to be increased if you follow one of these formats.
Even once you've settled on a type of news release, it all comes down to writing the actual release. Assuming you are aiming at print (radio/TV releases are a different animal) -- here's my advice. Bottom line -- find out what works specifically in the media you want to be in.
Go to a news stand, and pick up the latest issues of every relevant magazine or publication you can find. The ones you want to be in. Spend at least $50. Then dissect each magazine for book articles. Use yellow stickies, or cut these out and make a scrapbook. Study the publications closely and see how they write book articles and reviews. Make a list of the headlines. Study the style, length, focus, content, word choice.
Then start writing by imitating the articles you see. Remember most of the small articles (which are the easiest to get published are one page -- 200 words. Then re-write it fifteen times. Short and snappy. Vary the character of your news release to the media you are aiming at.
You've written the end all of all books in the field. This is the ultimate sensation. The only book anyone will ever need. Now tell people why in 200 words. Read it out loud as if you were live on the air -- see if it sounds good. By the way, good short articles in newspapers and magazines are often read on radio stations and on talk shows every day, especially on morning radio talk shows. This has happened to me. Listen closely when it happens. Remember what the radio announcer is doing. He's reading a paper or magazine on the air. Wow -- a force multiplier effect. Like being seen on Oprah and getting asked to do an interview with People magazine (Let's hear it for Courtney!!!)
A news release has to sing to you before you send it to me if I am to make you the best possible custom-targeted media list I possibly can.
Paul J. Krupin
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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