Posts Tagged ‘press releases’

Writing Wednesday/ PR Part 2/ Press Releases

WritingWednesday

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Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey to publication, marketing and publishing again. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. If you have any tips to share please do…

Public Relations PR Part 2/ Press Releases

Just when you thought writing the book was the hard part you were told you had to write a synopsis, then an outline, a proposal and the hardest of all a query letter.  You finish all of those and breathe a big sigh of release only to find out you need to write marketing, advertising and PR plans and those include writing press releases and media pitches.

Writing is hard

If you have the budget to hire a professional to write and submit your press releases for you, they are well worth the money. If a professional isn’t in your budget no fears, you can write your own.

The fact that you wrote and published a book is not ‘newsworthy’ to most media outlets. They are looking for news that is of interest to their entire audience.

The main thing you have to remember when writing a press release is you are informing the audience of something important to them, you are not promoting your book (that would be considered advertising.) What expertise or insight have you gained from writing your book? If you wrote a book about your transition from the corporate world to owning a bakery perhaps your angle could be ‘the pros and cons of opening a small business in (name of town,) or tips on how to have a memorable celebration. The possibilities are endless but you should choose 2 or 3 and stick with them.

The second thing to remember is keep it concise and professional. Use simple words.

The third thing is to send it to the right place. Do the research. Make sure the publication is right for ‘your news.’ If it isn’t something their readers would be interested in, you are wasting your time and theirs.  My suggestion is to start small, think close to home. Your small hometown paper, magazine or newsletter is a great place to start. On most media websites you can find a place to submit press releases. Does your alma mater have a newspaper or newsletter, does your church? Once you have submitted to these local publications submit to 3 or 4 city papers closest to home. You can expand from there.

Newspaper photo

There are web based businesses that are promising to distribute your press release, for a fee. It is time consuming but you are better off looking up the publications and submitting to them yourself.

Do not submit press releases to the same publication more than once a month unless the news is really big.

Tips on format:

Your headline has to be fabulous and should be no more than 8 words. You only have about 15 words to grab an editor’s attention so the headline counts big-time.

Next you want to put your first choice for the date you want the release to be published. Most people put, For Immediate Release.

Next you want to write an introductory paragraph. Press releases are written in third person. If you are announcing a book event, mention that and the host and any other authors involved. Think hooking the reader here.

Next you want to go more into ‘the news of your release,’ answering the who, what, why, when and where questions. Remember you cannot ‘sell’ in a press release so don’t mention where your book can be purchased. You want the ‘news’ of the release to be so good that the reader will go look for your book.

A short bio comes next and then you want to list your contact information. Let the editor know what contact information you want published and what information you don’t want published. I usually list only an e-mail publicly. If it is for a book event you can list the phone number of the book store or wherever the event is being held.

When a publication does publish your press release, thank them, promote them and share on social media.

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Next week: PR part 3-TV and radio pitches.

 

 

 

 

What unique angle or area of expertise can you use to make your book, WIP or your blog newsworthy?

Happy writing,

Doreen

*** Before the angel of success arrives in your life, you should devote yourself to preparing your welcome for her. Polish your craft and strengthen your body to be fit so that you can do your job and enjoy success when it comes. Sharpen your mind and spirit so they are ready to face the challenges that accompany a visit from the angel of success. If you are not ready when the angel knocks, she will flee. And who knows when she will make it back around to your door again. Unknown ***

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Writing Wednesday/ Marketing Part 2 PR

 

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesdays I like to share bits of information that I picked up on my journey to publication and preparing to be published again. The kind of information I wish someone shared with me.

 

 

 

 

 

MARKETING PART 2

You can find part 1 here:

https://doreenmcgettigan.com/?p=5230

Marketing is composed of Advertising and Public Relations (PR.)

This week I want to talk about PR. It is the communication that is created to show you and your business (book) in the best light possible. Good PR does not just happen. It usually takes serious planning, a lot of effort and patience.

Press Releases fall under the PR category. They should be short, no more than one page and should answer the questions who; what; where; when and why. They should be e-mailed to editors of print media and producers for radio and TV. Editors and producers are extremely busy. Chances are you won’t hear from them but your release could possibly appear in their publication or be mentioned in a community information spot on radio, TV or the stations websites. If you don’t hear from them and your release does not appear chances are they were not interested. Remember lead times if you are submitting to magazines or TV. Many of them plan their publications well in advance. It is never a good idea to call these people. If you put your contact information on your press release they will contact you if they want more information.

Reasons to send a press release for a book:

  1. To announce the release of a book
  2. To announce book readings/signings

Press Releases should not be sent for reviews. They should never contain links or buying information. That is advertising.

Newspaper photo

Talk show hosts, radio announcers and news anchors rarely have authors on to discuss their books. They are more interested in ‘experts’ on a particular current topic. This is where you need to get creative and prepare a pitch sheet. What has the research and the writing of your book taught you? As an example, my first book Bristol boyz Stomp is about the random road rage murder of my younger brother. That loss has made me an expert in road rage statistics, grief and victim services. When a road rage assault occurs, a producer or journalist (because I sent them a pitch sheet) may request an interview with me to discuss road rage statistics, give the victims view or to give listeners tips on how not to become a victim. Your pitch should include a very brief bio (related to your topic,) the reason you are the best person to discuss your topic and a list of talking points (what you are able to comfortably discuss on the topic.) Again make sure there is no advertising in your pitch. In your bio you can mention you wrote a book on the subject.

An agent or publisher is likely to Google your name before they decide to offer you a contract. Make sure there is something for them to see. Is your blog consistent? Is your Twitter page interesting and engaging?

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A quick way to increase your online presence is to write letters to the editors of local newspapers on current events. Most papers are quick to post these online. This type of letter, once in print also gives you publishing credibility.

Another part of PR is public speaking and events. If the thought scares you find a way to get past your fear. Approach your local library, your church and your bookstore with a pitch for a writing or blogging workshop, author panel, reading etc… Do these for free until you have established a name for yourself. The first people you should invite to your release party is the media.

Remember, the buzz about your book should always come from readers, reviewers and the media, not from you.

Social media is a clever tool for marketing and PR if used correctly. You must be human, chat about stuff other than your book. Be interesting and relevant. If you start or join interesting conversations with people they will want to know more about you, realize you are a writer and seek out your books.

The success of your book hinges on having a book that has heart; is a compelling story and is professionally produced.

Word of mouth is still an effective PR and advertizing tool however; that word of mouth can snowball if you have a good PR plan. PR can be much more effective than advertising. One mention of you and your book by the media can quickly legitimize you as an author.  PR works best in conjunction with a good advertising plan.

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After being cooped up in my office writing for eight months, in my pajamas the thought of going out and actually speaking to people terrified me. What would I wear? Would I sound like I knew what I was talking about? With each book signing and each media event my confidence grew. I actually enjoy it now. The key is being practiced and prepared.

Happy writing!

Doreen

 

 

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