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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

14 Additional Random PR Tips

  1. Raise an Issue or Ask a Question For instance, declare something interesting or controversial.  Should pets be allowed to sue for health care? Should we eliminate the presidency and instead have three co-presidents?  Should there be a legal limit on how much someone can weigh? Should people who have cosmetic surgery be forced to disclose this to the people they date?

  1. Give The Spark Notes When you tell someone about your book, the goal really isn’t to become the Spark Notes for them.  You don’t want them to know about everything in the book, only something.  You want to tease them, whet the appetite and make them drool for more.  So less is more here.  The second rule is you need to look at the vocabulary selection you use to describe things. Move from the functional to the descriptive. Load up your verbal diet with adjectives and use verbs that have some sound effects.  Don’t merely say your book is about how to invest money in the stock market – it’s about how to use the proven strategies and loopholes that rich people use to turn hard-earned money into bigger pots of gold.  With this book, you’ll retire early!  See the difference?  Lastly, always give an analogy or metaphor – something people can instantly relate to – perhaps something funny, something timely, something eye-opening.  So, use your words wisely and always remember, it’s style over substance when it comes to PR.

  1. Word of Mouth is what sells books.  Get the word out early and often.  Tell everyone you meet or know about your book. Initially, to get known, you need a grass roots campaign.  Where appropriate, speak before any group that you can find will have you – a church or temple; a college; a library; a book store; an association; a book club – anyone!  Partner with others to cross promote each other’s book, services or products. Link with people in a related or similar industry to you.

  1. Sell More than Your Book Have other products/services to sell, so that when your book generates publicity and traffic to your Web site, you are building customers for life with other items to sell them.

  1. Killer PR!  One look at the headlines making the news and you would see the best way to make the news is to, unfortunately, commit a crime.  So how do you compete with that – as well as all the ink given to celebrities, the weather, sports, terrorism, and the latest movie?  The first way to get media coverage is to tie your book’s message to the things that are making news.  Can you comment on the latest court case, or a tragedy like Anna Nicole Smith?  Well, if you’re an expert on paternity, celebrities, law, marriage, or self-destruction, you can get media coverage talking about some aspects of her life or death – even if your book never discusses the case.

  1. Predict the News Another way to get media coverage is to anticipate the news.  Check your calendar and look to see what holidays are coming up.  Memorial Day means war, security, international relations, death, history, etc.  Father’s Day means dads, grandfathers, parenting, family, etc.  Can you speak on those topics?  How about the seasons? Summer means stories about travel, camp, droughts, picnics, West Nile, baseball, etc.  Think of how your message ties into a holiday, a season, or an honorary day, week or month (i.e.: February is Black History Month, March is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, April is National Autism Month).

  1. Create Your News Make news with the results of your research, surveys, interviews with important people in your book, or the uncovering of hidden facts. Even if your book lacks original earth-shattering news, perhaps you can create a poll of say 500 people on your subject and then report those results.  If you can shed light on the newest treatments for a disease or effective parenting strategies or tell us the three smartest ways to save for retirement, people will listen.

  1. Keep it New An old book is only promotable when it becomes new again – revise and update your book if it’s older than six months but you want to hire a publicist. Or even better build on the book and create a sequel.

  1. Make it Personal We know that creating your book is a labor of love – and time and money.  But the biggest step you have to take comes once the book is printed and ready to be sold.  You need to have an aggressive publicity and marketing plan – or else your book gets lost in the tsunami of new books published annually.  And when you’re promoting you book, particularly to the news media, you need to make it stand out.  The best way to show off your book’s uniqueness is to make it personal.  To differentiate your book from others on a similar topic is not to highlight the contents, but to spotlight your very own story. No one, no matter the subject they write on, can have your story. You are one of a kind – at least until cloning takes over!  Link your work to who you are – your experiences, you credentials, your personality.  We must be able to hear a unique voice from the author even when the books begin to look alike.  So the next time you discuss your book, be positive, smile, and give off a confident, inviting look.  People must feel they need, like, and trust you before they’ll buy from you.

  1. Learn By Listening To Yourself It’s amazing how many people have never seen or heard themselves on tape.  So along the same lines, practice your interview skills on videotape and audio tape with a friend questioning you.  When conducting an interview your answers should not be longer than 30 seconds.  Practice narrowing your comments and message down to smaller sound bites.  Always say the interviewer’s name back to them when doing an interview – it sounds personal and friendly.

  1. Consult the Gurus Read publishing expert Dan Poynter’s material – consult www.parapublishing.com.  Publishers Weekly is the book world’s bible read it!  www.publshresweekly.com.  Keep up with the publishing industry. See Publishers Lunch at www.publisherslunch.com.  Also think about subscribing to www.publishersmarketplace.com.  Also consult John Kremer at www.Bookmarket.com.

  1. Network with the Pros Join Publishers Marketing Association (PMA) or SPAN. Get into a mastermind group of other authors like you.  Consult www.bestselleru.com.

  1. Budget Money or Time  Though you don’t have to hire a PR firm, you do need to set a budget aside to invest in PR.  This budget is either of your money (if you hire help) or your time (if you do it alone).  PR will pay off with book sales, prestige, boost your career, and position you for future book deals.  You are always branding!

  1. Build Up Your Media Resume Don’t expect national TV until you do some local media or gather press clippings. You must build up your media resume before you can even begin to think you are deserving of major media. That said, you have to start somewhere. The Internet, radio, and local media are great places to begin.

Brian Feinblum is the chief marketing officer at Planned Television Arts (www.plannedtvarts.com) and blogs daily at http://www.bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert.

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