Saturday, June 11, 2011

What Do You Expect PR To Do For You?

I have asked every potential client of mine the same question: What do you hope the PR, that we presumably can generate, will do for you? Many authors are either surprised I asked the question (because it should be obvious they want to sell books) and many authors are momentarily speechless (because they realize they are not sure of the answer).

Good PR generates media coverage for someone, but more specifically, it delivers both a quantity and quality of media hits. And even more specifically, the media coverage is targeted, reaching the designated demographic that coincides with that of your book’s potential readership. But what should all that attention achieve?

Everyone wants to sell books. Many express a desire to be a best-selling author. But some want the PR to help them with their careers or business. Others hope the PR will improve their resumes to help get speaking engagements. Some want to impress publishers and literary agents, to help them land a new book deal. Others want a platform to spread their views, an outlet for their ideology. Others genuinely want to help others and believe their information will save others. Some have a huge ego to assuage and need the PR to feed it.

Some mistakenly believe the PR will come to them because their book is peerless. Others think if they throw enough money at PR their book will automatically get media coverage. Many believe the media is desperately looking to fill their airtime or publication space with anything that comes their way. The authors are optimistic, confident, and secure in the belief they deserve their 15 minutes of fame and the riches that presumably flow with it.  And why not? 

It’s the American Dream to write a book, become famous, and make a lot of money.  And on an almost daily basis we learn of living examples of people becoming overnight sensations.  The only problem with all of this is people ignore the obvious – the odds are stacked against any of this happening for them.  They refuse to acknowledge that the competition is fierce for writers to crack a shrinking marketplace.  Everyone’s a writer these days – but who is a reader – and one that pays to read your stuff?

The truth is a good PR campaign can do many things for an author, but it is not always going to put the writer on a best-seller list or become a lottery ticket to massive fortunes. Below is a healthier way to view what PR can do for you, but I also caution, a good PR campaign is only likely to come about under the following circumstances: you have a very good book on a timely topic, you hire a professional, you are a good communicator…and you benefit from a little luck.

The additional benefits of a decent PR campaign can be the following:
  • Creates a branding of your name
  • Sells other products or books in addition to the one you’re promoting
  • Uses the news media to legitimize you
  • Helps you keep pace or stay ahead of your competition within your industry
  • Promotes your company if you have one
  • Allows you to control and define how the public perceives your vision or ideas
  • Positions you to collect higher fees for your services as an expert or speaker
  • Garners more traffic to your Web site or 800 number
  • Increases your company’s fees and enables you to expand your product line
  • Beats the cost of advertising; PR is cost-effective and generates results -- provides a real value
  • Puts your positive thumbprint on the message you want the public to become aware of
  • Creates a dialogue in the media and public - and stirs a buzz of debate on you or your topic
  • Publicity gives you lucrative credibility and currency in the marketplace, community, and in specific industries.
  • Publicity can bestow the title of “leading expert” upon your name
  • Publicity can call attention to you that could generate potential clients and additional business leads.  It can deliver unexpected opportunities
  • Publicity can counter-attack stereotypes of negative images about you, your business or industry
  • Publicity can earn you goodwill in the community
  • Publicity can greatly broaden and expand your audience and customer base
  • Publicity can build a portfolio of successes that can be used to gain a better deal on your next book or gain sponsors or land other deals.
  • Publicity gets your message out there in a seemingly objective manner.  It comes across as sincere and filtered by the unbiased news media.

I am sure you don’t need more reasons to seek out book publicity but it’s nice to know there are so many potential benefits to doing so. Now you’ll be ready to answer the question: What do you hope PR will accomplish for you?

*** Brian Feinblum is available at and can be followed on Twitter @theprexpert.

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