All media, big and small, is worth your time, especially when undergoing your first publicity campaign. PR is all about visibility and frequency of your message being heard. You can’t ignore any medium --radio, TV, print, and online are each valuable. Local coverage, national reach and even international publicity can be of value to you.
It’s not realistic to expect you’ll get major media your first time out, unless you have something of true value to the media- something they really want. National TV is the hardest medium to crack because to get it, not only are you expected to have a great topic or story and worthy credentials, they expect a media resume filled with newspaper or magazine clips, a roster of radio shows completed, and sample footage from local TV interviews. They want to see a track record.
To get major print coverage, a few factors are at play, aside from the obvious: having a good story. good timing, finding the right reporter, building on small-publication exposure, and luck are all parts of the puzzle.
National radio is broken into two tiers. Some national shows are quite hard to get. It is also difficult to get on a highly-rated local show in a Top 25 market.
The best places to start as a new author are:
- Small to mid-level radio markets
- Local media in your hometown or cities where you have a connection – a business office, or if you conduct a seminar, or if you have consulting clients there.
- Online media – create your own blog, podcast, and Web site and seek to get interviewed or mentioned on other people’s blogs, podcasts, or Web sites.
- Write op-eds or 500-1000 word by-line pieces that can be published by daily newspapers, industry trade journals, newsletters, smaller magazines or community papers.
You are initially trying to seek out exposure that will get a certain number of people to go to your Web site or to buy your book. They then become your word-of-mouth posse. For better or worse, they will spread the word as to whether people should visit your site or get your book.
Once you get some media under your belt, you can approach bigger radio and larger print, and if you get coverage from those two you’ll be ready to approach national TV.
However, timing is an issue here. Some media expect to be approached way in advance of your book being published. Other media will give you a serious look within the first 8-12 weeks a book’s been out. Once you get to the fourth month after the official publication date, the major media will likely ignore you. Why? Because by then, you will have contacted everyone and they don’t want to cover you because they don’t see you’ve gotten a lot of media and therefore, they assume their colleagues in the media don’t find you a worthy subject to interview. Plus, you’re competing with the next batch of new books and those will get a more serious look than an “old” book.
However, there are times when a book still has legs. For instance, if the book ties into a topic that is still making news – like oil, Iraq, a scandal – then they will consider you. Or, if your book is making news by climbing the best-seller charts or there’s a controversy surrounding it, then you have a shot at more coverage.
Another way to get coverage for an “old” book is if a holiday, special anniversary, or honorary day/week/month arises. A six-month old book about Martin Luther King Jr. will get attention in January for Martin Luther King Day or in February for Black History Month or on certain anniversaries that mark the civil rights movement. A five-month old diet book will get attention in January when people with weight-loss resolutions for the new year kick in or in February when people try to get into bathing suit condition. If your year old book on World War II warrants media coverage, something like the anniversary of the war’s outbreak or U.S. entry or the war’s end would be a good tie-in.
So which media should you do? Themedia that you can get!
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter, Media Connect (www.media-connect.com). . You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. Copyright 2012 Brian Feinblum
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