An interesting discussion came up the other day with one of my new clients. We were talking about public relations for this new product line. He was saying he wanted to send a press release out a week to promote the product launch. I looked at him and said, “Public relations isn’t about press releases and how many you can send out to get attention.” I’ve noticed sometimes people mistake advertising and marketing with public relations. I thought I would take a moment to clarify it.
Public relations is designed to raise awareness about your company, product or service. It puts your name out in the public domain and promotes your message. Problem is that some people confuse “message” with product promotion. Media doesn’t want to receive weekly notices about your product launch. Media wants headlines and news. When it comes to book promotion they want human interest and material that will spark discussions. Remember, media is in the business of “information” not advertising.
The reason you want to have, for example, book reviews done on your book is strictly to increase credibility that translates into readership. Book reviews also increase awareness about your book. Advertising books generally doesn’t help (especially new, unknown authors). Why? Advertisements are paid and give no assurance to the prospective reader whether the book is good or not. Book reviews provide that information. When readers are looking for a book, they want to know if it’s going to be a good read. Reviews give books credibility with the audience.
Now translate this to general public relations and why smattering news release out won’t help. Editors are looking for a news hook or for something that is newsworthy. As a former editor of a magazine I used to receive dozens of new product launch announcements per day. I know from that experience that a new product in and of itself is rarely compelling, and this is why I didn’t encourage my client to send out weekly product news releases. The sheer volume of nonstop announcements quickly mutes the message. Editors being inundated with your news releases will know to hit “delete” every time a new one hits their in-boxes.
So how should you do this to catch an editor’s attention?
· Look for trends and ideas to connect your book or product to a greater news story. Your publicist should tie your product/book to that headline.
· Tie the press release headline and idea to that major event, trend or news of the day.
· Pitched specific editors who cover these topics. Use your product/book as source material.
· Be specific and don’t just send news releases over and over again, but rather send it once and follow up with the editors. You are trying to build a relationship.
· Stay in touch with the editors and media contacts. How can I be of service? Can any of my clients’ information help your story? Your role or your publicist’s role is to serve the needs of the media not the other way around. Think about how you can provide that expertise they’re looking for.
All right Friend-Os, time to get past “Monday-ing” … thank you kindly for spending this five minutes reading information I hope will serve you.