How You Can Promote Your Book in the Media: 16 Ideas

Writing a book can be really exhausting. It’s worth the effort though because it’s a great way to strengthen your personal brand. A book helps you to position yourself as a thought leader. It’s also a great way to gain (free) publicity. There are a lot of things you have to think about before, during and after publication to gain attention from readers, journalists and editors. I’ll share 16 ideas with you how you can do this.

1.      Know your audience

You have to think about this long before the writing process starts. Ask yourself who your target audience is and what questions, problems and frustrations they might have. Are there any specific needs or interests you can respond to in your book? It’s important because it helps you create (promotional) content in order to gain media attention.

2.     Create a website

A website is an essential part in the promotion of your book and your personal brand. It’s the first place readers, proofreaders and editors look for information. Your website needs to be compelling, clean and easy readable on desktop and mobile devices. You can link press publications, positive book reviews and links to your blog and social media accounts on your website. Don’t forget to write a short bio and pitch about your book. This helps to trigger your readers and other people who are interested, to find out more about the book. It might persuade them to order a copy.

3.     Use social media

You can announce press publications and bonuses with the help of social media. It’s a great way to connect with your (readers) audience or journalists. Then think about what channels to use to attract the right audience. Do they use Facebook? Then it might be interesting to create a Facebook advertisement.

Are you organizing a book launch? Then you can create a Facebook event for which you can invite people. If your book contains a plot or setting in a certain theme, such as Christmas or Spring, you can create an advertisement around this theme. LinkedIn is a great platform to promote management books and books about leadership and success. These topics are very popular on LinkedIn Pulse, LinkedIn’s blog platform.

4. Contact the media

Contact (local) journalists in an early stage about your book launch. Don’t just promote your book, but help the journalist with an interesting story around your book launch. Pitch ideas for an article or interview or send them (the first chapters of) your book.

5. Write a press release

There are more effective ways to promote your book than writing a press release. Increase the chance of publication by creating a newsworthy story. Try to relate your book to current events such as a recent research. Emphasize your area of expertise so journalists know when to contact you. Whatever you do, try to imagine what a journalist or editor looks for in a story. This will  increase your success rate significantly. Remember that it’s not about you or your book, but about what’s interesting for your audience.

6. Create a media kit

A traditional media kit is a bit ‘old school’ but still very effective! You can create an online or hardcopy version to impress journalists and editors. A professional media kit contains business cards, a cover photo of your book, a recent profile picture of yourself, a short bio and more information about your book. You can also add a press release, other publications and book reviews.

7. Start a blog

You can create a loyal fan base by starting a blog. Even before you start your promotion campaign.  You can write about your book, but also about things that relate to your book. Write in an informative and fun way to provide your readers valuable information. Does your book have a main character? Create a contest around it for your readers. Let them think of an interesting name for this character. Link your blog to your website and social media accounts so your readers will be updated about recent developments.   

8. Write a guest blog

Guest blogging helps you increase your reach and visibility within your area of expertise. Blogging platforms are useful resources because of their large following. Guest blogging helps increase your personal brand. People visit your blog and website for more information about you or because they want to order your book.  

9. Visit seminars

Visiting seminars to promote your book may seem a bit far-fetched, but it certainly isn’t. Seminars offer all kinds of opportunities to promote your book before, during and after publication.  You can talk to potential readers, make a request to speak at a conference or you can rent a stand to sell your book.

10. Create an email list

You can find readers for your book even before it’s published. Invite people who are interested in your book to register for your newsletter through your blog or website. Use your newsletter to inform your readers when there’s news about your book or blog. You can use user- friendly email platforms for this.

11. Collect book reviews

Book reviews websites such as Amazon are great to collect reviews. You can ask family and friends to write a review for you. Send them (some chapters of) your book when they haven’t read it.

12. Trigger your readers

Create a preview so your readers get a glimpse of the content of your book. You can collect ambassadors before publication to help you promote your book. You can reward them with a great giveaway, bonus or discount after the book is launched.

13. Connect with old classmates

Reconnect with old classmates and tell them about your book. You can also inform the school about the book launch. They often like to publish something about former students or within the alumni-network. Ask if you can give a talk or a signing session for alumni students.

14. Organize creative campaigns

Create buzz around your book by organizing limited actions, giveaways or competition. You can, for example, offer readers of your book a bonus chapter when they buy the book in a specific timeslot. This can increase the ranking of your book significantly which helps you gain promotion for your book, because your book gets noticed by reviewers and readers.

15. Take part in discussions

Join forums or LinkedIn Groups that relate to your industry. Respond to posts and give advice. When it’s allowed (check the rules) you can, for example, mention the name of the book with a link to your website and blog. You can also ask group members if they want to read your book, want to provide feedback or write a review of your book.

16. Keep promoting

A lot of writers promote their book before and during publication, but promote your book also after publication by creating content for your website, blog and social media accounts to continuously attract readers.

7 Tips for Free Publicity

Did you know that 9 out of 10 press releases are thrown away without ever being read? These figures show that it isn’t easy to gain press coverage. How do you make sure your story will make the headlines? The following tips can help you.

1.        Avoid promotion

Publicity isn’t the same as promotion. It’s about telling a story that’s interesting for a journalist. People don’t care about bragging or shameless promotion. Most journalists are allergic to it.

2.       Research the medium

Whatever you do, avoid sending a standard press release to a complete media list. Editors receive far to often stories that don’t fit their medium. Researching the channel upfront increases the chance of publication.

3.       Research the journalist

Although a lot of news mediums use online forms for people to pitch their story, it’s better to look for a direct email address to make sure your email ends up in the right email inbox. In this way you avoid that your email ends up in the bin without ever being read.

Pro tip: When you can’t find the name of a journalist you can also look for a specific department, like economics. You can also look for articles on the website of the news medium to find out what topic a journalist focuses on.

4.       Involve the journalist

When you send out an email, add a personal note that the specific journalist can appreciate. Keep it short. About 1 or 2 sentences is enough. Explain why your story is interesting for the journalist as well as the medium.

5.       Create a media list

When you want to approach news outlets in the future it’s useful to create an overview of all editors and journalist per news medium. The next time you can see instantly by whom you can pitch your story. This saves you a lot of time!

6.       Timing is key

Never pitch old news. Take into account what time of day you can best pitch your story to a journalist. The morning is the best time when you pitch to a medium that covers daily news. When you, for example, pitch a story to a monthly magazine, it’s important to take into account that they, on average, work three to four months ahead. When summer is over, magazines start with Christmas stories.

7.        Don’t give up without a fight

Don’t be discouraged when your story won’t make the cut. It sometimes can help to make a phone call. Then, you’ll find out why your story is interesting or not. You can learn from it for the next time. Look at it as a game that you keep getting better at.

 

7 Reasons to Stop Sending Press Releases

In 1906 Ivy Lee wrote the first press release. The New York Times published the full message without changing even one word. Now, 100 years later, that’s slightly different. Editors receive tons of press releases on a daily basis. Most of them (90%) are never red or immediately end up in the bin because:

1…the timing is off

Daily media have their meetings at the beginning or the end of the day. When your press release arrives after 10 o’clock, most of the time the content for that day is already determined.

2…its not the right medium

Editors often receive press releases which are not at all interesting for their medium. For example, a men’s magazine is not the right place to pitch a new make-up product. Be careful using press- or media lists to send out your press release. Don’t spam editors with one universal press release, it’s pointless and gets people irritated.

3…its not the right person

Another disadvantage of using press- or media lists, usually they only consist of general email addresses. These messages end up in a general inbox which limits the chance of your press release ending up with the right person.

Ok, you still have about 10% chance your press release will get noticed. Even then, all kinds of things can go wrong such as:

4…its not newsworthy

Of course your news is important to you. But be honest, is it really that interesting for other people as well? In order for a press release to make any chance for publishing at all, your news should be actual, striking, important and interesting for the mediums target group.

5…its not good enough

Writing a really good press release takes practice and a lot of time. A google search ‘how to write a press release’ gives at least 500.000 results. Let’s be honest, if you never wrote one before, the chances to impress someone with your first ever written press release are quite unlikely. Often, writing great headlines is the first challenge. Editors scan the headlines of press releases and only pick the ones with a great headline. So your headline is an essential part!

6…your news is overshadowed

Let’s say you managed to write a killer press release, and send it at the right moment to the right medium and the right person, when the King announces his abdication…

7…it doesn’t appeal to the journalist

Every journalist has his or her own preferences and opinion. So there are subjects that don’t appeal to them at all. Or they think enough is said about it.

So if you ask me, creating and sending out press releases the way we are used to for years, is such a waste of time. Times have changed! There are so much more effective ways to share your news with an interested audience. How to do that, we will share in our next blog

How to Really Frustrate Journalists with Your Pitch

Have you been trying to pitch your story to a journalist of a major news outlet lately? Did it get published? No? What did they tell you? Your message wasn’t newsworthy enough? Or did you get no response at all? Frustrating right?

Most of my customers still want traditional media coverage, so I’m used to talk to journalists of major news outlets all the time. Let me tell you, trying to pitch stories to them is usually a time consuming and unrewarding process. I’ve spoken numerous times to different types of journalists. Do any of these relate to you?

Mr. or Mrs. Promise

What did they tell you: ‘I will take a look and let you know what I think.’ To never hear anything again OR they switch to being Mr. or Mrs. Unreachable or Gatekeeper.

What to do to frustrate them: Call them at a really inconvenient moment (for example, when you know they are stressed out to meet a deadline) and ask if they have received or red your e-mail yet.

Mr. or Mrs. Unreachable

What did they tell you: ‘If you didn’t receive an answer yet, your message is probably not interesting for us. So please stop calling!’

What to do to frustrate them: Pitch a story they don’t care about. 

Mr. or Mrs. Gatekeeper

What did they tell you: ‘I’m sorry, I don’t see an article about this in our medium, it’s just not newsworthy enough.’

What to do to frustrate them: Don’t take no for an answer, keep pushing.

But let’s say it’s your lucky day and you managed to not frustrate but please a journalist with your pitch. Your press release got handpicked out of the hundreds they receive daily and this is THE topic for their next segment.

Before you start jumping around like a happy child, consider this:

  1. How are you going to share that piece?
  2. How will you make sure YOU control the content of your piece yourself?
  3. Do you know what the piece will look like before it gets published?
  4. How will you find out how many people have been reading your piece?
  5. How will you find out what the readers think about your piece?
  6. How are you going to influence when and where your stuff will be published/aired?
  7. How long will your article be available? Keep in mind most newspapers and magazines end up in the bin at the end of the day.

This, combined with less and less people reading, listening and watching traditional media in real time, why should you spend another minute to get a journalists’ attention with your press release? In fact, there are enough reasons why industry experts should stop sending out press releases today. Trust me, there is a more effective way to spend your time and get better results!

Traditional news coverage has changed drastically over the last few decades, trying to keep up with the general migration of information to the Internet. Professionals and branche experts who aren’t aware of modern shifts in media coverage will find themselves left out of one of the most important tools in their marketing box: content marketing. This has become one of the most powerful tools for doing business and connecting with targeted audiences. According to the Content Marketing Institute the definition of content marketing is:

‘Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.’

Now, go back and read the content marketing definition again and remove the words ‘valuable’ and ‘relevant’. That’s the difference between content marketing and traditional media coverage. There is only one person who knows if your content is valuable and relevant for your audience, and that is YOU, not the journalist. That’s exactly why I believe we should all become our own media companies.

Content marketing provides so much benefits that it cannot be ignored. This infographic shows 8 hard-to-ignore-benefits. The following benefits showcase just a sampling of limitless opportunities experts can gain with content marketing.

1. Content marketing generates more inbound traffic to your website

The more pages and posts you have that provide highly-targeted custom content, the more traffic your website will generate.

2. Content marketing increases engagement with targeted audiences

If you want to find out what your targeted audience needs and what they think about your ideas, products or services, content marketing is the best way to start the conversation.

3. Content marketing generates more leads

Experts who share effective content on blogs and websites can generate 97% more leads than others without content-rich websites or blogs.

4. Content marketing increases sales

A study conducted by the Custom Content Council highlighted that up to 55% of consumers are not only attracted to custom content but most likely would buy the products or services of the content provider.

5. Content marketing builds up natural link popularity

If your audience thinks your content is valuable, they will like and share it online. This will boost your site’s natural link popularity as well as your authority as an influencer in your niche – factors that will further boost your page rank ratings and your findability online.

6. Content marketing builds brand awareness

By building brand awareness through your content, your business can generate higher levels of authority, trust and respect from targeted audiences. These in turn will influence the purchasing decisions of at least 52% on consumers who rely on blogs for information according to LeadersWest Digital Marketing Journal.

7. Content marketing establishes you as a thought leader

With increased brand awareness boosted by a steady stream of highly-targeted audiences, your content marketing efforts can establish you as an influential thought leader. You would be regarded as an authority or an expert in your industry niche, particularly true if you provide high-quality content that have helped, educated or entertained your targeted audiences. As a thought leader, you would be in a position where people will listen to what you say and maybe even influence their purchasing decisions based on your recommendations.

8. Content marketing is cheaper than traditional forms of marketing

The average cost of lead generation through inbound marketing is only half of what businesses can spend through outbound marketing. But content marketing, as an inbound marketing tool, is even more cost-effective than traditional marketing by as much as 62% less cost.

Another important benefit, not mentioned in this infographic, is that content marketing makes it possible to measure the results of your shared content. This data provides clear insight in the need of your targeted audiences, which is another opportunity to offer them more valuable content.

Being the expert, you know best where your specific audience is, what they consume and when they do it, but most important what they love and need. Content marketing increases your influence, control and reach without relying on a third party such as a journalist.

On the other hand, according to Dutch research, 76% of Dutch journalists claim their industry cannot function without social media. So if you manage to consistently share valuable content with your specific niche online, you won’t have to beg for traditional media coverage to reach your goals anymore. Maybe you’ll even be surprised one day when you find a request in your inbox from a journalist who has been reading your blog piece and asks if you want to cooperate on their next segment. So if you want to position yourself as an influential thought leader you can stop stalking journalists and start to engage with your audience today!