5 PR Myths You Must Not Believe

By Peg Booth
Founder of Booth Media Group

There are many benefits to using public relations to empower your book’s profile both off and on the web. It is up to you as well as your PR firm to collaborate on your media efforts in order to ensure the best possible messaging and pickup. A good PR firm does not ever employ a one-size fits all PR strategy and it’s very important that an author get rid of the five PR myths below right from the beginning.

Myth #1: PR is the same as advertising.
– Advertising is a bought message, it involves paid placement and a very sales-focused message. PR campaigns are consistently fluid and dynamic and involve working with news and print media to successfully communicate the best possible news tie-ins, information and news hooks in relation to the book’s topic.

Myth #2: To get significant PR coverage all you need is a press release.
– Nothing could be further from the truth. A press release is just one part of reaching out to the media. More significant aspects to PR are the follow-up calls and news hook tie-ins that your publicist is pitching to show producers and editors daily.

Myth #3: It’s easy to get booked on television or radio shows, all my PR firm has to do is just pick up the phone and make one call.
– Getting an author booked on a major show can take hours of pitching and positioning the client as a perfect guest for the show. The media receives literally thousands of pitches a day through email, phone, and by mail. The really popular shows receive up to 500+ press kits or press releases a week.

Myth #4: PR placements should happen quickly.
– It’s vital to understand that PR is a long process of creating a relevant story pitch the media wants and needs to cover. PR is a long-term process of developing relationships, not a short-term pitching effort. It can take several months for pitches to reach their fullest efficacy and get a journalist’s attention.

Myth #5: PR is about pitching the book.
– It’s about pitching the news hook. Every pitch to producers should have a hook to a news story. A dramatic hook. A game-changing hook. A new way of looking at things as never before.

In our fifteen-year history of pitching clients like John Perkins, Greg Palast, Annette Sym, Bernie Siegel, Ken Blanchard and others we’ve also discovered a couple other tips directly from producers we’ve worked with. Here are our favorites:

TIP 1: Don’t pretend you know the producer. Don’t establish casual familiarity when there is none. Don’t pretend as though the producer knows you personally and will therefore approve your pitch. And don’t take advantage of relationships you may have with producers, even ones that date back years, by pitching everything and the bath water to them.

TIP 2: Keep your pitches as succinct as possible. Get it down to 30 seconds. Too often people think pitches need to be lengthy and cover every possible aspect of the book or author’s expertise. If you’re one of them, you might be surprised to find that producers think you’re wasting too much of their valuable time. A producer or writer will love it when you get to the point in the first sentence of your call or very first paragraph of your short email.