How to Get the Media’s Attention

By Peg Booth

If you’re an author, whether you are working with a publicist or not, it’s very important to keep in mind that part of your success is being able to answer the who, what, why, when and how for the media and its listener base.

We’re all curious about the latest trends, breaking news, innovations, interesting and unique people or products – and the media is exactly the same way. Imagine creating a new trend with your book or ideas. Imagine giving the media a brand new angle for coverage of a saturated topic.

Creativity is key to providing the unique news-hook for your book or your platform so that the media wants to feature you. Authors must think about how their book applies to the hot issues of the day – it’s a constant and ever-changing focus. One of the basic questions to ask is, “Is my story relatable? Does my story tap into something that people are worried about or an issue that might be controversial?”

For instance, some very prevalent issues as I write this column are the environment, the economy, civil unrest and war in parts of the world, the family crisis in terms of parenting and stresses on family, diets and healthful living. Each day a new opportunity presents itself to pitch your story forward in a meaningful and news-worthy fashion.

Think how you can be part of the news discussion almost in real-time, as it is happening. Don’t discount your opinion and how it might be valuable to many other associated topic interviews beyond your book.
Whether it’s hard-hitting news interviews or feature pieces, the key for you is to be able to successfully tie-in these larger issues to your book or your platform, and speak effectively on those when you are tapped by the media.

Reporters and media need credible sources, and you are the best possible source for them as long as you’re well-versed in your topic area and you are armed with verifiable facts.

The media is counting on you to be the expert, to elevate the discussion and help everyone progress to a deeper understanding of the topic or subject manner. If you think of several different angles for the story, this will help you in creating something unique from your expert perspective.

Asking questions is crucial to this practice. Who is important in this story? How will my interview impact the listeners, and why should they absolutely be listening? How can I effect change in their lives through this interview?

The media aims to establish significance of any story for their listener base, and they rely on their guests to help them do that. The more a news story applies to current events and topics, or is relevant to the listener community at large, the more opportunity and success you’ll have to be a featured expert.

It’s Never Too Late for A Boost of PR

By Peg Booth

In this competitive book arena, both online and offline, it’s still very important to empower your book’s visibility with PR outreach. The good news is that every book has a reader; in fact, with the Web’s reach, many books are finding new readers daily even if they’ve been out for awhile. But it’s not enough to coast along with your book’s profile on Amazon and do nothing, not if you want to increase book sales. This is where PR comes in.

There are a few things that you can and should do to give your book every chance for success. Every author needs to have a website or a blogsite so that readers can easily find you and find out more about your book. We can’t stress enough how important it is to be visible in the online world. Having a Facebook page, a Twitter profile, even a Google+ presence can dramatically help people get to know you and your book. People are now searching for experts and authors on Facebook almost as often as they are on Google. As Facebook continues empowering its search capabilities, that number will continue to grow. Having a clean, professional looking website for people who find you on social media can be the difference between making a fan, and getting nothing.

The power of the Internet is that online you also have the book bloggers to reach out to for good PR and reviews. Whether you use a full-service media agency or plan your own blogging campaign, the book bloggers are important and should be respected as any other offline media person. As we look at print publications slowly moving more and more of their editorial content online, you might have the best of both worlds with hybrid reviews that are featured online and offline all in one.

Keeping your book at the forefront of the current news and happenings will give you additional and empowering ways to highlight your book and your ideas. Always look for the news hook as you make your way toward success, and keep your PR firm in the loop with your ideas. After all, you’re the expert on your book; your ideas are what your audience wants to hear.

In PR there is a saying, “Pitch new and often.” What that really means is that you always want to find new ways of pitching ideas and you want to continue to pitch no matter how many “no’s” you might receive.
In the midst of pitching your book as many different ways as you and your PR professional can come up with, it is vital to maintain a fresh, vibrant online presence through your website and your social media profiles.

So even if your book is months past its publication date, by using all of these tools, you and your PR team can improve visibility and sales. It’s never too late.

6 Tips for Successful Media Interviews

By Peg Booth

No matter whether you’re on your first media interview or you feel you’re a seasoned professional, there are always good tips to remember when being interviewed, and these six are a few of our favorites.

Simply being able to complete a media interview is not the only goal. With practice you can also become a powerful spokesperson for your book and your thought leadership in your professional field.

Here are six tips to ensure you’re doing the best interviews possible. Whether television or radio – you’ll hit it out of the park every time!

Tip #1: Focus – Treat every media interview as an opportunity to speak directly to your target audience. It’s good to understand the audience base of the radio or TV show, but always keep your focus on who your target is within that audience.

Tip #2: Facts – Always have some statistics that can underline your topic. For instance, if you’re speaking on Obamacare, the situation in Crimea, or “Conscious Uncoupling,” then make sure you not only have sound bites from your book but also from the latest news about the event or subject.

Tip #3: Flexibility and Preparation – Often interviewers will ask a question that is off topic from your subject but will still relate to news of the day. One of the things you can do in order to give yourself a bit more time to answer this type of question is to say, “That’s a really good question..,” and then pause for a moment. Thinking on your feet is incredibly important and valuable in live radio shows.

Tip #4: K.I.S.S. “Keep It Simple, Stupid” – Less is more, and simple is better! Make sure when you’re being interviewed that you keep a lively tone and that you create space for back and forth dialogue. Answer in 1 or 2 sentences, not long paragraphs. Don’t sound too sound-bite rehearsed. Keep it conversational.

Tip #5: Takeaways – Make sure you have some words and phrases that specifically identify you and your brand or your book. These help differentiate you from other interviewees and provide great quotable soundbites that the media will repeat. Tell the media and the audience what you want them to remember!

Tip #6: Bridges – Be ready to bridge back to your topic no matter what kind of question the media throws at you. Have a little set of phrases ready to go, such as:
• “Before I answer that, let me point out…”
• “That question ties in with another point I’d like to make…”
• “…but what is most important is…”
• “…but what I’d really like to point out is…”

BONUS TIP: Media love to repeat great words or new terms – think of a term like “gamechanger” and how it was used over and over during the presidential election. See what terms you can come up with for your specific topic that are new and catchy.

Finally, to have success always know what you want to accomplish during the interview and have your 2-3 talking points ready. Be confident! You are the expert, after all.

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.

Happy Holidays!

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder

This has certainly been a crazy year! With so much going on in the news and the world, it can sometimes feel like the sky is falling. In the midst of the chaos of not only the trials and tribulations but also the successes and achievements that we experience each day, we can all too easily lose sight of what really matters.

During the holidays this year, it is important to realize that regardless of the size of the whirlwind of news, media, and responsibilities that seems to accost us on every side, nothing can be more important than family and valued relationships.

Those who are near to us emotionally, despite barriers of distance and time, are the ones who bring meaning to the rest of our life’s activities. They support us when we chase our dreams, they help us when we fall, and they inspire us to reach for higher goals. Sometimes we might neglect to let them know how precious they really are, but we don’t have to wait another moment!

Though our family and friends are important to us throughout the year, the holidays are a great chance to reconnect, reevaluate, and renew. Seek to mend those relationships might be strained, and deepen and develop the friendships that are already strong. Send a special card to someone with whom we’ve lost touch (or better, yet, pick up the phone and call!) Drop by to see an elderly friend or relative with holiday cookies and love. Share a little cheer with a stranger by smiling as we wait in line. Reach out to our community by donating our time or resources to a local shelter or soup kitchen.

In showering those around us with love, forgiveness, grace, and gratitude, we will not only enrich their lives, but will be rewarded ourselves. This is one of the true meanings of this season; let us embrace it today and take it with us into the New Year.

2013

Ten Ways to Make Peace During Family Celebrations

Guest Post by Laura Davis, author of the book I Thought We’d Never Speak Again.

Being estranged from people in our families can make holidays and family gatherings events we dread, rather than times of joy and celebration. For instance:

  •  You’re not speaking to your mother-or your child- and mother’s day is right around the corner
  •  You’ve been avoiding your father for months and you’re expected to show up for dinner on father’s day
  •  Your sister is getting married and you’re going to have to sit with your older brother who you haven’t spoken to in years
  •  You’re dreading Thanksgiving at your sister’s house because of your loud-mouthed brother-in-law
  •  You want to enjoy yourself at your daughter’s wedding despite the fact that your ex-husband will be there

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, here are 10 ways to make things easier:

1. Acknowledge the things about the other person that you once loved and genuinely miss. All of us have good and bad qualities. Focus on the parts of the other person you can still appreciate and enjoy.

2. Walk a mile in the other person’s shoes. When we see things through the other person’s eyes, rather than our own, understanding and communication increase dramatically.

3. Don’t let pride get in your way. Wanting to be “right” and needing to blame the other person are two of the biggest obstacles to reconciliation.

4. Know where to draw the line. If you know you won’t allow yourself to be treated badly, it’s easier to open the door to reconciliation.

5. Be willing to take the first step. It doesn’t matter whose “turn” it is. If you want to make peace with someone, find the courage to reach out and begin the healing process.

6. Fear doesn’t have to stop you. Risk and reconciliation go hand in hand. Even if you’re scared and shaking, you can still pick up the phone. Whether or not the other person steps up to the plate, you’ll be a better person for having attempted reconciliation.

7. Focus on what you have in common. Rather than focusing on the past, concentrate on what you can share now: spending time with grandchildren, going to a sporting event, participating in a hobby you both enjoy.

8. Be realistic, but stay open for a miracle. Expecting someone to have a personality change inevitably leads to disappointment. Figure out what you need in the relationship at a minimum, and go for that.

9. Think about the kind of person you want to be. Do you want to be someone who carries a grudge over the course of a lifetime? Or do you want to learn to let go of past hurts?

10. To err is human, to forgive, divine. All of us are imperfect. Accepting our own shortcomings- and those of others- opens the door to healing and reconciliation.