Pros and cons of a radio campaign

by Booth Media Group

We’ve talked a lot about book tours as one of the time honored traditions of publishing a book. Part of what makes a book tour successful are radio spots talking about the event in each area. Being heard on the radio talking about your book and area of expertise, is a huge factor in people not only hearing about you, but caring about you – and your book.

Why do you want to be on radio?

The most important reason to be on radio is to tap into the influence of the hosts who have a dedicated following. Whether the audience is small and fierce or large and sprawling, loyal listeners tend to follow the advice of their favorite voice on the air waves, and if that voice tells them to buy your book or go to your website you can bet most of them will.

Your publicist works very hard to find radio shows that really fit your book or topic, and these shows may range widely depending on how versatile you can be. These radio shows will ideally have large local or regional audiences, or even national audiences. If they can be heard online either live or as podcasts, they have the potential to reach much farther.

In order to gain the interest and commitment of the radio producers and hosts who have the power to give you air time, your publicist must understand your work and the connections to current news and stories so that he or she can quickly communicate why you are a great fit for an interview. You can help this process along greatly by providing useful comments and insight into events and stories in the news, even if your book is about something different. For example, the author of a book about the scandals of a past president can provide interesting perspective on current scandals and therefore join in the conversation in today’s news. For other tips on how to sell your book in an interview, check out our blog.

Long story short, a radio campaign can get your name in the ears of a large number of people you could not otherwise reach. Pros include being able to do interviews from almost anywhere (as long as you have a landline) and not having to get dressed up. Also, these interviews are often archived online where they can be accessed, found, and the links sent by anyone. Cons include sometimes having to get up very early in the morning to accommodate time zone differences, sometimes speaking to small audiences, and not being able to talk with your hands (come on, we all do it!)

If you aren’t already considering a radio campaign for your new book or endeavor, talk to your publicist today to see if it would be a good fit.

Selling your book in an interview: how to discuss your book to make your audience want to buy it.

By Booth Media Group

You’ve written a book. It has a cover and a barcode and everything. You feel amazing, maybe even a little nervous, and all of this is surreal. Now what?

Whether you’re self-published or working with a traditional publisher, you’re probably working with a publicist. (If you’re not, you should be.) It’s your publicist’s job to get the media to give you some attention: radio interviews, TV appearances, book reviews in print and online publications, and perhaps a book tour with signings and talks. If your publicist is worth her salt, she’s pitching the media with a press kit that includes a press release, your bio, sample interview questions, and possibly even samples of articles you’ve written. She’s getting the producers, editors, and hosts excited to talk to you! Now what?

This is where you come in. You’re the expert on your subject matter, and you are the reason the producers booked interviews with your publicist. They want to talk to you about your story, your perspective, your background, your take on the news of the day, and the topic of your book. So, should you mention the title of your book every five minutes? Well, not quite.

There is an art to an interview. Deftly answering questions on unrelated points and pivoting them back to your book without sounding excessively promotional and “sales-y” takes some practice and finesse. If your book is about JFK’s assassination, for example, and the host asks you a question about Donald Trump, you need to be able to smoothly reply, “That’s a great question, and it reminds me of a point I made in chapter seven of my book JFK: the Real Story, and that is that these politicians are so very careful about the face they put out to the world…” Or maybe your book is about traditional South American Cuisine, and the host asks you about the low unemployment rates in the US, something completely unrelated. Be ready for anything—especially if it is in the news that day! You need to practice your segue back to the point YOU want to make. It is a skill to be able to courteously answer a host’s out the blue question briefly and yet firmly lead the interview back to YOUR message.

If this is your first book, then the first several interviews you do with the media might be intimidating. It can help to practice with a friend, answering questions on the fly and preparing your talking points. A media coach can also help. Here at Booth we can connect you to some of the best so that you are confident and ready to “sell” your book during any interview.

“Say What?” Email Follow Up

By Booth Media Group

We’ve all gotten a garbled voicemail message from a number we don’t recognize. And we’ve all struggled to make heads or tails out of the message because due to interference, poor reception, or a thick accent, it is next to impossible to tell who is talking or what they want. We listen to the message over and over and might even call in a friend or colleague to listen as well: “What name did he say? Can you tell? Did he say Brenda or Barbara or Burrito? Argh!”

These kinds of miscommunication happen, but they are no good for productivity or collaboration. It is so refreshing to hear instead, “Hi Mary, it’s Jeff. I’m calling to tell you I have the check for you. Please call me back and let me know where we can meet so I can give it to you.” This message is very clear. You know who it’s from, who it’s for, what the person leaving it expects to accomplish, and there is no guess work about results.

It might seem like email communication should be easy. After all, words on the screen aren’t at the mercy of reception or accents, though spelling and grammar can indeed get in the way sometimes. But when we are emailing a producer or media contact out of the blue wanting them to say, “yes,” it is vital that our message is crystal clear. What, exactly, do we want them to say, “yes” to? Don’t make them guess!

I don’t know about you, but getting an email from a colleague that is vague, circular, and never gets to the point is one of the most annoying time-wasters in my day. Don’t make me guess what you want! Just tell me (nicely!)

“Hello Joe, I hope you’re having a great day. I’ve got a client I think would be a great guest on the show! Let me tell you why, and I hope you’ll want to book an interview.” This tells Joe exactly what I want without being pushy. It’s still up to Joe to read over my reasons why and decide yay or nay, but now he can read the rest of the pitch knowing what I expect. Everybody wins in this situation.

If you’re not getting the responses that you want, maybe it’s time to be more direct while still being pleasant and personable (see our latest blog post here on Timeless Truths about PR.)

One last point about email. Sometimes you have to email the same person about the same message several times. Don’t just copy and paste the same words over and over. Spice things up a bit with different subject lines (even, “Have you thoughts more about….” Or “Great Guest for you…”,) different pitch bullet points (did anything new happen in the news since last time you emailed?) and different attachments (or no attachments at all.) The media read thousands upon thousands of emails a day, so make their lives a little easier and more interesting by sending clear and direct emails.

Leaving a Great Voicemail (Smile): how to say it all in 30 seconds

By Booth Media Group

If you’ve been in PR for more than five minutes, you know voicemail is as ubiquitous as coffee in this field. Even if you do a fair amount of your pitching and follow up by email, being able to leave effective voicemails is an essential skill.

There is a lot of talk out there about the “Elevator Pitch,” the quick version of your message that can be delivered in the time it takes an elevator to reach its destination. This is a valuable exercise not only for job or investment seekers, but also for PR professionals in search of a favorable media contact. When you’ve been calling all day, each voicemail, each interaction, is a priceless possibility – so that message needs to have oomph, elegance, and a bit of conviction.

To have any hope of convincing your listener, you must be believable and concise. Know your point: What is the point of your call? To get an interview or review. What is the point of your client’s message? That is the hard part: to become an expert on someone else’s book or endeavor so that you can sound like it is your own. Studying the material is of course important, but so is practicing your “elevator pitch.” Be able to tell whoever answers the phone exactly what you want and why they need to say yes. If they can’t tell what the heart of your message is within 30 seconds, you’re saying too much. Trim it down so it’s blindingly obvious to anyone listening.

If you are having trouble with this, grab a friend or a tape recorder and practice your pitch until you can say the whole thing in 30-45 seconds with all relevant details: Who, What, Why, and How to book an interview. If your media contact wants to know more, be ready to answer questions and describe in greater detail why your client is a great fit for the show, newspaper, or other platform. But you’ll only get that opportunity if you start off with confidence and clarity.

We recommend taking a deep breath as the person on the other end says, “hello,” and smiling while you introduce yourself. While quickly and clearly pitching your client, keep smiling, and remember to be pleasant and helpful, not pushy or demanding. It’s important not to sound like you’re rehearsing a speech that’s been given a hundred times before, so keeping just a few bullet points of your topics and themes in front of you on a post-it note will help you sound conversational and casual. Sounding like a human being and not like a recording can go a long way to keeping the interest of your listener. Be a human!

A great, short, and interesting pitch can be the difference between yet another nonresponsive contact, and a producer or editor who becomes a valuable resource. Get cracking on practicing!

The Art of Follow Up

by Booth Media Group

Good things come to those who work. And better things come to those who work hard. In PR, the hard work is the follow up. We send out press kits, packages, and pitches with what sometimes feels like wild abandon. Desks around the world are graced with materials from our office. The inboxes of countless producers and editors hold striking PDF press kits attached to friendly email pitches from our publicists with compelling subject lines. But is it enough to put together a beautiful press kit complete with sample interview questions, compelling topics, and a riveting press release on colored paper?

Of course you know the answer is, “No!”

At Booth Media Group, we pride ourselves on being “Pleasantly Persistent” in our efforts to work with the media. Whether we leave voice messages or send emails, we always have a smile in our voice and are clear in our emails. We know our media contacts are incredibly busy, often getting hundreds of messages and emails each day. To make it easy for the media to book our clients, we send multiple emails (but not too often!) and call frequently in order to have the best chance at speaking to a live person.

We often hear that the 10th email was the ticket, or that the 7th call that ended in a conversation was just what the media wanted. “Oh, thank you for trying again! I wanted to book with you but the email got lost in my inbox,” they say. Or, “So glad you emailed again. The timing is perfect right now as we are covering politics all week. Your client is perfect to have on the show to discuss the primaries.” That extra mile is one of the keys to our success in results. Being the right person at the right time takes persistence.

And when that last email results in a “No, thank you; we’ll pass this time,” we never argue. We’re just glad to be considered and to get a response. After all, no one likes arguing with a stranger about something they don’t want. It makes no sense to burn bridges with the media just because they’re not interested in this story; they might love the next one, so we need to let them know we respect them even when they say no.

The art to follow up is to realize that the media are people, too. Let’s make their lives easier by making it simple to say “Yes, let’s book!” That way, we all win.

5 timeless truths about PR

By Booth Media Group

1. We’re all human. That’s right – you’re a person, and the people on the other end of the email or phone are people, too. So, talk to them like people. Put some dang personality into your pitches and your follow up messages. Think you’re tired of leaving the same voicemail 100 times? Try listening to it over and over. It’s ok to be a little spicy (professionally speaking, of course.)

2. Grammar matters. Typos display a lack of care. Do you like getting emails from strangers rife with dropped words and misplaced modifiers? Probably not. Double check your spelling!

3. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. If you say you’ll call back at 1:09 pm PST, then do it. Make a note, set an alarm, tie a whole ball of yarn around your finger. Follow through on your word. And if they say, “Thanks for the pitch, but no thanks,” don’t argue – respectfully accept this professional rejection and leave the bridge to that producer solidly in place for the next client.

4. Your listeners can hear the smile in your voice. But the reverse is also true: you can hear the smile (or lack thereof) in their voice, so be ready to adjust your pitch as needed to match the mood of the person on the other end. Are they sounding stressed right now? Offer to call back later. Do they sound like they want to chat a bit? Throw in some small talk – see point 1: you’re both humans!

5. Do for others what you would want done for you. So you need interviews and bookings for your clients, and that is why you’re calling and following up with the media. But what do they need? Be aware and alert of what your contacts are looking for – if you are genuinely helpful in providing good stories, guests, and information, you move from being an annoying fly buzzing around their voicemail to a valued friend or respected resource. And in this business, friends and valuable resources matter.

GUEST POST: “Killer clichés” about loss

By Russell Friedman, executive director of the Grief Recovery Institute in Los Angeles

Post originally published by The Grief Recovery Institute.

We have all been educated on how to acquire things. We have been taught how to get an education, get a job, buy a house, etc. You can take courses in virtually anything that might interest you. What education do we receive about dealing with loss? What school do you choose, to learn to deal with the conflicting feelings caused by significant emotional loss? Loss is so much more predictable and inevitable than gain, and yet we are woefully ill-prepared to deal with loss. To make matters worse, society helps promote these killer cliches about loss. Let’s explore some of these clichés…

Killer Cliche #1

One of the most damaging killer clichés about loss is time heals all wounds. When we present open lectures on The Grief Recovery Method, we often ask if anyone is still feeling pain, isolation, or loneliness as the result of the death of someone important to them 20 or more years ago. There are always several hands raised in response to that question. Then we gently ask, “If time is going to heal, then 20 years still isn’t enough?” Recovery from loss is the result of actions taken within time, but it need not take as much time as you have been led to believe. Recovery is totally individual and there is no absolute time frame. Sometimes in an attempt to conform to other people’s time frames, we do ourselves great harm.

Killer Cliche #2

This idea leads us to another of the killer clichés, “You should be over it by now.” It is bad enough that well-meaning, well-intentioned friends attack us with killer clichés, but then we start picking on ourselves. We start believing that we are defective or somehow deficient because we haven’t recovered yet. If we take just these two killer clichés, we can see that they have something in common. They both imply that a non-action will have some therapeutic or recovery value. That by waiting and letting some time pass, we will heal. Let’s add a third cliché to the batch,

Killer Cliche #3

“You have to keep busy.” Many grievers follow this incorrect advice and work two or three jobs. They fill their time with endless tasks and chores. At the end of any given day, asked how they feel, invariably they report that their heart still feels broken; that all they accomplished by staying busy was to get exhausted. With only three basic killer clichés we can severely limit and restrict our ability to participate in effective recovery. It is not only that people around us tell us these clichés in an attempt to help, but we ourselves learned and practiced these false beliefs for most of our lives. It is time for us to learn some new and helpful beliefs to assist us in grieving and completing relationships that have ended or changed.

QUESTION:

I have heard that it takes two years to get over the death of a loved one; five years to get over the death of a parent; and you never get over the death of a child. Is this true?

ANSWER:

Part of the problem is the phrase get over. It is more accurate to say that you would never forget a child who had died, anymore than you would ever forget a parent or a loved one. Another part of the problem is that time, of itself, is a recovery action. Although recovery from loss does take some time, it is the actions within time that lead to successful recovery. The primary goal of The Grief Recovery Method is to help you grieve and complete relationships that have ended or changed. Using The Grief Recovery Method allows you to have fond memories not turn painful and helps you retake a happy and productive place in your own life. In addition, you regain the ability to begin new relationships, rather than attempting to replace or avoid past relationships. Click here to find local support in your community now!

Donald Trump: PR genius or nightmare?

“Let’s be more like Donald Trump.” Wait – what? Bear with me; he’s not all bad from a PR standpoint.

“No Such Thing as Bad Publicity.” Do you really believe that? Donald Trump certainly seems to.

Politics aside, you kind of have to admire the man for his apparently limitless ability to be in the news at all times. And not quite in a Kardashian kind of way. There is a rather large number of people who seem to like what Donald Trump says and does, and those who don’t like him definitely like talking about him. (Among all likely voters, 61% now say Trump is likely to be the official Republican presidential candidate.)

In the PR world, your message is vital, but the way you present it is just as important. As my mother always says, “Always tell the truth, just don’t always be telling it.” Trump takes this a little too far, telling it just like he thinks it is, whether it is true or not.

Trump says what he thinks, apparently without fore-thought or consideration for the consequences. His words make his listeners and readers sort of crazy, but they certainly don’t allow anyone to ignore him or take him lightly. The very controversy in his message and delivery has ensured his notoriety and therefore popularity. He is always in the news because he is always making the news. Instead of waiting for things to happen to him, he finds ways to make things happen.

Though he does frequently err on the side of too much negativity, his straightforward, no apologies kind of talk has proven effective – and the PR world can learn from it. We too often take the safe route, the politically correct sentence that is sure to offend no one – the kind of sentence that no one will notice and no one will remember. To create action, we must use language that creates emotion. While we don’t need to go quite as far as Donald Trump and make our audience hate us, we can and should take a few more risks.

So, let’s be more like Donald Trump while not being quite as Trump-y as he is. Let’s be more proactive and more direct in 2016, creating more emotions and inspire more actions in our audience.

A Different Kind of New Year: 2016

from Booth Media Group

Setting new year’s resolutions is certainly a time-honored tradition, and publicists are no different. We all want to be healthier, stronger, more financially secure, etc. We talk about signing up for classes, joining a gym, eating more vegetables, reading bigger books, and generally improving ourselves. 45% of Americans set New Year’s Resolutions, but only about 8% will be successful in reaching those goals.

What if our goals were different this year? Let’s not be part of the 55% who never make resolutions January 1st, or part of the 92% of those who do make them but don’t succeed. Instead of focusing on bettering ourselves (making ourselves look better, seem more interesting, or have more money), what if our goals were focused on making the lives of other people better by spending quality time with them, serving them, and spending more energy thinking about their needs than our own?

Consider setting goals like: spending an hour a week helping at a homeless shelter or with your elderly neighbor, giving 10% more to charity each month, spending an hour a week with your parents or grandparents, putting down your phone and taking a friend out for coffee instead, or teaching a class at the community center. Help mentor a child or teenager who is struggling with homework, home life, or where to go to college.

Writing these goals down and putting them somewhere you can see them often has been found to help us keep resolutions. Also, telling your friends about your goals will help prompt you to follow through.

There is strength in numbers, so why not ask your co-workers and those who shop or work with you to join you in these resolutions? Form a group for volunteering at a local soup kitchen, or hold a neighborhood yard sale and give the proceeds to charity. Helping others can be more fun with friends.
Looking outward at others and taking action has been proven to reward us exponentially. Why not score a WIN/WIN in 2016?

Let us know what resolutions YOU and your friends will be making for next year.

The Holidays: A Magical Time

from your friends at Booth Media Group The holidays are a special time. We reconnect with those who are most special to us, sometimes for the first time all year. We go out of our way to think about others, especially family and close friends, instead of ourselves, picking out gifts they will enjoy, letting them know we’re thinking about them. We give more, receive gracefully, and generally practice good will to those around us.

We seem to forget all the nastiness, the road rage, the gossip, the family bickering, and the differences that we allowed to divide us from our fellow human beings during the rest of the year.
Imagine if it was ALWAYS the holidays, in our hearts? Would you be happier? Would you make others happier? Would you give more and take less? Would you make a difference?

Why wait until this time of year to create a little holiday magic?

This is a time of year when faith, hope, and meaning are emphasized in our daily lives. These things add depth to our experiences and a brightness to our activities that we miss during the other 11 months. Imagine finding new joy and new hope throughout the year by consciously making every day special.

In a world full of horrible news reported 24/7, incessant focus on what separates us from each other, and a barrage of negativity in social media and elsewhere, we can each be a small ray of sunshine and a beacon of hope – and by joining those small ray of lights together we can cast a bright light far and wide.

Stay tuned for the next part in this series: Action Steps for 2016