Why your publicist is worth her weight in gold

by Booth Media Group

“All you need is a good story.” While it would be nice to get results based on merit alone, part of the value of a good PR firm is their contacts. Though having a relationship with a producer is certainly not a guarantee of a booking, it can sometimes be the difference between getting your story heard and the email being deleted unopened. The best story in the world doesn’t mean anything if the person it’s pitched to doesn’t read emails from strangers or is in the wrong department. And yes, it is true that anyone can pitch anyone anything – you don’t HAVE to be a PR professional to leave a voicemail – but when your publicist has spent the time and energy getting to know who prefers email and who prefers to be pitched on Twitter and what their names are and when they’re most likely to respond, that effort means that her email is more likely to be opened, read, and replied to favorably.

Another part of this myth is the angle of the story. Yes, it helps when the story is “good.” We can all get drawn into a compelling tale of injustice, love, or adventure, for example. But some stories are more complex and require a deft hand to unpeel their layers and show the best angles to the press. Your publicist is experienced at taking any story, looking at the news of the day and what the press wants now, and making the two meet in the perfect pitch. And that is worth its weight in gold.

“You must send a press release.” A press release is a time-honored method of sharing news with media outlets. In the days before the internet made instant information sharing a thing toddlers can understand, the press release was the best way of sharing information accurately. But in an era when reporters receive too many emails to open much less read in a day, the publicist’s job is much more complex. Of course the press release is still a valuable tool, but now it must be carefully crafted and intentionally pitched. And we must remember that it’s not a guarantee of results. It must be accompanied by the personality and persistence that make a publicist so effective.

These are two PR myths that are important for clients to understand, especially if they are new to this game. You could have the best story in the world, with a pretty solid press release, but the relationships that your publicist has nurtured with the media and the skill she or he has developed for appropriately pitching that story are so priceless.

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.