I’m switching gears a bit with this newsletter by sharing some tips for my author clients. But this information applies to anyone who needs to get a press release out. And for my job seeker readers, remember one day you may be a business owner, or may publish an eReport or book, and will find this info useful.
But, for now, back to the authors in the audience....
So you’re ready to announce that new book launch or signing. Or maybe you’re part of an anthology publication like some of my friends who were recently published in Florida Speaks. Many authors stumble over how to get the word out. They write a press release or hire someone to prepare it, but often they don’t use that release to its fullest potential.
So here are some tips I'd like to share and steps I follow when I write a release for a client, author or otherwise, and am hired to do the circulation and promotion:
- Put the press release on an online press release circulation site (I use PRLOG) that generates a unique link for the release that can then be shared across social media. (see a sample below where I talk more about PRLOG). Remember you can shorten links for Twitter allowing you more room for your message or tags. Two sites I’ve used to create shorter URLs are tinyurl.com and bitly.com. They both allow you to personalize your URL too so you can keep your own identity or that of your news.
But with that said, be careful about using shortened URLs if you want to use PRLOG to track your stats because as they will tell you on their site, you must use the long form URL for accurate stat monitoring.
- Send the full Word and PDF versions of the release, along with the PRLOG link, to media contacts that include newspapers, magazines, radio stations and other contacts that I know will share and help promote the news. Keep in mind that some publications will only accept a release if they can cut and paste (like from a Word file). Now building a media list takes time. Those of us that do this on a regular basis have put a lot of effort into building our list. Get started today on building your own list if you plan to do your own circulation. You can find contact information through web searches, in magazines, newspapers (both online and print versions) and on websites.
- Push, push, push the URL on social media. I can't stress how important this is. My favorites are LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Also be sure to add it to your website, mention it in your newsletters and blog about it. This is when your network of social media connections is a huge asset. More than likely, your author/writer connections will help you share your news. But don't forget them when it's their turn to share their news.
- And equally important, once it’s on social media, get your connections and friends to share it. When working with a client I send it to my colleagues that I know will also share the news and I encourage my client to do the same. This is especially helpful on Facebook. I find that sharing with my Facebook writers’ group pages (like Florida Writers Association and Readers and Writers Unite) can really have a dynamic impact on getting the word out.
- Follow up with online calendars. Although I have several online calendar contacts in my media list, not all of them will automatically add the item to their calendar simply by receiving my email. Often these venues require that you add calendar items through submission of an online form accessible on their website, so follow-through is important!
- Target local reporters or radio personalities (yes, there are people that still listen to the radio, especially with great apps like TuneInRadio out there) and make some direct contacts by phone or in person (if this is an option) to get noticed. Let them know that you are available for interviews or feature stories.
If this sounds time-consuming to you, you are right – IT IS! But if you want to get the word out, get your name and your event or new launch noticed, it’s the name of the game. If you don't have this time to invest, it may be in your best interests to hire someone that specializes in this type of work. (hmm, wonder who that might be?!)
BTW, this method is not reserved for authors, of course; it works for any business that is hosting or sponsoring an event or has special news to share.
As far as online press release circulation, I like PRLOG.org where I use the free service that will include some ads in the final version on their site. There is also an ad-free paid service. Either way, it is a great, easy-to-use tool that allows the user to insert logos, profile photos or book cover images. To demonstrate, here's a link to a release I recently circulated for Flagler Beach author Becky Pourchot announcing her upcoming "Ghost Festival" - click here
The platform is easy to use, gives you a peek at stats for your release and allows for minor edits and keeps all of your releases in one place. And if you place your news first on PRLOG, you'll get extra exposure. Now there are other sites out there, but I have not tried any of them yet, but when I do, I’ll update my readers. You’ll find a list of some popular online press release circulation services (some free and some paid) at this link:
I hope you find this advice on press release circulation helpful. And remember if you need assistance with getting the word out, Words Etc. offers press release services, including circulation and online calendar submissions. You can learn more at this page on our site or contact us.
Until next time, feel free to contact us with your comments and questions.