The temptation is strong for writers to devote all their time, energy, and money to pursuit of the biggest, most impressive publicity prize when they’re promoting themselves and their work. But you can utilize practical marketing options that may ultimately bring bigger payoffs. Follow these “insider” PR guidelines and reap the publicity rewards.
Consider trade, industry, and association magazines. Here’s why:
• Reputation building.
Many writers want to get their articles into big newsstand magazines like Business Week or huge-circulation national papers like The Wall Street Journal. But publication in these media outlets is usually a long shot, and you’re missing an excellent opportunity to get your name out there month after month in the thousands of trade, industry, and association journals and magazines.
Readers keep their trade magazines around the home and office, sometimes for months, and cut articles from them, filing them away for use in the future. They may read and re-read your work. This longevity is essential for building your name in readers’ minds and in your field.
You can even get a single article into several different magazines. After all, the jewelry industry doesn’t care if you’re also appearing in the real estate magazine or the banking magazine. You’re getting your name out to audiences in all these industries.
• Expert status.
Publication in a printed medium confers on you the status of an expert. People assume that the person quoted in the magazine has the approval of the magazine as the country’s leading authority on the subject. Readers figure the magazine editors said, “We need to write a piece about ABC, and here’s the most skilled specialist on this topic, so let’s call him/her.” Readers don’t realize that writers are often published in a magazine or newspaper because they contacted the publication themselves or had a PR firm do it.
Think about it: if you’re on an airplane and you put up a magazine you’ve been reading, your seatmate might ask you to tell her about an article you just read. You could probably tell her about what you read and who was quoted as an expert on the topic, but if she said, “Who wrote it?” you’re likely to have no idea.
Writers in major newsstand magazines write for a fee, and accept that they’ll get a byline but nothing written about them, while authors of articles in industry magazines get a resource box with their name, website, and phone number, as well as the title of any books or other products. You can even include that you’re available as a speaker, which is an excellent resource if you’re looking to be hired by the corporations and associations who read their industry’s magazines.
Always aim to be quoted as an expert in other writers’ articles in such publications as Forbes or Cosmopolitan, but write your own articles for the trade publications.
• Targeting capabilities.
If you want to target a specific group or field (business, health, older women, or real estate agents) specialized magazines and trade journals let you do that. Aim right at your ideal audience if your area of expertise is in leadership, medicine, sales, or some other topic specific to business and industry through association and industry journals that serve those markets.
• Advantageous lead time.
You can publicize a forthcoming book with trade and association magazines. That is, if you write an article or are interviewed for an article about your topic, you may do so before your book has actually made it into print, as there is as much as a six to seven month lead time before most magazines are published.
Need more PR? Here are the secrets of a regular appearance on radio or TV:
• Make yourself indispensable.
Writers may be intimidated by the prospect of approaching radio and TV producers for publicity opportunities, but a simple shift in perspective will help. Know that producers, like magazine and newspaper editors, scramble daily to find knowledgeable interviewees on the latest topics and trends. They must constantly find new and exciting people to interview, so by adding yourself, as an expert, to their database, you’re actually doing them a favor!
• “If I could just get on Oprah…”
Every writer dreams of the millions of viewers who watch a program like Oprah, but few think about this: the benefit of appearing on even the most popular TV show completely depends on how long you’re on air. If you only get three minutes, even on a huge hit interview show, it’s unlikely to make a significant impact on your potential audience. Therefore, you’re better off getting a longer spot on a local or regional show than a one-minute spot on a national show.
• Intense impact.
The impact of radio and TV is powerful and over very quickly. Promotion on TV and radio from a single appearance or interview may draw immediate, short-term interest, but then little, if any, new response over the long term. Interest peaks for as few as ten minutes after the program is on. And that’s it. Nothing more…until the next appearance. However, if you can manage to appear on a local or syndicated radio or television show regularly, or on different shows on different channels with some consistency, you’ll build excellent name recognition and sell books.
Publicize Yourself Today
Whatever media forms you choose for marketing yourself and your work, know that it takes between six months and a year of consistent media exposure before you will stick in the public’s mind. You’ll become “top of the mind” for newspaper and magazine editors, radio and television producers, and then with the audience you desire using slow and steady promotion. So always aim high in your aspirations, but follow these pointers and you’ll find that regular, wide-ranging exposure is easier to get than you might think. And it’s the key to winning the big prize in the PR race.
Pam Lontos is owner of PR/PR, a public relations firm that specializes in professional speakers and authors. Having been an author, speaker, and former VP of Disney’s Shamrock Broadcasting, she knows the ropes of getting good you publicity and how to use it to really boost your bookings or book sales. Call for a free consultation at (407) 299-6128, and sign up for a free publicity tips e-newsletter at www.prpr.net.