When I wrote my first book in 2001 I was clueless on how to promote it. I hired a publicist at a hefty price. Although he did a good job considering it was a non-fiction business title, after the first couple of months he moved his focus on to new projects and authors. I was dead-in-the-water publicity wise at this point, but my book marketing campaign was just in it’s infancy, and so was my writing career. I figured I better learn how to be my own publicist and quick.
Mark Nash author of four books including his latest 1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home and a columnist for RealtyTimes.com shares how he went from complete publicity novice to a guest on CBS The Early Show and CNN’s Open House.
-The press release is dead. Write short articles (300-600 words) about your specialty and email to editors and producers. Include a short bio at the end. Position yourself as a source for articles and shows. Many of my articles are used to trigger story ideas by editors and producers. Usually when I’m quoted, it includes a tag my for book title.
-Don’t follow up after sending an article. Contrary to what you think about follow-up being professional, many journalists hate it. It’s a bother to them, they’ll call or email when they want you. And that could be up to a year later!
-Bacon’s Media in Chicago publishes resource books with media contacts annually. They’re broken down into four categories; newspapers, magazines, television and radio. They run about $200 each, but they point you to the right person to send an article. I can’t live without them. They’re worth every cent.
-My favorite free public relations e-zine is The Publicity Hound. Joan Stewart power packs every issue with inexpensive publicity tips that work. You can sign up on her web site; www.thepublicityhound.com
-My books all deal with residential real estate, which tends to be viewed by radio and television show producers as seasonal. I keep this in mind and start sending articles when I know its on their radar, mainly January through June. Remember that seasonality drives journalists.
-Make sure you pitch the right person. I’ve learned that senior producers make most of the program guest decisions. I sent the senior producer at The Early Show an article early one afternoon and was booked on it by the close of business the same day. I had a five minute segment on the nationally televised show and sold through the first printing of my book.
-Once a journalist has contacted you to schedule an interview or as a guest, you must follow through as you have agreed. I know this is contrary to an earlier statement. Once you have a green light speed and follow-up is everything! Overnight the materials, send an outline, bio or pictures as soon as possible. Journalists are all about deadlines, meet them and you will be rewarded.
-Remember when working with journalists, it’s about them, not you. Sorry to say, but journalists and producers have the overall story idea and control. Give them what they want and they’ll use you time and again.
-Find timely ways to tie your book in to current news. I do annual top mistakes of home buyer at year end, which typically is a slower news period. With all the media attention the movie Brokeback Mountain received, I wrote an article on gay and lesbian home owner rights that was picked up my many newspapers. Be creative and off beat, journalists are always looking for new angles to separate themselves from their competition.
-Offer exclusives and don’t send the same pitch to every editor and journalist. Build relationships with editors and they will come back for more.
Mark Nash’s fourth real estate book, “1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home” (2005), and working as a real estate broker in Chicago are the foundation for his consumer-centric real estate perspective which has been featured on ABC-TV, Associated Press, CBS The Early Show, Bloomberg TV, Bottom Line Magazine, CNN-TV, Chicago Sun Times & Tribune, Fidelity Investor’s Weekly, MarketWatch, HGTVpro.com, MSNBC.com, Smart Money Magazine,The New York Times, Realty Times, Universal Press Syndicate and USA Today.
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