To market any product, you need advertising, online interactions and public relations (PR). Yet, PR is often one of the most misunderstood aspects of marketing.
Whereas advertising may involve paying for publicity, and online interactions occur on social media, PR is all about the human side of marketing. Therefore, the key to PR is forging relationships, ones you cultivate with people who become ambassadors for your product.
Media, in particular, plays a crucial role in successful PR campaigns. After all, the people working behind the scenes on any media platform are the ones who decide what their readers or viewers will consume. This means that a good PR strategy involves making the media:
- Aware of your product.
- See value in your product.
- Willing to place your product on marketing platforms.
How to use PR to market your book
On the Book Marketing Mentors podcast, Finesse CEO Jo Caruana chatted to Susan Friedman about PR and what to do (or not to do) when launching your book. For authors, a book launch is critical, and PR plays an essential role in this tactic.
The first stage of book promotion involves taking a step back and detaching yourself emotionally from your book. The trick is to decipher the value your book holds for a prospective audience and then craft a campaign that frames it from that perspective.
The key to finding the value of your book is to analyse how it will be received. What is your book’s message? Who is it for?
Therefore, first things first, you need to make it all about journalists and their readership.
If you try marketing your book to everyone, you’ll succeed in marketing it to no one. So, truly understand its value and you’ll give yourself a good starting point when liaising with journalists and editors.
How to pitch your book to the media
A comprehensive PR strategy will help you foster a good relationship with the media and this, in turn, will pay dividends in the long run.
PR entails understanding what your media stakeholders are looking for. Tailoring your correspondence to each media outlet will give you a lot more success when it comes to promoting your book. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work for you here.
When promoting your book, know your target audience. You should understand what is important to them and what challenges they face. You always want to be solving a problem, either for the journalist or their audience. How does your book add value to their life? Your job, through PR, is to make them understand the value that your book is offering them.
Of course, you’ll have a standard press release to send to all media platforms, so this is where your cover letter, which you should send to each media outlet or journalist, will come in handy. By personalising your message and showing that you understand what they are looking for and that you are willing to make it work for them, you will be much more likely to receive a response.
However, simply sending a copy of your book to media platforms will not make you stand out. People are much more likely to take note of your book if you have taken the time to explain why it may be of value to them and their readers.
How to create a book launch campaign
The main aim of a book launch is to create buzz around your book and the story it tells.
A successful book launch involves getting the right people together. You need a curated guestlist that is thoroughly researched and includes people with a platform that focuses on your topic.
By making your guests feel someway involved in the book launch – for instance, by asking them to write a review or foreword – they will be more likely to listen to what you have to say. When key people in PR are involved in the run-up, they feel like they have some ownership over the project and can be proud to be part of it and champion your success.
Remember: book launches are not just for family and friends. They are about who could influence sales of your book and promote you as a subject matter expert. You want attendees who will generate interest and make the event a springboard for success.
Dos and don’ts when promoting your book
- Don’t make it all about the author.
Make the individual – such as the journalist – you are reaching out to the hero of your story, even if just for a moment. Make them understand why they should care about your story and what value it offers them.
PR is all about relationships. It is more impactful to reach out and build rapport with five media platforms rather than sending a standard copy to a hundred. Tailor your campaign to the people who matter to your target audience.
- Don’t think that only major media outlets will be interested.
Small, regional, niche publications and platforms are more likely to give you print and digital real estate, and they are also more likely to build a relationship with you and lead you to the success you want. Niche publications are hungrier for content, so you will face far less competition.
Key takeaway: Using PR as a core tactic in your book promotion strategy is all about finding the media that matters. Break down your niche and reach out to individual publications within that category. Then, make them understand the value that your book holds for them and their audience.
To find out more about how PR can form part of your book promotion campaign, schedule a call with Jo today.