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THE SOCIETY OF MIDLAND AUTHORS

October 2009 Publicity Tip

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Simple packaging can lead to nice gift: media attention
by
Tom Ciesielka from TC Public Relations

Ever hear of Valentine's Day in October?

Neither have I.

Let's pretend, though. Let's pretend we are trying to catch the media's eye this month. We want them to see your book as interesting, engaging and worthwhile enough to report on. It's really like you are trying to start a relationship. And the more quality information you consistently give the media, the longer the relationship lasts.

So what do you give the reporter you're trying to woo?

Something Simple, Something New

I'm not talking something simple as in telling the media what you had for breakfast. I'm talking about simple packaging for the information.

Media love "Top 5 Tips ..." or "7 Reasons to ..." They also enjoy how-to's and generally sound advice on various topics. The key is it's got to be new and unique. Think about why your story is different. What is in your book that isn't in others? Turn that into something eye-appealing (bulleted lists, numbered points, bolded titles with short paragraphs - like this newsletter) and you'll have the media's attention.

Something Relevant, Something True

Sometimes there are stories in the news that are very important but fly under the radar because of bigger national stories that take up more space. These small, yet important stories can often be your ticket to publicity. Just recently, we capitalized on a few stories about sports-related injuries as it pertains to high schools. Very important and very relevant as school is starting up again. Our client had some advice for parents who were questioning "What can we do to protect out kids? What do we need to ask?" Turns out the media wanted to know as well.

Keep your eyes out for articles in today's news relevant to your book.

Something Personal, Something Real

I've talked to many reporters in my day and the majority do not like being blasted by e-mails that also go to 500 other reporters. One thing we stress is first taking the time to think about which reporters you know and send them a quick, personal e-mail to ask if they're interested in your story. If anything, we could get outside the e-box and set up a face-to-face meeting for future potential. These meetings are great because you can tell the reporter what kinds of books you write and what you are an expert in and the reporter can tell you what stories or topics he/she likes to write about. You have the chance to make yourself their best resource. And then next thing you know, you'll be dancing in the streets together singing "Kumbaya."

Catching the media's eye is quite simple if you remember that each reporter is just a human being looking for a good story. Some say that reporters also enjoy boxes of chocolates and other edible treats, but that's actually only true of public relations agencies.


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