For authors seeking that elusive “best-seller” status, self-promotion can be your best tool for driving laser sharp traffic and increasing book sales.
Of all the self-promotion options available, distributing press releases is probably the most overlooked method. It’s unfortunate because it can be highly effective – especially if your press release is picked-up by a major news outlet, journal or magazine. In a few rare cases, it can even launch you to stardom.
The mistake most authors make with this tactic is believing that the launch of their book is news in itself. Nothing could be more boring to the buying public than banging your drum about launch dates and press runs.
Your angle needs to be one that touts your problem and solution, mentions you as an author or expert, and includes the name of your book almost as an incidental point of fact.
The topic of your press release needs to be timely or even cheeky – something with an off-beat hook that captures the reader’s imagination. You’ve got to make them feel what you feel about your topic, and then demonstrate that reading your book is the only logical next step.
Besides being a gripping read, a good press release is timely, newsworthy, and contains links to your book listing so readers can get more information about it. Every day, publishers, editors and journalists pick up press releases as they mine for breaking news within an industry. This offers valuable exposure for you and your book.
One success story I want to share with you is from a professional speaker and author I know named Keith Harrell, who had an extraordinary experience with this kind of publicity. One day Keith was contacted by a reporter who had seen his press release. The reporter was writing a “Day in the Life” story about half a dozen professional speakers for a financial newspaper.
Sounds a little drab, doesn’t it? I mean, who wants to be relegated to a by-the-way blurb in a dry-as-toast financial journal like this? That’s what all the other speakers thought. In fact, the reporter had contacted six speakers and asked each one for an interview. But Keith was the only one who responded to her call, so the reporter ran a full-page article devoted just to Keith. Lucky Keith!
It turned out that the reporter was writing this article for the Wall Street Journal – yes, THAT dry-as-toast little financial journal. Through this one event, Keith Harrell went from virtual obscurity to fame overnight. This led to his success with a New York Times best-selling book and a multi-million dollar speaking business.
I have to add that in order for the reporter to contact Keith in the first place, Keith’s press release needed to contain certain elements, and it had to be a good read. It had to capture the reporter’s imagination, and it needed a clear call to action at the end. Here’s an outline you can use for your own press releases.
First, plan to write more than one. Then make sure that your press releases all contain the necessary elements, which I’ve listed below. Make it easy for anyone interested in your work to find you, contact you and promote you. Finally, distribute your press releases to as many relevant media hubs as possible.
In your press release, include links back to your website to create more traffic and create buzz about your website. Writing articles and distributing them via partner websites and article distribution websites (such as ezinearticles.com) are also excellent sources of free traffic.
Contents of a Standard Press Release
- Headline – this can be up to 20 words
- Subhead – this is optional
- Dateline – city, state, and date of press release
- Article beginning – catch the reader’s attention, including problem & solution
- Author quote – this a meaty and compelling sound byte
- Author info – a paragraph or two about the author
- Book info – a paragraph or two about the book bout the book
- Contact – include links for review copies and media interviews with you, and include your website address
- CTA– conclude with a clear, compelling “call to action”
- Hashtags – include social media hashtags
- About the Author – your author biography, about 500 words
Lead your press release with the main problem and its solution in the first paragraph. What problem does your book solve? What solution will readers find? Lead the press release audience to your book obliquely. That is, state the problem and solution, then mention that your book supports this premise. Include anywhere from 3 to 7 tips from your book, and tell people how they can find out more.
Lead with the key character at the beginning of the press release. Include the emotional angle of your premise. Tell people what emotions they will experience as they read the book, and help them preview their reading experience. As you write your press release, be clear about your target audience, and speak directly to them.
Write your press releases for consumers, bloggers, journalists and the Google search algorithm. There are several large news services where you can distribute press releases with newsworthy information to reporters worldwide. Some of these include PRNewsWire.com and businesswire.com, to name just a couple.
As you dive into this promotional medium, you’ll find a whole new world to discover. Now… get cracking! The world is waiting to discover you.
Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success. He works with bestselling authors and consultants which have included the late Zig Ziglar, Donald Trump and John C. Maxwell in the role of publisher and marketer. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.
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