I am excited and honored to have my good friend back, PR Expert Marsha Friedman from “The PR Insider.” Marsha is CEO of http://emsincorporated.com/about-emsi/, an award-winning, top national public relations agency; EMSI has been delivering highly specialized publicity campaigns for over two decades. “Our specialty is creating angles we know the media will want to cover and will obtain quality media exposure for our clients.” Marsha is a lot like me, as she enjoys helping others by sharing many Social Media tips and advice through her awesome newsletter which I get each week, and highly suggest all authors do on when you visit her website.
She happened to share a couple of articles this past week that I felt needed to be shared as it stress’ the importance of media and social media as part of your book promoting platform or brand. Since I book promote throughout social media, because as we all know, many authors can not afford to hire a PR Firm. So let’s see what advice Marsha has for us today …
* When Media Opportunities Knock, Swing Your Door Wide Open! *
One piece of PR advice that I have shared with clients over the years is that they need to take advantage of every media opportunity they possibly can no matter how big or small.
Why? Because the media follow the media – or in more generic terms, one thing leads to another!
Here’s what I mean: Members of the media routinely check what topics other members of the media are reporting about and who they are using as sources. If they see that some other media outlet has made use of your expertise, they are more likely to view you as credible and someone they might want to turn to as an authority on your subject.
Just within the last week we experienced a terrific example of this phenomenon when one of our EMSI clients wrote an opinion piece we got published in the New York Daily News.
After the piece appeared, our client was sitting down to dinner with his wife when his cell phone rang.
On the line was someone from MSNBC, calling to check on whether he might be available to be interviewed for the network’s “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” show.
The reason he made their list of potential guests: Someone at MSNBC had seen that New York Daily News article. One thing had led to another!
So with that in mind, what are some steps you can take to improve the chances of getting the media to follow the media that’s following you? Here are a few:
- Be prepared to say “Yes!” to interview requests. You’re right! I’m back to the advice I opened this piece with, but it’s an important bit of advice. The first step for a good publicity campaign is to get on the playing field. If you aren’t in the game, then nothing is going to happen. In my experience, the people who have some of the best publicity campaigns are those willing to snatch every opportunity that arises, from the local weekly newspaper to major broadcast operations. Momentum can’t build if you don’t get the ball rolling and keep it rolling.
- Be willing to step outside your core message. Often, much to our frustration, clients turn down media interview requests because they don’t see the reporter’s angle as the right fit for them. These clients have specific messages they want to push, and though they are qualified to discuss the topic the reporter is calling about, they view doing so as getting “off message” or being outside their comfort zone. So they pass. I think that’s a mistake. Not only do they miss out on another opportunity to get their name out there, but with a little skill they can steer the interview toward what it is they really want to say.
- Link your topic to current events. This one might be the most important of all! At EMSI, we regularly follow what’s happening in the news to see if we can tie a client’s message to something that’s trending. Is there a change in Social Security that a financial planner could discuss? Is there new medical research that a doctor could weigh in on? You can do this too by following Google Trends or other online resources that will keep you abreast of what everyone is talking about. Then you can pitch yourself to the media using a breaking news angle. One major reason our client drew the attention of MSNBC is because his New York Daily News article connected his message about branding to the current presidential election.
Another thing worth keeping in mind is you need to stay persistent in your efforts and not expect quick results. Unless you happen to be incredibly lucky, one article is unlikely to do the trick. The more you take advantage of opportunities, the more your name is out there and the better the odds that the larger media operations will take notice.
Of course, when that happens, you better be ready! Media opportunities don’t knock every day ….
“Now here is the other article I feel is very important to all authors when out promoting your books. Social Media is a great place to be and Marsha tells us WHY.”
* The Key Ingredients To Developing A Social Media Strategy *
It’s hardly a secret that, if you’re promoting a brand like let’s say books, a great tool at your disposal is all the social media sites that have sprung up over the last several years and continue to flourish, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and others.
But, as I hope everyone also knows by now, it’s easy – much too easy – to make brand-damaging mistakes on social media if you’re not careful. Big mistakes!
In fact, if your aim is to promote your brand successfully, you shouldn’t even attempt social media without a carefully planned strategy. The willy-nilly approach won’t do it, and you even could end up in worse shape than before you started.
So how does someone go about developing a social media strategy that works?
Glad you asked!
To answer the question, as I often do in such circumstances, I turned to one of the team members here at EMSI for assistance. In this case, it was Jay York, our senior social media strategist, who understands the nuances of social media and how to make the best use of social media’s advantages while avoiding the disadvantages.
Jay says these four steps are critical as you develop your social media strategy:
- Identify your target audience. It’s important to decide just who it is you are trying to reach because that will affect the subsequent steps in your strategy. For example, knowing the likes and needs of your target audience will help determine the type of content you share on social media. If you sell a pricey item for teenagers, for instance, your target audience might actually be their parents who have the money and the final say on purchasing decisions.
- Choose the social media platforms you’ll use. Each social media platform appeals to a difference type of audience, though there definitely is overlap. Each attracts niche audiences that may or may not be useful to your brand. For example, Instagram might not be the right choice for you unless you’re promoting a lifestyle product to Millennials and Generation Xers. If you are in search of Baby Boomers, Facebook would be a good place to look because that’s far and away their favorite social media platform.
- Solidify your content strategy. Once you know your target audience and the platforms you will use to reach them, it’s time to focus on your content. You want to develop a stream of content that will be relevant and valuable to the right individuals through the right channels. Here’s where it’s important to remember that each social media platform has different ways of handling and displaying content. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Twitter puts a limit on the number of characters you can use, yet there are still ways to get across a timely, interesting and valuable message. Facebook allows room for more detailed messages. Regardless of the platform, variety is important. Don’t just post links, for example. Your content should be a mixture of links, images, videos, and articles.
- Define how you’ll network. Once your social media strategy is in place, you’ll want to attract and increase your following. Determining how and when you’ll do that is important. Will you follow like-minded people in an effort to get them to follow you back, or will you let your content do the talking to attract new followers? With Facebook, perhaps you would want to consider purchasing social media advertisements to help keep your momentum going.
Finally, Jay emphasizes that consistency is incredibly important. You can’t post on social media once a week or once every two weeks and expect followers to start multiplying as if by magic.
It simply won’t happen!
Your social media platforms need tender, daily care, because once you’ve grabbed your audience’s attention, you don’t want to lose it. That doesn’t mean cluttering their news feed with an avalanche of posts, but it does mean checking in regularly to remind your followers of what you have to offer and that you’ll be there when they need you.