So, this is a direct follow-on from my last instalment of ‘The Ride’ where I blogged about my first foray into press promotion. Yes, I know – my book isn’t out until September, and yes, it was probably a little early to go to the press, but there was a hook – that wonderful, elusive, shiny thing: a time-sensitive, genuine news angle which linked directly to my book.
The thing is, three out of four publications ran the story! Not bad, I thought.
I approached it in five steps:
- Phone call: “Hi there (friendly!), are you Mr So-and-so, the most relevant person in your publication I could find online? (As in, the most likely person to actually care about my news story.) Brilliant! I wonder if you’d be interested in doing a piece on (insert tantalising simply-must-know description of your angle). Is there a direct email address you’d like me to send it to?”
- Email: “Hi there again, Mr So-and-so. As discussed, I am now forwarding you my press release on (desperately interesting subject). I have included the relevant detail but would be very happy to discuss further. I have adapted the article to have as much local/specialist appeal to your publication’s audience as is humanly possible.”
- Mop-up: “Of course I can send the picture as a jpeg instead, my apologies for embedding it in the text. I’d love to speak to you on the phone to give you more quotes. And naturally, I am very happy for you to cut/expand/add details of whatever you think is relevant/run second feature nearer the time/do whatever it takes to get this thing out.”
- Watch like a hawk. Journalists are too busy to let you know what they have done once it’s off their desks. If you don’t see anything try something like “Hi again, Mr So-and-so. I wonder if you got a chance to run the story on xyz at all? It’s just that I’d love to buy a copy if you did? Thanks so much.”
- Follow-up: I don’t know if it’s the done thing, but once I spotted something it felt only right to say thank you for including the piece. I’m also hoping that maybe, just maybe, they will remember me next time round a topical hook or a news story comes along. Hopefully for the right reasons.
There is one aspect I was slightly frustrated with. I included details of my photographer friend Robert (see my previous blog post about head shots) and his business – I’d imagine photographers get just as excited about seeing their work in print as us writers do. Sadly, not one of the pieces in the press had included this information. Shame, I thought – don’t you agree?
Anyway there you have it: a five step plan to get something into the local or national press. Not necessarily the best way to do it, but the way I went about it.
And three out of four ain’t bad.
P.S. At this point, the Scotsman article has only appeared online. Here is the link for anyone who is interested: