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Month: April 2016

How to write and use a press release to promote your book and your business

how to write and use a press releaseAlmost every one of the clients who goes through our Best-Seller Program asks for assistance with writing and using press releases to promote their book and their business.

So, I’ve written this post not only for them but also for anyone who is seeking assistance with this most important topic.

Sending press releases to alert the media to your newsworthy event is essential, however as Inc Magazine commented,

“An easy way to ruin your relationship with the news media is to send a bad press release.”

…but as PT Barnum, of Barnum and Bailey Circus fame, once said…

“Without promotion, something terrible happens…  nothing!”

So, how do you write a good press release?

I could write for pages and pages on this topic, but here is a checklist that will help:

  • At the top, make sure you put when it is to be released, for example FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
  • Come up with a headline that ‘hooks’.  Think about the audience who will read this article, your headline needs to grab their attention immediately and make them want to read more.  (here is an excellent article about writing catchy headlines and first paragraphs)
  • Many journalists and editors do not skim past the first paragraph when deciding whether or not to use a release so make sure that all-important paragraph has enough hook and ooooomph to get their attention
  • Having been a journalist myself, I know it’s actually quite common for the press release to be used almost exactly as is – so write your press release with this in mind
  • DO NOT use ‘marketing language’ – in other words, this is a TOTALLY FACTUAL piece, not hype and not opinion – just stick to the facts!
  • Use at least one or two quotes from someone connected to the story to provide context, insight and heart
  • Include biographical information on your and/or your business including how long you have been doing this, your mission and/or vision statement, where you are based, any awards or recognition you have received
  • Contact information – At the end VERY CLEARLY state your name, company (if relevant), your position (eg Author of the Best-Selling Book, “name of book”), address, email, website and cell phone number.  The reason the cell phone is important is that major publications will often not run a story unless they can confirm in person (in this case, on the phone) the contents of the release
  • Include a link to your EPK (electronic press kit) if you have one (http://leighstjohn.com/epk-electronic-press-kit/)
  • Double and triple check your grammar and spelling!
  • Format your press release to be double-spaced and preferably one-page (two at the very most!)

OK, so now you’ve written your press release, what do you do with it?

How do you use a press release?

Know Your Audience – the fastest way to get blacklisted is to blast your press release to outlets whose readers have nothing in common with you or the subject of your release.  Make sure you target appropriate media outlets.

Set Up a Google Alert – create a Google alert for your name, your book’s name (https://www.google.com/alerts) so you can keep track of who is mentioning you and creating articles based on your release.

Syndicate Your Release – once your press release is published, make sure you get it as much visibility as possible by cross-promoting the release and any articles in which you are mentioned on your own social media channels.

Add to Your EPK – mention in your EPK that you were covered by XYZ Publication and provide a link to that article, thereby giving you additional credibility.

Consider Timing – when you send a release is important.  If you are doing a book signing and speaking event to raise money for charity, you want that release to go out anywhere from 3-10 days before the event.  Other events such as you becoming a best-seller are obviously sent after the event, but as close as possible to the actual date it occurred.

Don’t be shy!

Reporters rely on press releases to give them the stories they need to fill their publications – so make yourself visible!  Just ensure that you follow the suggestions above.

If you have any questions about creating a press release for your book and becoming a best-seller, feel free to reach out!

I look forward to hearing from you…

What is an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) and how do I create one?

epk - elecrtonic press kitEssentially an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) contains all the information someone would want if they were considering booking you to speak or writing an article about you.

While mostly used by performance artists (bands, dancers etc) it is becoming more and more common to see speakers and authors creating and using EPKs to great benefit.

While you can search online for examples and templates of EPKs (electronic press kits) for you to use as inspiration, essentially you should consider including the following:

  • Short, one paragraph biography
  • Long, detailed biography
  • Embedded videos and/or links to videos that highlight you speaking and presenting, preferably in a range of different environments and to differing sized audiences
  • Embedded videos of any television coverage
  • Embedded show-reel/demo-reel (compilation of your speaking and presenting engagements)
  • Sample chapter of your book
  • List of all your published works with short summaries
  • High-resolution photos of you – both with and without your book
  • High-resolution cover image for each of your books
  • Testimonials – both written and video
  • Statistics on your following, including social media
  • Links to any press coverage (http://leighstjohn.com/how-to-write-a-press-release/)
  • Any relevant awards or recognition
  • List of any up-coming speaking engagements
  • Contact information for the speaking agency that represents you (if you have one)
  • Your contact information including email, website, address and phone

What format should the EPK take?

Preferably, it should be compiled into a PDF (make sure all links in the PDF are live!) that a potential client or reporter can download, as well as being a page on your site through which an interested party can scroll.

Where do you put your EPK?

Suggest you create a separate link on your website that goes direct to your EPK page and downloadable PDF.

How do I promote my EPK?

Suggest putting the link to your EPK in the signature of your emails, even on your business cards!  After all, this is the place where all your major achievements have been compiled.

Make it easy for people to book you!