PR SAVVY for Authors

Posted by: Valerie Connelly in myblog on Print PDF

Valerie Connelly

 To the first-time author, sending Press Releases may seem confusing and time-consuming. How does one decide which press release service to use? Should you send press releases via several services at one time? Why is learning to do this for yourself the best thing to do, to save money and expand  your audience.


The typical PR firm charges a retainer of $3500 per month under a 12-month minimum contract. This means the author or business pays $42,000 for a year's worth of effort. There are no guarantees that the work will produce results, though firms charging prices like these do have success with some clients. It is a long way from $42,000 in expense to sales of 42,000 books which could cover the expense, if an author's royalty is $1 or more per book. To make a modest profit above and beyond the 12 month costs, an author would need to sell 50,000 books or more.

Some firms offer news-release packages to fit the anticipated use of the wire and the budget of their clients. The larger the release package, the lower the cost per release.

5 releases for $425 = $105 per release
10 releases for $750 = $75 per release
20 releases for $1300 = $65 per release
30 releases for $1800 = $60 per release
50 releases for $2750 = $55 per release
100 releases for $5000 = $50 per release

Again, an author buying just press releases and who gets $1 per book royalty would have to sell as many books as each release cost to just break even. In the example above, the author would need to sell between 425 and 5,000 books just to break even on this part of the cost of his book. If he earns $10 per book through direct sales, he'll need to sell 43 to 500 books to pay for these releases at these rates.

The old rules still apply

Before sending your press release you'll want to research your target journalists and bloggers and ensure that your audience frequents the media you are about to pitch. From there you can begin to weave in some tried-and-true best practices to help make your announcement more effective.

1. Define your media focus - try to limit your pitches to only those outlets that directly serve your target audience. Do your research and then focus on those outlets that are most likely to provide opportunity. Resist the urge to send untargeted emails.

2. Review your outreach tactics - pitch journalists and bloggers in a format that will resonate. (Believe it or not, some journalists still prefer fax over email.) There's no use wasting your efforts on a great pitch that never makes it into the hands of the journalist or blogger.

3. Send a release whenever there is something to announce - you'll want to keep your audience aware of what's going on with your organization. But beware: Sending too many "irrelevant" releases can potentially cause your audience to take you less seriously.

Use these best practices for reaching today's audience

The rise of online media requires that many public relations professionals consider how they distribute their news. Here are some new rules for sending releases to an increasingly tech-savvy audience.

Tailor your release so that it directly relates to your target audience or constituents, rather than the journalist or blogger who may pick up the story. The Internet is rich with consumer- driven media. As such, your audience is more likely to receive the information directly rather than through a third party, such as a journalist.

Create announcements according to specific segments such as: blogger, journalist, target audience. Sure it might be a little more work, but at least you'll appeal to each group based on their preferences.

Optimize your press release for SEO. With more content online, you'll want your press release top of mind and at the top of the search stack.

Craft a multi-media release. Including pictures, video, and text can make your release more appealing to an online audience and give the journalist or blogger a more compelling reason to write about you or your company.

Design a separate social media release. You may even want to take it up a notch by using a unique template, reminiscent of a web page or blog. Whatever you decide, be sure to include "share this" buttons. This will help encourage redistribution.


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