When you hear the phrase, “press release,” you may think you need a degree in Public Relations to even try to write one. Not to worry, you’re a writer! With a little bit of gumption, some creativity, and these tips, you can do it.
Tip #1: Let’s Talk Format.
Just like your manuscript, your press release should be formatted properly and free of typos. MediaCollege.com can get you started. Don’t forget to write in the third person. Later, tweak your press release according to the wire service you use (Tip # 5).
Tip #2: Here’s the Fun Part, Writing!
Unless you’re Stephen King or Stephanie Meyer, the fact that you [relatively unknown author] wrote a book is not news … necessarily. Instead, consider the subject areas and themes of your work. Let’s say your story is set in Washington D.C. It’s almost summertime, so write a press release announcing the Top ten places to visit in the nation’s Capital and why.
Tip #3: Be Timely.
Keep abreast of what’s going on in the news. Not to be New-Agey, but look for synergies. If your book is about the women in religious cults and you see a developing news story about the latest Waco, then leverage this synchronicity with a press release: Hidden Truths of Cult Leaders’ Wives.
Create Google Alerts on the themes of your writing. For example, I signed up for “adoption,” “bipolar,” and “memoir,” so now I receive daily updates related to the book I want to market. Don’t go overboard. Choose up to five alerts, or you’ll spend your entire day reading.
Tip # 4: Write, Upload, and Repeat.
Heard of the 24-hour news cycle? News moves fast, and some things simply don’t get covered. Just because your press release didn’t get picked up, doesn’t mean it was a bust.
You need to come up with multiple creative angles and upload the timeliest ones. Research national awareness days/weeks/months and holidays. If you wrote a book about dogs, time your press release around Puppy Dog Week (is there such a thing?).
Try for one catchy, timely press release per month. Then, let the wire services do the work for you.
Tip #5: Get the Word Out.
Pick and choose among online wire services according to your budget, and later, your level of success. PR Log is free. PR Web, PR Newswire and PR Buzz charge a fee. Member perks for IBPA or SPAN can help you save on wire services.
Tap into local media. The newspapers from your alma mater, hometown, and current city love a good story about one of their own. Try for a timely tie-in to get your piece published sooner rather than later. Let’s say you wrote a how-to book about raising a successful kid. Write a press release with June graduation gift ideas: your book, written by someone who grew up nearby. Consider pitching an exclusive angle directly to select, local reporters. They’ll appreciate a story landing in their lap.
When you do get media placement, leverage the heck out of it! Post the article link on your website, write a blog about the news piece in which you’re quoted, and put it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.