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How to Use a Rifle and Shotgun to Accomplish Your Book Promotion Goals

A few days ago I ran a post about how to pitch the media. However, sometimes getting media attention takes more than just a good pitch or attention-grabbing press release. It takes persistence and knowledge of how to get noticed both in Cyberspace and by a physical person in a physical office.

V. Michael Santoro has a wealth of information on a huge variety of topics, and book promotion happens to be one of them. An award winning author and creator of the Author Intern System, today he offers information useful to both writers building platform and authors wanting to sell more books. The tactics he describes—“rifle and shotgun”—provide practical methods for getting press releases in front of those who might deem our topics, expertise, or books worthy of the radio and television air time we seek. Take good notes, and then go out and put these tips to good use. If you do, you will find yourself and your press releases getting noticed.

How to Use a Rifle and Shotgun to Accomplish Your Book Promotion Goals
By V. Michael Santoro

To say that media professionals are inundated with telephone calls and email messages is an understatement. To be effective in this era of information overload, you need to develop both “proactive” and “passive” book promotion campaigns. The proactive component is directly contacting the media, while the passive component is having your content-rich Web pages and marketing material place in the “top ten” of the major search engines. When reporters and producers are searching for story ideas on your niche topic, you want them to find your quality content.

Under the Radar Book Promotion Tactics

When you conduct your book PR campaign, you need to use a “rifle” as well as a “shotgun” to achieve better results. For example, posting your media release on-line or paying to have it mass distributed can produce disappointing results, unless you write it for good search engine placement and follow up with the editors and producers you have contacted.

PR “Shotgun” Approach – Blast your Release across the Net

1. Write a Keyword-Rich Media Release

Incorporate one competitive long-tail keyword phrase into your well-themed media release. This helps to ensure that the search engines index it and give your release a good ranking for that keyword phrase. If you have one or two additional phrases that can enhance the release, then use them. Just avoid keyword stuffing.

2. Post Your Release to the Free Press Release Distribution Websites

Make your release available to reporters and producers by posting it to the free press release distribution Websites including:

PR Web
Media Syndicate

Sign Up for Google Alerts
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, blogs and groups). By entering your keyword phrases and e-mail address, Google will forward links to the posted items. This will act as your clipping service. Include your name as one of the keyword phrases.

PR “Rifle” Approach – Target Specific Media Contacts

This approach suggests that you Research - Email – FAX – Leave Message after Hours – and Email Again the media contacts to get their attention and have them read your media release.

If you want to get through the information overload barrier, this tactic will get your release noticed without initially having to talk to a reporter or producer.

1. Research Media Contacts

Create a list of specific media contacts that are interested in your niche - including their email addresses, telephone and fax numbers. Click on the following link for an excellent U.S. media research tool.

2. E-mail Your Release

E-mail your media release to each contact. Do not mass mail to your list. Address each contact by name and ensure correct spelling. Have a “catchy” subject line and stress the benefits you are offering their readers, listeners and viewers. To test your release, contact the first five and measure your results. If the response is poor or nonexistent, review your release to determine if it is written to stimulate interest. Then send it to the next five, and so on. Be sure to have it included in the body of the email message and not as an attachment.

3. FAX Your Release

The following day, FAX the release to each editor with this message preceding the actual release.

“Yesterday (date) I emailed you the following media release. The subject line is _____________ and my e-mail address is ___________. I know you are inundated with e-mails, and the SPAM filters can prevent delivery, so I wanted to make sure that you received it. If you would like me to email it again, please let me know.”

Include your email and contact information.

Faxing a copy is a great follow up reminder and provides them with a hard copy version in addition to an email version.

4. Call and Leave a Message after Hours

Then, in the later evening or early morning, call and leave a voice message when you know they are not in the office. The message can be as follows:

“Ms. ______, this is _______. I wanted to follow up with you concerning my media release. (Describe your content and why her readers will love it). In addition to e-mailing it on (date), I also faxed it to you. My phone number is _________. If you have any questions or need more information, please call or e-mail me. Again, my phone number is ___________.”

5. Follow Up E-mail Two Days Later

The following is a sample email message:

Subject line: Follow up: Your release title.

Ms _______,

How are you?

I am following up to see if you are planning to use my release on_______. I feel that your readers will benefit_______________ (state benefits, solutions, etc.)

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you,

Name / Phone number / Link to online Media Kit


With this technique, you are productively making several media contacts in less time and “surrounding” them with your release to ensure that they read it. You are also creating quality content-rich material that the media can find in the search engines.

When the media does express interest, remember to be professional and friendly.

About the Author

V. Michael Santoro is an award winning author and creator of the Author Intern System. Discover how to use a student intern as your book marketing assistant to market and promote your book. You can also sign up for his free book marketing training course. It provides the pros and cons of the various book marketing services and techniques currently being offered online. It is essential that you complete this course before you invest in these book marketing options.

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