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Lisa: How has the internet changed how we publicize books and reach the media with our message?
Dan: There are many more ways to reach your audience because of the Internet. In the old days, you had to pitch reporters at traditional media outlets and hope they wrote about you. You still need to do that, but you have so many other ways to reach your audience with bloggers, social media, articles and press releases. Also a reporter today has more options to write about books. In the past, they might have a limited amount of space in the print publication. But today, she can write her story, add a blog post and perhaps even do a podcast of video chat with the author.
Lisa: How are press releases working differently from in the past?
Dan: Press releases can still get the attention of reporters and get them to write news articles and features about the author, or prompt them to write about the book and do reviews. However, press releases aren’t just for reporters any longer. Search engines will index press releases from you website or if you use legitimate press release distribution services like PR Newswire or PR WEB. That opens up all sorts of possibilities of being found on search engines. We frequently get our clients listed on page one of Google for key search terms because of this tactic through Press Release Sender. My earlier interview with you offers more details.
Lisa: Can you say a bit about PR Leads (what it is and how it’s different from the free services out there?
Dan: With ProfNet, PR LEADS started the whole idea of matching reporters and authors. For many years we were the only game in town and our clients got fantastic results in top tier media. Now there are several competitors. We’re still the best because we charge for our service. That means we get a higher level of expert and authors. Reporters realize that difference, so we get top tier reporters using our service. We’ve had clients who used the other services and they return to PRLEADS because of the quality and the likelihood they will get quoted more often because they aren’t competing with 500 other people.
Also, we’re the only service that actually provides training and support. I personally review any message my clients want feedback on. I also provide telephone training. Our clients get a comprehensive 90-day training system that is all part of the service – no extra fees.
Lisa: I had a client who had never responded to a reporter query before joining PR Leads. Your training made him an expert and his platform is so impressive that a major publisher just asked him about writing a book for them! Dan, what’s your advice on responding to reporter queries? How to be effective?
Dan: Offer 2-3 tips that are 2-3 sentences long. That way reporters can copy and paste your info into their articles. It saves them time and makes you stand out. I share about 100 other tips in my book, “Reporters Are Looking for YOU!” I priced it at only $10 so it is affordable for anyone – even people who use free services!
Lisa: Any pitfalls to avoid in responding to reporter queries?
Dan: Not really. Reporters aren’t out to “get you” as some people might think. They just want good, unique answers to their questions. If you don’t have anything to say on point, then you probably shouldn’t waste your time or the reporter’s time. Being a pest would be a pitfall.
Lisa: Any other advice for authors in growing their platforms before book launch or promoting their books?
Dan: Make sure you know your book’s hook. I’ve heard too many authors talk for four minutes and not say anything about the topic. They’ll tell you how hard they worked and who’s publishing it and the problems they had. But they didn’t tell you if it is about leadership, romance or self-help! They don’t see the forest for the trees.
Dan Janal is one of the Founding Fathers and thought leaders of Internet Publicity. His latest book is “Reporters Are Looking for YOU!” Go to PR LEADS for more information on this fast, easy, economical way for small businesses and authors to get publicity in major media. Note: I am proud to be an affiliate of PR Leads and do receive a commission on sales.