DIY Media contacts

I recently tuned into a webinar lead by Michelle Tenant Nicholson discussing the importance of creating a Top 50 media list.   For authors who want to get their message out to influentials who focus on target readers, researching relevant media contacts is paramount. I really like the plan Michelle outlined to seek  out  five media contacts per week for a 10 week period. Even without a media database it’s possible to do so just by using the Google search engine and using keywords. Since I use myself as a case study, I tried out researching media contacts without relying on my expensive media database, just for the hell of it. My book Born in the Land of the Tango has  been getting quite a bit of media coverage in the form of braodcast interviews. I wanted to increase print placements so I used the Google search engine to research magazines relevant to the themes of my book. I used the following keywords in quotes: “multicultural magazines.” A librarian taught me to always use quotes around keywords to get a better result. I was introduced to many print outlets, but one caught my eye- Urbane Perspectives Magazine.  As synchronicity would have it, the editor made a query the same week. I responded to the query and was interviewed by the editor for an article to run in the magazine. Having done the research in advance, I was able to create a stronger connection with the magazine and had the chance to compliment the editor on some recent articles I had read in the magazine.

Part of Michelle’s webinar included how to search the magazine’s masthead to find relevant contacts. She pointed out that it’s easier to find the information as most editors  include their emails on digital versions.  Researching one’s top 50 media contacts can be time consuming, but it’s worth the investment of time. Another aspect to the process, is that you can research the contacts for magazines or broadcast outlets you want to be covered in, and find out what editorial content they are covering.   You can then tailor the pitch to  tie in with future issues.Try calling the advertising department and inquire about getting an editorial calendar. These are not easy to get, but you can ask.  There are organizations that cater to freelance writers that will for fee make editorial calendars of top magazines accessible. Media bistro is one of them.




Does you company have a crisis communication plan in place?

Kevin Allen writing for Ragan's PR Daily pointed out that a recent study undertaken by Burson-Marsteller showed "companies are woefully underprepared for a digital crisis." 

The reporter pointed out that Burson-Marsteller referred to as "the PR giant" surveyed 800 business leaders around the world to get a better idea of corporate perceptions of the state of crisis 

communications in the Digital Age.

 The story went on to analyze the results and then quoted Forbes as saying, “amounts to a wake-up call for business leaders who defend reputations and brand equity in today’s digitally connected marketplace." 

According to the survey, Allen wrote,"Among the findings, nearly 60 percent of business decision-makers have experienced a crisis in their current or previous company. Meanwhile, 79 percent believe their company is fewer than 12 months away from a potential crisis."

The  Ragan PR Daily reporter went to say,  "Controversial company developments, online or digital security failure, and logistic difficulties were among the most likely anticipated crises." 

 Allen also observed, "When it comes to crises that can do the most damage to a company’s reputation, danger to product safety (defective or contaminated parts), online or digital security failure, natural disaster, and critical or negative new media campaigns were thought to have the greatest impact. 

Despite all this doom-and-gloom prognosticating, nearly half of those business leaders surveyed said their company does not have a crisis plan." 

The reporter cited the study and wrote the reason was related to "Indifference and cost." 

Allen pointed out B-M identifies three types of companies: "20 percent are Boy Scouts (well-prepared), 45 percent are Tightrope Walkers (vulnerable), and a 35 percent are Ostriches (exposed) with their heads

 in the ground." 

The Ragan PR Daily reporter then raised the question, "Where does your company fall?"

No More Stale Content

One of my business mentors once said that stale information and an outdated blog do absolutely nothing to promote one’s endeavors.
Some of the authors I’ve worked with admit it’s time consuming to keep their blog’s content fresh. perhaps  what they don’t realize is that unless they first plan their blog content ahead of time,
little will get done.  Some authors tell me, the idea of planning can be a daunting tasks. Of course, it is possible to hire a virtual assistant to write your blog for you, but unless they have a brilliant way to capture your voice, the blog post won’t be authentic, and readers will pick up on it.  An author, myself, I’ve come to realize that publicity is a full time job and all consuming. I’ve learned to make things easier, and keep those feeling of overwhelm at bay. As a public relations  practiioner, planning is one of my areas of expertise, but you don’t have to be in my field to know how to approach making a sound plan to promote your book. One of the keys in making a plan is to review your objectives and then make sure that each task relates to taking a step towards reaching target audiences. As you review your objectives,  you may also find ideas for new content.  Since I love to use myself as a case study, to prove a point- I would not suggest others take an action, unless I’ve actually tried it myself, I’ll talk about what I’ve been doing recently.  Recently, I was interviewed by a psychotherapist who is also a radio host. The conversation shed light on an interesting idea I’d like to pursue in my author’s blog. The thrust of my memoir, BORN  IN THE LAND OF THE TANGO, deals with identity politics.  The question came up during the interview, ” What exactly is is the value of knowing who you are and tracing your family roots?”  Lately, I’ve been doing a bit of research on pulling together a blog about researching family roots and offering tips.  My feeling is that many authors have themes within their books they may not  be aware of but that once tapped can attract a  sizeable  amount of new readers.  You will never know what those themes are unless you are engaged in talking about your book and it doesn’t have to be with a media outlet, but with a friend.  By talking about your book, it’s possible to have a brainstorm and at the same time generate ideas for your blog as I illustrated in my example.

Someone very wise once said, “the media is obsessed with health, money and love.”  Just scanning some lifestyle TV segments and print articles will confirm this idea. My question is always- how can I creatively relate my book to these media obsessions and get more coverage for my book and create fresh content for my author’s blog?  Don’t let your blog grow stale, plan your content, engage with your readers and you’ll have a plethora of new ideas.