PR Stunts get a bad rap because many are either ill-conceived or poorly executed. But I like them and have been involved in many successful ones.
One recent PR Stunt of note paid huge dividends when Elon Musk sent a TESLA into outer space. The car had an astronaut behind the wheel and the radio played David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” about Major Tom. Who didn’t talk about this fantastic just-for-fun extravagant stunt? It was the best one I’ve seen in years. Funny thing, nobody is really calling it a ‘PR Stunt’ but that’s exactly what it was… a beautifully executed PR Stunt. When you have a perfectly performed stunt that catches people by surprise and makes them smile, you got ‘em. The value of TESLA went up and the photos did the talking.
One very creative author I know personally pulled off a PR Stunt that even I was impressed to read about. He rode his horse into “publishing history” by becoming the first author to conduct a book signing and an e-book signing on horseback.
Author Carew Papritz, a working cowboy, rode his horse in front of a Barnes and Noble in Tucson, Arizona and digitally signed his book The Legacy Letters on his iPad in front of a cheering crowd. He made some press and history at the same time. Check out this video at: http://youtu.be/aKEsxqmzs9g
One of the keys to the success of a good PR Stunt is the mashup of two disassociated things: cars in outer space, horses in book stores and in one I did last year, hot air balloons and violins.
How can authors benefit by using this technique? Think about the bigger picture. Don’t just focus on selling books. Think about how you can connect with readers on a personal level. Let your audience know you’re both a person and a writer. By that, I mean let your audience glimpse into your personal life. Share things that are important or interesting to you. You can share details on your website, blog, and social media outlets. Utilize your mentions on Twitter and generate conversations with your followers on a personal level. Respond to comments on your blog or on review pages of your work. By sharing more details about yourself, you’ll provoke commonalities between your fans, ultimately appealing to more people.
If you are a romance writer, share with the audience your love of cooking. If you’re a mystery writer, illustrate your travels abroad and how a visit to a particular city was woven into your book. Connect with your following on whatever level you can. Your goal should be to reach as many new audience members as possible. To do so, dig deep into your being and ‘open up the kimono’ and show the audience who you really are, pen aside.
The Bottom Line: PR Stunts Work!! Take a page out of Carew Papritz and TESLA’s book and appeal to your audience on an emotional level; it’ll get them to connect with you on another level and it may get them talking about you too!
Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.
Media trainer and esteemed “media guru” Jess Todtfeld recently launched his new book, Media Secrets: A Media Training Crash Course. The book shows readers how to earn press coverage, ace interviews and personally gain the most from media interviews.
Media Secrets taps into Jess Todtfeld’s former career as a producer for CBS, NBC and FOX to reveal how you can make the most of your time in the media spotlight. Jess was a former producer on FOX & Friends where we met a few years ago. Utilizing his unique grasp on the industry, Jess Todtfeld exposes how the media industry operates and how you can use that to your advantage.
Use Sound Bites. Todtfeld says the best interviews include succinct quotes or “sound bites” that the media can extract and then publish from entire dialogue. Here are some ways to frame your most important points during an interview to increase media pick up:
Speak in Absolutes
Use Action Words
Include Facts and Examples
Ask Rhetorical Questions
“The media especially likes predictions,” says Todtfeld, “It takes the heat off them and it’s interesting to hear what you think could play out. In the future, if they figure out whether or not your prediction came true, they may choose to bring you back on.”
“Give some of your best answers early in the interview,” says Todtfeld, “Especially if it’s taped or recorded, because they may only use your answers from that first part of the interview.”
Media Secrets: A Media Training Crash Course is available in both eBook and hard copy. Visit http://bit.ly/MediaSecrets and watch the video and bonus links with tips to “Get on Good Morning America.”
Bottom Line: If you are serious about maximizing your media exposure and every media opportunity, then buy this book. You owe it to yourself to learn from a top media pro how to optimize each interview so it converts to sales, web traffic or other opportunities.
Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications Book Marketing, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.
With hard work, perseverance and a little luck, your book could be “Cruisin” with Smokey Robinson to the bestseller list and you will be “Dancin’ in the Streets” with Martha and the Vandellas.
Who doesn’t love the music of Motown? Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, The Temptations, Lionel Richie and The Four Tops – their classic songs have entertained people from all walks of life for over 50 years.
I recently noticed that the titles of some of the biggest Motown hits also suggest some important themes that can help guide authors to improve their careers. Let’s have a look:
“What’s Goin’ On”(Marvin Gaye) advises you to educate yourself on what is going on in the publishing industry. It’s a moving target; what worked last year might not work today. It’s imperative that authors keep abreast of the changing publishing industry by reading books and magazine articles, going to book fairs and festivals and attending writer’s conferences.
“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (Marvin Gaye) tells you to use today’s version of the grapevine, social media such as Twitter and Facebook, to promote your literary work. Authors should be sure to stay up to date about what others are saying about them, their work, and what their competitors are publishing as well. Be sure to keep your page updated and have frequent interaction with your followers to retain their interest.
“Respect” (Aretha Franklin) reminds you to treat others the way you want to be treated. Share resources and knowledge with fellow authors. Respond to comments and questions on social media. Take on a mentee. Be kind. Network. Respect the time and effort you’ve put into your craft and help others to do the same.
“Shop Around” (The Miracles) advises you to “shop” for the best book publisher, publicist, and others who can help make your book a success. This is not similar to shopping for commodities at the mall or grocery store; you should go with the person who provides the best quality for your needs, rather than the one with the lowest price. An investment in good editing, good book cover design and good marketing will help create a solid foundation in the long run.
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” (Stevie Wonder) When signing a publishing deal make sure to look over the fine print, and ask questions about the contract. You, as the author, do not want to be obligated to terms that you were not aware of. Remember, “Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Real Thing”(Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell) so make sure you ask a lawyer to look over the contract before you sign.
“It Takes Two” (Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston), and “Rescue Me” (Aretha Franklin). Don’t be afraid to ask for help because publishing and marketing a book can be a nerve-wracking and overwhelming task for a first-time author. Do not wait until you need a rescue before calling in the professionals. As a book marketing expert, I’ve seen many authors make costly decisions that have to be rectified, which include bad titles, bad covers, bad editing, or lack thereof. “Stop in the Name of Love”(The Supremes) for your book.
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell) inspires you to be steadfast and resilient in order to be successful. For example, 100+ publishers rejected Mark Victor Hanson, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, but he had the tenacity to keep searching for someone who would publish him.
The Bottom Line: “You Can’t Hurry Love,”(The Supremes). Success will not happen overnight and it’s not always easy as “ABC”(Jackson 5). But it doesn’t have to be a “Ball of Confusion”(Temptations.) With hard work, perseverance and a little luck, your book could be “Cruisin” with Smokey Robinson to the bestseller list and you will be “Dancin’ in the Streets” with Martha and the Vandellas. J
Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm based in a Motown suburb that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.
Authors of cook books have an advantage over traditional authors because they can employ a TV appearance to increase book sales. One of the best ways for cookbook authors to get this extra exposure is to demonstrate their capabilities by showcasing recipes and talent on an in-studio cooking segment on television.
A lot of things can go wrong on a live in-studio cooking demo. Here are some tips to insure that your cooking segment is great.
Most importantly find out how much time you have to work with. There’s a big difference between a 2 ½ minute segment and 3 ½ minutes. My advice is to plan on a 2 ½ minute segment. Ask yourself what can you do in that time period and plan accordingly. Anticipate and have strategies to deal with interruptions. Practice by setting up a camera in your kitchen so you can film and time your process.
Don’t do a lot of talking during the segment. You are there to demonstrate how to prepare a certain dish and that’s what your audience and host expects of you. So keep the words down.
Remember that there are three groups that you need to satisfy – the producer, the audience, and yourself. The producers are looking for interesting/compelling television; your job is to make them look great. The audience wants to learn something. What’s their takeaway? What will you do to make their lives better? Among your goals is to point people to your website. A great way is to offer a free item like a recipe or appetizer in your restaurant. Once they sign up for the free item, use their email address for future marketing.
It’s very important to find out in advance about the capabilities of the studio kitchen. Some studio kitchens look good on TV but the stove may not even be hooked up! Come with a prepared cooked version of your dish that can be displayed ahead of time and have another ready for the demonstration. It’s always a good idea to bring some extra samples for the crew. I’ve never see them turn down food! Outdoor segments, such as barbequing, really go well in the summer because that’s what audience members do in the summer. For the fall, a Tailgate segment is great.
Here are some practical tips for that great cooking segment:
The camera loves food that sizzles, bubbles, and flames. Keep that in mind when selecting the dish you will prepare. Can your dish be prepared and plated in the allotted time? Pre-cook the dish halfway if necessary to meet the time limit.
If there are promotional screen graphics provide the producer with the information several days before the shoot.
Make a packing list of all the gear you need to cook off premise. Double-check your list and pack efficiently. Arrive at the studio 45 minutes before air time. Bring a cart to transport your gear and ingredients from the car to the studio quickly and efficiently.
Digital TV cameras can be unforgiving so bring some make-up to apply in the studio.
The camera loves color so bring some colorful ingredients as well as a seasonal table decoration.
Upon first arriving at the cooking set, check all burners to make sure they work.
Be set up 15 minutes before air time. Walk in front of the cooking table and scan what the camera will record. Is the tablecloth on straight? Are all ingredient labels faced outward? Are the ingredients balanced in uniform fashion?
Provide the host with a list of suggested questions. This will help the host stay focused and on track and will help prevent any ringers from being thrown your way.
Always refer to the host by name. Make direct eye contact and smile.
Go with the flow. Some hosts will ask distracting, non-relevant questions so have a plan to deal with that possibility.
For many of my clients, I suggest they use a professional media trainer to better prepare them for the television or radio appearance. One trainer I frequently recommend is Jess Todtfeld, former FOX News producer and President of Success in Media (www.SuccessInMedia.com) Among the suggestions Todtfeld gives to help deliver a great cooking segment are:
Don’t expect the studio to have a stylist for you. You must take the necessary steps beforehand so you look as beautiful as you are and so your segment is great from beginning to end.
Bring all the ingredients, tools for preparing, and a finished version of your dish. Don’t expect to really cook it during the segment.
Bring extra finished food for the crew. The quickest way to their hearts is through their stomachs. It will be worth every penny in materials when they decide to book you again.
Have your entire segment planned out from A to Z to make the producer’s life easy. That, in turn, will make him love you and book you again.
It’s not all about the food. Be fun. Show your personality.
Give a copy of the recipe and let them know they can place it on the station’s website.
Days before the segment ask if they can prepare a “for more information” graphic for the lower third of the screen that will display your website address so people can find you after the show. It’s a pretty standard practice but if you don’t ask they might forget.
Have something free on your website to plug, such as five of your most requested low-cal recipes or a chapter of your book. Be able to monetize the value of your free gift.
Make sure all the vegetables and cuts of meat are fresh and will appear appetizing. Place them in clear glass dishes along with pre-measured spices. There’s only so much you can prep ahead of time; some things need to be done in the studio.
With HD cameras viewers can see everything from water spots on your glass ware to fingernails in need of a manicure and a five o’clock shadow. What may be acceptable in your kitchen may not play well on TV so be keenly aware of your appearance.
A great cooking segment will produce hundreds if not thousands of new diners, book sales and recipe downloads. It’s all possible with planning, preparation and effort. Your success will be assured if you engage the services of a professional media trainer and marketing professional and practice your demo again and again.
Just for fun, if you’d like to see how a lack of preparation can lead to disaster then you’ll want to see these videos I’ve uncovered. The first disaster occurs because the chef did not anticipate that the two co-hosts, Kathie Lee and Hoda, would do a lot of distractive talking while he was trying to prepare food and he had no strategy to deal with the distraction. Take a look at:
In the second video things go totally awry because Paula Dean does not take charge and gives a free hand to Al Roker and creates a massive time crunch for herself. Get ready to laugh at:
One great example of a cooking segment was when Randy Lorenz, my own brother was asked to appear on FOX-TV. Their Michigan wedding venue, The Meeting House Grand Ballroom had won The Knot’s wedding reception banquet facility of the year award. They have one of the most beautiful non-denominational ceremony locations in Michigan for a wedding reception. As you’ll see by this clip on YouTube they did a terrific job of demonstrating their cooking expertise… after following my advice of course!
Book marketing experts know that authors who get excited about landing an interview may lose sight of the goal, which is not to gain media interviews but to sell books. And it’s sad but true that an interview does not automatically generate sales. Effective interviews generate sales; ineffective interviews merely produce idle talk.
The author who can generate sales from a television or radio interview is the author who knows how to relate to the specific audience listening to that show. A book is sold when a listener is motivated to take action now.
While many authors are skilled in interviewing other people, they are not skilled in being interviewed themselves. The skills needed to generate sales from interviews are best obtained through media coaching or media training.
Media coaching will give authors the skills to learn how to use the media, not just to convey your message but to compel people to buy your book. As a book publicist I can pitch an author’s story and line up a TV or Radio interview, but most authors won’t be able to amaze listeners and compel them to buy without being trained by a media coach.
A media coach will show authors how to leverage interviews to create book sales, how to feel more comfortable on air and how to relieve the stress and anxiety that can come with interviews. A good media coach also will teach the secrets behind creating effective sound bites conveying the benefits they would get by buying the book.
Specifically, a media coach will reveal tips and let you practice these tried and true techniques, including:
How to control the interview
How to insure your message will be effective
How to employ bridging techniques to get back on track
How to deal with pitfalls that come up during an interview
How to answer the tough questions
How to look your best on camera
How to sound your best on radio
How to pitch your message to the host and listener
How to pitch without sounding like you are
How to compel the media to discuss your book
How producers and media people think and how to use that knowledge to your advantage
How to relate to a specific audience
How to leverage an interview into book sales
How to get free publicity on TV and Radio
How to get the media to hate you (by not returning their phone calls)
And, how to get invited back
Media coach Jess Todtfeld, who is a former producer for Bill O’Reilly of FOX-TV’s The O’Reilly Factor, says that every interview is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to connect with an audience, to get your point of view to the masses. Most people don’t realize that it must go beyond that. You must motivate the audience to take an interest in you and “do something.” Whether it’s buying your book, going to your web site, or just finding out about you, you must compel them to take that next step. Todtfeld has seen many people use to media to get what they want, but many authors and amateurs make some of the common mistakes. He should know, he’s booked more that 4,000 TV segments with politicians, celebrities and actors on two networks. http://www.successinmedia.com/
Radio Interviews provide a tremendous opportunity for authors or anyone with a story to tell. Radio interviews are great because they can be done anytime out of your home, office or automobile (if you aren’t driving). But like any successful marketing venture, radio interviews don’t just happen. Here are some very useful suggestions:
Be on time. Call the station exactly at the time they tell you, and be at your phone waiting if the station is going to call you.
Disable call waiting: dial *70 and then call the number. This disables call waiting for the duration of the phone call. As soon as you hang up, it will be reactivated.
Be self-assured. Remember you know your topic inside and out. Be confident in your ability.
Smile, smile, smile, whether on radio or TV – SMILE. You’ll feel better, and for TV you’ll look better too.
Research the show and tailor your message accordingly. Just Google the host’s name and station. Is it a national audience or a small town in Ohio? You need to know.
Practice your sound bites. Communicate your main points succinctly.
Be prepared for negative comments, from the host or listeners.
Be informative and entertaining without directly pushing your book. Make the audience “want more.”
A kind word about the host can go a long way. It’s good manners and good business.
A persons name is sweet music to them so commit to memory the name of the host and use it throughout the interview. When taking calls, use the names of callers too.
The last time I talked with Michael Dresser, a well-known media coach http://www.mymediacoach.com/ Michael told me that there are some realities he makes sure all of his clients know about the media. Dresser says “an interview is an acquired skill. It is a process with a strategy working toward a fixed finish line. Bring your message to the audience in a way that is real for them. Do this by using stories and anecdotes that allow your audience to see themselves in your interview message. Interact with your audience on a one to one basis. Think of a radio interview as an intimate conversation with a friend and not a conversation with thousands. If you stay with the process, the influence and effect of your message will match the intent you had going in. It’s important to go into the interview with a positive attitude and energetic manner. You must be entertaining, informative and persuasive, or you will talking to an empty microphone.”
I pay attention to Michael Dresser because he has been a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for 23 years, and has interviewed thousands of guests. He understands what it takes to be a great guest and understands what prevents someone from achieving that level of success in the interview process. Dresser helps people he coaches to keep their answers short, to stay focused, and to develop a message that will produce results. If you invest in a media coach, use someone like Dresser who was in the game and knows how it’s played.
Media coach and speech trainer TJ Walker http://www.speakcast.com/ says that because talking to the media is like no other conversation you will ever have, it requires your full concentration and all the skills you can muster. Because of that demand, Walker puts his students through a live interview that he videotapes for instructional purposes. “The camera doesn’t lie,” stresses Walker. “You will learn how to look your best on TV — if not on the first take, then by the 20th take. There is no way to ‘fake it’ in my one-on-one training course. You will be in the hot seat, the lights will be shining in your eyes, and the microphone will be stuck in your face. Although not always relaxing, the videotaping will turn students into a media pro, ready for any type of media situation.”
Among the types of opportunities an author should be trained to face, says Walker, are live television and radio, ambush interviews, TV and radio talk shows, celebrity appearances, in-studio interviews, newspaper interviews, editorial board meetings, radio talk shows, Internet interviews, edited news programs, training videos, phone interviews, infomercials, press conferences, spokesperson training, and book tours.
Walker’s views are based on 22 years of training CEOs, Prime Ministers and Nobel Peace Prize winners in addition to training managers and staff in client companies such as Microsoft, Bank of America, Unilever, and McDonalds. TJ is the most widely published and produced media trainer in the globe, with more than 50 books, training videos, CDs, and software programs to his credit. I consider TJ Walker’s book, Presentation Training A-Z, to be a must-read.
I’ve heard TJ Walker say many times, and I agree with him that the successful author will carefully analyze what radio or TV shows to book. In book marketing, a book cannot be promoted without first identifying who the readers are in advance of a single sale. Find the reasons why that reader will read that book and then craft a message to be conveyed to information sources that reader relies upon.
Don’t bombard the market with propaganda but send out promotional information to selected streams that reach specific persons. That approach has always worked and always will. Salesmen know that you can’t sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo because he has no need of one, but you’d have a shot at selling him thermal underwear. So follow Walker’s advice — know your niche and then select the TV or Radio Show that your niche audience listens to or watches.
To successfully market a book, determine who will read it and then target that media directly. By way of example, one of my clients has published a book of poetry. Now the average person won’t buy a collection of poetry. However, certain people love poetry, so we aim our book marketing efforts for this client to poetry magazines, poetry web sites and poetry societies.