By Mark Coker, Smashwords
Have you ever read a news story or watched a TV interview and thought, “They should have interviewed me for this story!” ?
If so, you’re in for a treat with episode 15 of the Smart Author podcast. This is part six in my six-part audio serialization of the new forthcoming 2018 edition of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide.
In this final installment of this marketing series, I teach authors how to earn free press coverage. Press coverage can dramatically elevate the stature of your author brand and drive more readers to your books. I also teach you how and when to write a press release, and how best to promote that press release to the media.
This episode draws heavily on my former life in public relations. I first fell into public relations back in the late ’80s while I was still in college (here’s the full story). Later, in 1992, I joined one of the largest Silicon Valley PR firms, and then in late 1993 I left it to found my own PR agency which I ran up until the launch of Smashwords in 2008.
I’ve always had enormous respect for the power of PR. PR practitioners use their skills to influence media coverage. The prospect of self-interested parties influencing the media to influence what people know, think and believe is at once exciting and terrifying.
It’s exciting when good PR helps elevate the stature of good people, good products and important stories. It’s terrifying when PR is used to misrepresent facts, as we see all too often nowadays in the business and political spheres. The dark side of PR touches our lives every day. Back when tobacco companies spent millions of dollars to convince consumers that smoking was safe, that was dark PR. Or in more modern times when large petrochemical companies like Koch Industries fund puppets to sow doubt about climate change, that’s an example of dark PR. Or when Russian-backed trolls create fake news to sow division in Democratic countries and mislead voters, that’s another example of dark PR.
In this episode, I teach you how to use PR as a force for good, and that good is to help elevate the stature of your author brand. You’ll learn tips for ethical PR based on facts and honesty. You’ll learn how to leverage your smarts and expertise to help journalists help their readers with your knowledge and news.
It was quite a challenge for me to condense three decades of PR experience into 49 minutes, but I trust this information-packed episode will give you actionable ideas you can incorporate into your book marketing.
Over in the show notes for this episode, you’ll find a full written transcript and a mockup of how a good press release should be structured.