If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you are probably familiar with my mantra that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon to be your own publicist. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Don’t get those things confused.
I get a lot of questions asking what my day-to-day work is like, so I thought I would share a little here. If you are doing your own publicity for your book, you may pick up some good ideas here. And, maybe it will show you why having someone do it for you can free you up to do other things.
My mornings start early, at 4:00 a.m., and there’s a reason for this. I live on the west coast, and while that’s great for media opportunities in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and all other locations in the Pacific Time Zone, much of my work centers in New York. Therefore, I am at my desk by 4:30 a.m. and sending emails so they’re at the top of the heap in my media contact’s’ inboxes when they first get to work in the morning.
Next, I scan for urgent messages, particularly any media requests.
I actually keep it to one cup, then switch to water and then tea.
I build time into my morning for meditation. This helps to clear the pipes, get centered, and make myself ready to roll with the day ahead.
Scan the news:
Every day I scan the news for the top stories to see what is trending now. I page through the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and a few others. I have online access, but I also look over a couple of print newspapers, as they have little nuggets and sidebars here and there that you won’t find online.
As I do this scan, I ask myself how I can tap into the news cycle in some way on behalf of my clients and jot down ideas.
I go through my email inbox and respond to what is there in order of importance. Next, I prepare for email and phone calls for the day (yes, publicists still use the phone, although selectively). This includes catch-up, touch base, brainstorming, and cold-call emails and phone calls. Then I make client calls, if needed, to brainstorm or discuss ideas — including any new ideas I may have from when I scanned the news — and I’ll keep up on outreach.
My afternoons include production work, including things like:Meetings, including meetings with team members and other.
Research of any kind, including new contacts and pitching them
Letter writing, if necessary
Prepping and sending out mailings for my clients.
Writing any needed materials including press releases and other items for press kits.
Blog posts and social media development and posting.
I end my afternoon with one more email check. Then I prep for the next day, including checking my schedule for tomorrow, and writing down my goals for the next day.
End of the day: Go home
Whether you work at an office or you work from home, it’s important to put a period at the end of the day. Have some kind of ritual that tells you the workday is over. Perhaps it’s something as simple as closing your office door and leaving.
It’s true that we live in a 24/7 world, and when it comes to publicity, media may come calling at any time of day or night, so you need to make your own decision as to whether or not you will respond to requests during off hours. If I am actively doing a hard push on a campaign, then I make myself available. If something urgent comes in, I act on it. However, if there isn’t a big push on, then I am confident any requests can wait until morning, usually 4:30 a.m., for me to act on them. Again, this is your decision.
As I started this week’s blog post, I said you don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon to be a book publicist, and that’s true. But you do need to be smart and creative and have an understanding of the timing involved. You also have to be willing to do the work, because there are no shortcuts. Contacts are essential and experience with pitching media makes a huge difference too. Only time can give you that.
To your success!
P.S. Coming soon: Imagine if you could get yourself into Flow State at a moment’s notice. More on that in the very near future.