Today we’re covering part #3 of the Common Mistakes Authors Make, which I presented at the APSS Virtual Book Selling University on the subject of How to Get Media Attention When No One Knows Who the He** You Are. Part #1 is here, and part #2 is here in case you missed them.
Today, we are moving on to the other critical mistakes I see authors make all the time, along with their solutions. Put these ideas into action and watch your success rate skyrocket.
More common mistakes authors make and their solutions
Not having a landing page on the website for media as well as your potential readers and audience. It’s very common for authors to give their main page or home page, but unless it’s functioning as a landing page, you likely aren’t going to get much from it.
Create a landing page with an Opt-in: Interviewers will ask you where their audience can learn more about you, so you want to be strategic in what you direct them to do. This page should be about your book, give the bullet points of what the reader will get, and have some kind of opt-in so that you will capture those who are interested in you.
In my own case, I have a book coming out soon and the opt-in is ‘How to become a Media Darling’ with specific tips on how to do exactly that. (If you want an early copy of it, I have a couple on hand for my Savvy Sunday readers.)
Not putting together materials prior to going out for publicity, or not putting together the right materials, such as a press kit, appropriate bios, B roll, still shots, etc.
We live in a multi-media universe now, so we all need to be prepared to not only deliver to media, but to save our own time, energy, frustration, and worry. Start preparing for your publicity campaign well in advance so you can prepare the appropriate materials and have them ready to go. What you need to prepare depends on two things: The topic of your book, and the type of media you are going after.
At the very least, you’ll want a compelling one-pager that features the cover, your picture, bullet points on what an interview would be about, bio, etc.
Not creating your own media channel. This is “you media,” and consists of all your own content generation.
By creating a media channel, not only are you able to put out your message the way you want to have it received, but it also begins the process of helping you show up in searches. If media hears about you and considers doing an interview with you, it’s much more favorable if they see you’re putting out content than if you seem to be a complete unknown. Your media channel is the perfect place for them to see you in action.
Remember: Producers don’t have to take chances on guests anymore. Before they book you as a guest, they’re going to want to see you in action. Even if you haven’t done any earned media yet, you can perform a mock interview, or put up a virtual presentation you did, or something so they can see you delivering your message from your book. Have video. Have audio. Have print pieces since everything is multimedia now. Make it easy. The whole idea here is to get known, so do it.
Only going after top-tier media. With media there is the top tier, the secondary tier, and the tertiary tier. All of them are important, but media on the top tier looks to see who is rising to the top from the secondary and tertiary tiers. If you’re not there, they are not going to see you, let alone consider having you as a guest.
If you’re only targeting top-tier media and the few outlets you’ve heard of, you are severely limiting your opportunities. If you’re just getting started on your book campaigns, start with the tertiary tiers, which consist of the smaller media brands, blogs, and podcasts, and others. With a smaller audience, you have a chance to fine-tune and really get your message down. Then, when you go out to the top tier, they will be able to see that others have already covered you. It basically says that others found your work and your message to be worthy, and they are more likely to say yes to you.
Not testing your system. Hey, it’s technology. Things can go wrong, so you want to do everything in your power to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Test everything. Do not wait until the day of the interview to be sure everything is working. There’s nothing worse than logging on to do a big interview only to discover that your system has decided that NOW is the time to do that big update.
Don’t whine to the producer if you’re not sure how to use your technology. You definitely want to know how everything works before the big day. If you’re doing a Skype or Zoom interview, test your mic and your camera with a friend. Look at your background. Can you see anything on the floor or anything at all you don’t want the camera lens to pick up? Record your test call and do a mock interview. How are your hands moving? Are you looking at the camera? Do you look and sound good? Consider using an external microphone because it always sounds better than the internal microphone. How is the lighting? Make sure your face looks bright and wonderful. Is anything muffled or out of focus? Fix these things BEFORE you ever get online with a producer or host.
When it comes to author mistakes, there are a lot of them to avoid. Over the past three blog posts covering this topic, we have given solutions to many of them. The good news is that it isn’t difficult to correct those common mistakes. You just simply need to know what to do! Hopefully, this has given you plenty of actionable steps to take to make sure you get the most positives coverage you can.
To your success!
P.S. Well, it’s another birthday for me, and we just passed Valentine’s Day, so here is a tribute to love, and something to make us all smile. (Obviously before the pandemic.) Enjoy!!
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