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Approaches to Public Relations for Your Book

Beneath the Cover, publishing, marketing, writing a book, platform, gravity wellThere are two approaches to cultivating key journalists: The sniper and the shotgun. Here we’ll look at the sniper approach.

Snipers can be effective, but only on single targets. They prepare for years, honing their skills on accuracy and remaining hidden, so they’re primed when it’s time to take a shot. Snipers also engage in research, observing their targets and learning their schedule and travel routes they figure out the most effective place and time to deliver their shot. They need a clear line of sight with no blocking or competing objects. When the time comes, snipers may spend hours at their post waiting for the target to arrive in the crosshairs. Snipers also generally get one shot at accomplishing their task.

The sniper approach to public relations is also very precise. It focus on targeted journalists or bloggers and creates a message directed just at them. An author engaged in sniper marketing will research those target journalists or bloggers or media outlets, learning about editorial and story preferences. The author will also consider the most effective way to deliver his or her message to the target.

The best way to begin your sniper public relations is to identify 10 journalists or bloggers who write about your subject. Read their articles or blogs. Note their story choices, editorial angles and even biases. Attempt to learn their likes, dislikes and preferences. Your goal is to become an expert on these writers.

Instead of aiming at them, your goal is to attract them. Dean Rotbart, an expert in public relations, says, “Good PR is sending a custom-tailored press release to a specific journalists who you know in advance is going to be interested. You’ve got to talk to each journalists, in the language of a journalist, about what matters to that journalist.”

His comment brings us back to Pavlov and the dogs that salivated when a bell rang. Pavlov did not give the dogs what he wanted to eat. He gave the dogs what they enjoyed. The same is true with your target journalists. Do not make the story about you or about what you want published. Make your story about what the journalists or bloggers want to talk about.

And since journalists are quite different from dogs (despite groups of journalists often being referred to as “packs”), you won’t be able to offer the same tasty treats to each single journalist or blogger. Each one has specific needs and interests.

It’s your responsibility to discover what those unique needs and interests are and cater to them.

In our next post, we’ll look at the shotgun approaches to public relations.

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