Common PR Mistakes: Not Identifying the Right Media

Beneath the Cover, publishing, marketing, writing a book, platform, gravity wellWe’ve been looking at some public relations errors in book campaigns (in our last, we looked at overstating your claims). Another common public relations mistake in book-promotion is lack of direction, that is, not identifying and targeting the right media for your book.

Public relations campaigns often fail because they haven’t pinpointed target media. Authors also have a tendency to make incorrect assumptions about the media. To avoid wasting your time – and the time and patience of the journalist, bloggers and reporters who might show a bit of interest in your subject – you have a responsibility to do your research on who’s writing about what you’re writing about.

Make sure that the publication (or even radio station or podcast or, in some rare instances, television stations) reaches your target audience. For instance, if you have an ocean or bayou market (remember the size of the markets for your book, from tiny well market to all-encompassing ocean one), you might be sending press releases to publications in all major U.S. cities.

But just because a publication is listed on a database as a local newspaper, however, doesn’t mean that your target markets reads that particular publication. Your target market might even despise that newspaper (or magazine, or blog or podcast – whatever) and your presence within its pages could lead your target market to think about you negatively. (This happened when I covered certain authors in the Wall Street Journal; they preferred not to be associated with what they considered a right-wing newspaper.)

Remember too that because you have a story to tell, this doesn’t mean that every magazine or radio or television station or blogger or podcaster wants to tell that story. By doing your research, you can make sure you understand the editorial interests of the publication or station. By doing your research, you can make sure that you understand the editorial interest of the publication or blog or podcast or station. Has it aired or written stories similar to yours in the past? What kind of coverage did it get – negative or positive? And were the stories done far enough in the past that editors don’t believe they’re returning too early to the subject? Are their readers or viewers interested in you, your book or your subject? And this is basic: What types of stories are these publications looking for?

Make sure you understand your target market and the media that appeal to that market. A story no one reads is a story wasted.

In our next post, we’ll look at another common public relations mistake: charging ahead without a strategy.

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