If a tree falls in a forest and its wood is used to make paper for a book that no one knows is available, do the pages make a sound?
Now that we have our philosophy hats on, let’s talk about promoting books and authors through the media.
Public relations, or PR, is the process of using media outreach to get your book in front of a specific audience of interested people. This may include traditional media, like news outlets, but it can also include social media influencers and podcasters, local bookstores, and popular organizations or professionals in the field your book is about. If your book has any chance of reaching a wide audience, you’re going to need help getting media coverage.
Ballast Books offers PR support as a core part of our book marketing services, designed to suit your book’s genre, industry or subject matter—and, most importantly, your goals as an author. Having professional marketing support is ideal for that strategic expertise, however, we know that some authors take a DIY approach. In this blog, we’ll discuss the steps you can take individually as an independent author to effectively leverage PR.
Why Is PR So Important?
It’s critical to include PR in your marketing plan when you’re preparing for release. To put it simply, PR is the modern-day word of mouth. In our digital society, we typically find ourselves taking recommendations for services and products outside of our normal social circles and instead turning to trusted news outlets, social media accounts that match our personal interests, and even the podcast hosts who keep us company on our daily commutes. By connecting with these outlets, you can enlist their help to spread the message about your book to the most relevant audiences.
For example, if your book covers financial how-to tips, you’ll likely want an expert and well-known outlet like Bloomberg to promote it and recommend it to people who keep up with them. Because Bloomberg has an established audience of people interested in financial happenings and advice, the odds that those people will pick up a book about that subject are far greater than if someone with no interest in finance simply ran across an advertisement on a less relevant website.
Additionally, PR creates trust. In the same example above, part of the reason why someone would be inclined to pick up your book is because it was mentioned by a national media source—a trusted voice on financial matters. Establishing credibility is crucial for nonfiction authors, and a recommendation from an already vetted name in the field goes a long way. Now that you understand the importance of PR, let’s talk about one key way to actually incorporate it into your marketing plan.
Using PR Newswires to Send Press Releases
As an independent author, you likely don’t have the time or resources to research news outlets, internet personalities, or trustworthy sources; find contact information; and craft individual pitches and press releases for each. But that doesn’t mean you have to leave PR out of your plan entirely.
A PR newswire is a platform that will allow you to conveniently reach professional news outlets for a small fee. The newswire handles press release distribution for you with their existing network of contacts. All you have to do is write your press release using industry best practices—including all the essential details about your book and why it’s important—and upload it to the platform. Some newswires even offer editing services to ensure your press release is in the best possible condition before sending it along to their media partners, which may include big names like The New York Times and ABC, national magazines, or even search engines.
A newswire allows you to more effectively reach a large number of recognizable sources and gives you the opportunity for qualified promotion to their audiences.
How Newswire Services Can Be a Part of Your Marketing Strategy
Different newswires offer different services. Here at Ballast Books, we’re constantly evaluating our newswire partners to find services that provide the best coverage for our authors. However, if you don’t have an expert book marketing team to rely on, you can research the newswire that makes the most sense for you.
Let’s say you’ve written a general fiction novel. If your strategy is to get your book in front of as many eyes as possible, select a newswire that has a greater number of channels across a wide expanse of subjects.
Now, let’s say you’ve written a professional nonfiction book tailored to a specific industry. If your strategy is to craft an expertly written press release that will appeal to outlets that are known for featuring industry leaders in your field, select a newswire that offers services like editing, tagging, and performance optimization.
These are just two examples of how a newswire can factor into your overall strategy. Cost may be a consideration when you decide between newswires, but many of them have enough similarities (and enough differences) that you’re sure to feel confident in the one you select.
PR Newswires to Check Out
If you’re at a complete loss for where to start, don’t fret. Ballast Books has compiled a list of PR newswire services for authors to look into while researching the PR coverage options available to independently represented authors.
Newswire is a simple distribution service for disseminating your press release and content to the news, media outlets, and social media spaces. Newswire will also provide a detailed PDF report outlining where your press release ends up getting published. Other services include analytics and a media database.
CISION | PR Newswire
Cision offers what could probably be considered the most comprehensive services. With national distribution, an editorial team, audience targeting, visibility reports and results tracking, multimedia management, and more, there’s a reason why Cision is considered the industry’s largest network for sharing your book with the world.
The main features of GlobeNewswire include tracking, editorial support, targeting, and metrics. Certain services are free, while others are paid, but their self-proclaimed focus is always on high-quality media outlets.
Everyone’s Internet News Presswire
Everyone’s Internet News Presswire (EIN) sends your press release to the journalists most likely to publish it. They create tailored media lists made up of major publications and platforms and optimize your press release for online performance. When it comes to bang for your buck, EIN’s a great option.
Linking News is a white-label distribution service, meaning you can select your plan level and the number or type(s) of news outlets your press release is submitted to. If you have a specific budget to stick to, this one is worth checking out.
BusinessWire is another option for robust targeting, including geographic, industry, and demographic targeting. If your book was created with an industry-specific message or niche audience in mind, these tools will certainly come in handy.
Do It with Ballast Books
PR isn’t an extra step you can simply ignore; it’s an important vehicle for a successful launch of your work. However, PR can be daunting and difficult to tackle on your own. That’s why Ballast Books provides PR services for every author, no matter your contract level. We’ll handle everything from writing your press release to researching outlets. Newswires are just one way that we get the word out about your book to your preferred audience.
Marketing can often feel like the most intimidating part of your book’s release, especially when it requires learning about tools—like newswires—that you may be unfamiliar with. Luckily, you can let us be the experts and simply sit back and enjoy it when your book is mentioned by a news outlet you read every day. Contact us today to hear about our personalized book publishing plans customized for all of your needs.