The foundation for business-book publicity campaigns centers around the print media. For most, print is the bedrock, the one basic on which their campaigns are built. When you start developing your campaign, plan the print publicity component first. Make print your priority and concentrate your resources on it.
Print publicity is essential because it reaches the primary audience for business books. Placement in small but targeted business press can produce huge returns. Unlike information presented on radio and TV, print items can be easily torn out, copied, saved, and e-mailed. E-mail has become a highly popular distribution source. With little effort, you can e-mail a print item to your boss, clients, customers, associates or pals, and other media-and they can read the actual text. As a result, an item about your book can have staying power and be more than just a quick buzz in listeners’ ears.
Another advantage of print publications is that the business media is sharply focused and highly respected by readers. Readers don’t have to search all over the place to find items of interest, and they tend to believe what they read. Print publications are considered required reading for serious business types, so early in their careers, they form the habit of regularly reading the business media to get news and information. On the whole, business writers, especially those employed by respected publications, have a strong reputation for honest reporting, good information, and valuable insights
Items can be placed with the business media in various formats, including the following.
Reviews of business books carry great weight because reviewers are selective and usually cover only top books or books by top names. Busy business-book readers look to reviewers for information and tend to follow their recommendations. Book reviews usually stick to consistent length and regularly appear in the same place and issues. For example, on each Thursday, reviews will appear on page 2 of the business section. Good book reviews make fabulous promotional blurbs that are especially useful for future marketing efforts.
A strong review in The New York Times, Fortune, USA Today, or Inc. can send your book right to the top of bestseller lists. Two weeks before Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value, by Bill George (Jossey-Bass, 2003), was in the stores, the New York Times Sunday Business Section gave it a rave review. In a matter of days, the book rose to the ninth bestselling book position on Amazon.com, based on that review alone. And, supported by a strong media campaign, the book remained in the top 100 for some six months.
Articles can be longer and provide more depth, information, and explanations than book reviews. Features vary greatly in length. Articles frequently go beyond a book’s content and give information that can make you and your book more enticing to potential buyers. They can cover some parts of your book, but also go into related material that may make it even more interesting to potential buyers.
Writing your own articles is an excellent way to promote your book and inform the public about it. Business books lend themselves to byline articles that can be placed in key publications relating to your core market. They can be placed as editorials, features, or op-ed pieces in newspapers, magazines, and trade publications and on influential Web sites such as cbsmarketwatch.com,
When bylined articles are placed in publications with targeted readership, it can increase your book sales and convince companies to call you for consulting jobs. For example, if you’re a financial consultant, consider placing an article in Medical Economics magazine. Although bylined articles are not about your book per se, they often features ideas from your book, so they will generate excellent publicity.
For bylined articles, it may be tempting to submit little more than an excerpt or summary of material from your book, which can be dry and less than effective when read in isolation or out of context. So redraft your article to suit the publication in which it will run.
In profile articles, you are the centerpiece. In a feature article, you may be only a part of the story; just two paragraphs of a three-page article may highlight your thoughts. In a profile, the entire article is about you. Good profiles are tightly focused and provide lots of interesting information. They also tend to go into more depth, run longer, and include your photograph; profile writers often spend considerable time with you. They can create great interest in both you and your book. After reading them, readers usually feel that they know you better, more personally, which can increase their interest in your book.
Questions and Answers
These are articles written in the question-and-answer format. Interviews are frequently presented this way. Q&As position you as an authority and inform others about important or breakthrough information in your book. Readers may use that information and credit you. Q&As work best in a supportive role and make outstanding sidebars or fillers. If you can’t get fuller, more comprehensive coverage, be happy with Q&As, which can produce good publicity. On complex subjects, try to give the gist of the story without getting sidetracked or hung up on details that could put readers to sleep.
When you are an expert that the media comes to for explanations, opinions, or quotes, we call what they write source quotes. Although your words may appear in only a short paragraph or two of a twenty-paragraph article, source quotes give you great exposure and they usually include mention of your book. The media constantly needs explanations and quotes from experts on any number of subjects. If you always make yourself available, you will become a valuable, ongoing resource for the media. As a resource for the media, you can get into lots of media outlets and get terrific exposure. In the process, you will be building strong relationships with the media that can help you in the future. For instance, if you have a book coming out, the media could write a profile on you and your new title in response to the help you’ve provided.
Business books can be promoted in numerous print outlets, and when items about a book are published in the right publication, it can launch the book and help make it a success. However, placing a book in the right outlet isn’t easy! Creating great placements is an art, a skill that takes planning and can’t be handled on a hit-or-miss basis.
Your book will be of interest to the general business media, but it will also be attractive to the subset of the business media that concentrates on specific business areas. With the general business media, it’s hard to go wrong. But if you pitch inappropriate media outlets or submit items that don’t fit, your credibility can be damaged and they may be less open to your overtures in the future. In contrast, when you bring them items that fit, they will remember and be more receptive to items you want placed.
Learn to make the best matches by reading publications that could print items about your book. Before you pitch them, study them; find out their styles, preferences, tendencies, likes, and dislikes. Check their Web sites and request copies of their submission requirements before you approach them. Then, zero in on those outlets that would make the best fit for your book and frame your submissions in accordance with their styles.
“In choosing print outlets, match the subject matter of your book to publications that cover that subject matter,” David Hahn suggests. “For example, if your book is on marketing or advertising, consider Ad Age, Brand Week, and Sales & Marketing Management. If it’s on risk, try for CFO magazine. If you’re writing on corporate strategy, contact Harvard Business Review, Across the Board, Strategy & Business, and Chief Executive.
The following are some of the categories of print outlets that publicize business books. Examples of publications in each category are also provided.
National business magazines:
Fortune, Business Week, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Inc., Forbes, Business 2.0. As general business publications, these magazines cover many different business topics. So your topic might be of interest to all of them. You want to be very broad when dealing with the general business press because they are so inclusive. But when you drill down to publications with more specific focuses, you must offer a tighter fit.
National daily business newspapers:
Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily, Financial Times.
Major daily newspapers:
New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News.
Associated Press, Reuters, Gannett, Knight Ridder, Scripps Howard.
City business journals:
American City Business Journals own publications in forty markets that deal with local business authors and topics. Crain’s Business Journals are published in Chicago, Cleveland, New York City, and Detroit. These local publications deal with local business, local topics, and local authors.
Joyce Lain Kennedy, Jim Pawlak, Paul Tulenko, Bob Rosner, Tim McGuire, and Carol Kleiman. They tend to be tightly focused on what they write about. If you have a career book, you want a syndicated writer who specializes in writing about careers.
Industry trade publications:
Jewelry Today, National Real Estate Investor, Automotive News, Air Transport World, Chain Store Age, Modern Healthcare, Restaurant Business, Network World, Supermarket News.
American Way, Continental, Spirit, Attaché, Hemispheres, Sky.
Freelancers contribute features that appear in influential business publications such as Investor’s Business Daily, Continental, Wall Street Journal, Brandweek magazine, the Boston Globe, and 800-CEO-READ. An article by a freelance writer about you or your book can provide invaluable publicity for your book. Freelancers will often cite authors and their books as sources in their stories, and they write book reviews.
Familiarize yourself with the freelancers who write about your area of interest by reading business publications and visiting business Web sites. Find additional names of freelance writers from search engines, Profnet, and Bacon’s Business Directory. Some well-known freelance writers are:
The Most Influential Business Media
The following print publications wield the greatest influence in promoting business books. Although they cover books in various ways, the following generally describes their book review policies:
New York Times-Usually reviews business books in the Sunday Money section, not in the Sunday Book Review section. Covers a variety of business topics and writes in-depth reviews of single, high-profile titles and thematic reviews that incorporate examples from three or four books in one article.
Fortune magazine-Publishes some book reviews but primarily runs features of CEOs and business thought leaders.
BusinessWeek-Tends to write highly analytical book reviews. Concentrates on titles by CEOs, business journalists, and academics.
Wall Street Journal-Occasionally publishes reviews but does not review business books in a regular column. Reviews books of interest to businesspeople on topics including politics, sports, travel, and entertainment.
Harvard Business Review-This highly prestigious publication regularly runs reviews and in-depth, bylined articles by thought leaders.
USA Today Book Review-Publishes reviews in the Money section, usually on Mondays, on a variety of business books.
Fast Company-Asks readers each month which of five books should be reviewed and reviews the winner the following month. Being selected is an honor.
Airline magazines-Most don’t run reviews, but publish articles on business topics by business-book authors. Have cut down on business articles.
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