Many of our PR clients request our team to not only provide PR services, but to also secure speaking engagements. If you do not have the budget for a PR agency, then here are some DIY tips to book your own speeches.
Promote Your Business
There are always opportunities to book yourself a free speech. Why should you offer a ‘free’ speech? It helps to increased your branding, promote your business, expertise and more. I have spoken to schools, small business and groups to share PR strategies and to promote our agency.
As an example, an attorney might make secure a speech to a group of business persons, free of charge, on legal issues that may be of concern to the small business owner. This one speech could result in obtaining new clients. It could also cause existing clients to purchase additional services, such as incorporations, income tax election filings, incorporations and so much more. If you are a tax accountant or financial expert, book a free speech to a local rotary or retirement club. You have the opportunity to secure new clients and referrals. Health experts could speak to clubs, at gyms and spas to name a few.
Paid Seminars, Workshops and Webinars
You could also charge admission fees to attend a seminar on your expertise from financial, to gardening, estate planning, real estate investment, health and fitness, vegan cooking and so much more.
Sell Information Products
The information presented during a speech or seminar could form the basis for information products such as books, courses, special reports or folios, audios, videos, DVDs, electronic books, and so forth. For example, you could write a book entitled “Easy Low Carb Recipes for Better Health”. Or the tax benefits of an LLC.
Including such products as handouts at your seminar would increase the value for the attendees (which you could charge for). Even if you gave a free speech to a group, you could still receive back-end income from the sale of your information products.
Your information products establish your credibility as an expert, resulting in even more business
Consulting and Other Opportunities
As your reputation as an expert in your specialized field grows, you will become more in demand. Clients may seek you out for lucrative speaking engagements. You may be invited to write magazine articles, consult for large corporations, act as an expert trial witness, become a syndicated columnist as a few examples.
Therefore, whether you are a novice or an experienced public speaker, it pays to increase and utilize your public speaking skills.
However, your public speaking skills will be especially important when producing an audio seminar. Your listeners and viewers will make certain judgments based on your personal appearance, poise, audience contact, use of gestures, enthusiasm, how informative the material is, and many other factors. If you need a little media training, it may be advisable to book a few sessions with a skilled media trainer. That small investment may give you an extensive financial return.
Develop a Powerful Marketing Plan
Your first step is to develop your launch plan, which will be your blueprint to your entire book launch. The launch plan will outline every aspect of the campaign.
Prepare your social media, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter.
We suggest ‘tease’ promo’s a few months prior to the release. Once the book is released, include in your social media all press releases, press stories, broadcast and radio interviews.
Link to Amazon and any outlets online who will be carrying your book.
Create a Media Kit
The basic information you should include in your media kit is:
The author contact Information: Name, website, social accounts.
The cell number and email of your publicist.
Your Book Facts: Author/ Book Website, the release date, book price and where to purchase.
Details & Author Info: Brief author bio, and a short book description or synopsis. (Remember, brevity is key. Your bio and the book synopsis should only be a few sentences each.)
Attention Grabbers: This is where you can get creative and really sell your book! Why do people want to read it? Does it fill a void or respond to a current trend or need? Perhaps you want to include a bulleted list of interviews talking points, or a few article headlines or pitch ideas. At the very least, include a few sentences describing the main reason to buy.
Reviews / Awards: What are people saying about your book? Has it won any awards or gotten positive feedback? The media should know! The review doesn’t have to come from a famous critic or top news outlet – but if you have one, that’s great! – A positive Amazon or Facebook review works perfectly.
Images: One or two high-resolution photos of the book cover and one author headshot.
Media Release / Press Release: Almost all of the above items can be included in a media release or press release. A press release is formal in tone. It is written like a news story and includes information that is more factual than promotional. There are a variety of different ways to organize the above information in a media kit. Some authors make giant media kits filled with every document, pdf, and pictures related to the book. Others include only the nitty-gritty. We recommend organizing the information into 2 PDFs (one fact sheet and one media release) and several images.
A good landing page is crucial for book sales. Your website should include a compelling description of the book, photos, reviews, and information about you as the author. Above all, it should contain all purchasing information and links with a clear “call-to-action” to buy.
Reviews aren’t just important, they are vital. Reviews give books greater visibility and a greater chance of getting found by more readers. They provide social proof that your book is worth buying. Your reviews will go in your media kit, on Amazon, on your website, and more. You’ve probably received positive endorsements from your friends and family,
Remember, the more people that read your book, the more reviews you will get. Send advanced copies of the book to everyone in your close network and ask them to review on Amazon, Facebook, or other social platforms.
Amazon and Facebook reviews are great. But, reviews from trusted news sites or medias authorities. To get your book reviewed or featured by established media outlets, send advance copies of your book and media kit to book critics, bloggers, and review sites.
Get the Word Out – Media Attention
Media attention is the best way to boost sales and get the word out about your book. Our team will work hard to garner extensive media coverage.
A compelling media pitch is key to landing these placements. Your pitch should outline why your story would be a great fit for their show (or magazine, news site, etc) and what their audience would gain from what you have to say. Remember, unless you are reaching out to the media with an explicit request for them to review the book, your pitch can’t sell the book too hard. (Pitches that are too promotional get sent to the sales department to buy ad space.) Instead, your pitch should sell you and your message and they should be customized to fit the outlet/contact that you’re pitching.
The Interview Changes with Covid Will Continue Post Pandemic
Prior to the pandemic, as a publicist, my team and I were busy running to local and national television studios to accompany a client for press tours or one-time interviews. When we secured a press tour, they had to be meticulously designed to hit live or pre-taped interviews back-to-back. As an example, I recall pre-pandemic handling the press tour for Donny Osmond for the launch of his new home line. The day started at 7:30 AM at the Today Show, then we headed to NY Live, then to a syndicated talk show, stop for lunch then taping the Rachel Ray Show.
That was only day one, more media day two then media in Philadelphia to follow.
I have secured and accompanied clients to so many television interviews from LA to DC, to NYC and more cities, I have lost count.
The pandemic hit in 2020 and the he world stopped! Client in-studio interviews were postponed or canceled. For our industry, it was a little confusing on how to proceed with media.
Then Zoom arrived! A few weeks after the lockdown, media began to re-schedule clients who had been canceled. Except, the media wanted the interviews to happen on Zoom. I had a client launching his 4th national book in 2020. For the first time since he became an author, he was not flying to different cities to appear on local shows, he was not on trains meeting media for print interviews. He was sitting in his home office and being interviewed from the comfort of his own home.
As the publicist, we secured the press tour as if it was in the studio, however, no traveling was required.
I must say, the results I do believe we're exactly the same as if he were in the studio. Some clients thrive on in-studio interviews, and as the publicist, it is always exciting to be in a studio of a national show, and meet other guests, the hosts, and the producers. But, to not do non-stop running, was also a nice break.
The positive news is 85% of the local show producers surveyed have stated they will continue to interview via Zoom. There will be that in-studio option, but remote, on-location interviews will continue as a trend I believe for years to come.
This option also allows the booking producers to seek out guests across the country and the globe, without the concern if the guest can travel to their network location. Many producers also feel interviews at home, or the guest's office comes off to the public as very authentic. The viewer can see where this expert works or lives.
For the media, it also saves budgets, as they are not flying experts or celebrities to the interview. The interview guests can complete their interview then go back to their day.
I feel there is a benefit to have this home/ office option. My team and I have begun going back into some studios, but it is very limited. The vast majority are still interviewed remotely.
So, this is our new normal in the media industry. I think it opens more doors to interviews in locations clients would never travel to in the past.
I do look forward to going back to many in-studio interviews, but I do not feel it will ever be as hectic as it was pre-pandemic. Zoom will be in the mix for many years to come.
I have worked with countless startups over the past 10 years, some were hugely successful, others got their feet wet but moved on to another concept. Many of these early startups would state that they need PR but they were not sure if they afford it ?
Most entrepreneurs know a professional PR team could take their launch to greater heights, but as a boot- strapped startup there may not be a budget.
Statistics: 100 start-ups and entrepreneurs queried believed the cost as follows:
11% — Thought a professional PR campaign would cost $10,000+ per month
32% — Thought a professional PR campaign would cost $5,000-$10,000 per month
39% — Thought a professional PR campaign would cost $3,000-$5,000 per month
12% — Thought a professional PR campaign would cost $1,000-$3,000 per month
6% — Thought a professional PR campaign would cost less than $1,000 per month
The facts are that you can launch a PR campaign whether the budget is small or large!
You have to determine what you can you get for your budget and will the campaign provide the ROI you need? It may be true that the more you pay the more you get. But getting the most publicity/PR exposure doesn’t mean you have to get most expensive PR agency or publicist.
Talk to other startups and ask about their experiences with PR agencies, would that agency be a fit, do they represent similar clients? There are boutique agencies who may focus on your niche and offer affordable retainer fees. Most of the time the fees will be in line with your prospective PR budget. If you are a small business or startup with two employees, you do not need to hire a high-dollar PR agency with dozens of employees.
The larger PR agencies typically represent the major brands, corporations or organizations, so they would not be a fit for your smaller venture. Their retainer fees can be upwards of $10,000.00 per month and you would be assigned to a junior publicist.
Smaller agencies may charge $2500.00 per month. Plus, a boutique agency can cater a campaign to your budget but still offer similar services:
Press Release Launch to the Wires
Social Media outreach to influencers
Many agencies offer media training as well.
There are major benefits of hiring a professional (individual PR specialist or PR firm) to launch your campaign:
Professional Crafted Campaign Implementation- Improperly composed or poorly pitched campaigns are the major downfall of many PR efforts. Poorly written, over-commercialized media releases; uncalculated, misdirected mass e-mailing of the release pitch; you need to know how to pitch the reporter, editors, and no follow-up media relations/media request fulfillment.
Your first vital impression: You get one shot with the journalist or producer or editor.
Media Contacts: Most skilled PR agencies have established multiple media contacts over many years that can lead to much better and more numerous media placements for your campaign. By working with an agency, they can open more doors for you.
Efficiency and Effectiveness: PR specialists/agencies generate publicity full time, and know the ins and outs, shortcuts and secrets to getting the job done better and quicker. You are the expert at your business, the PR teams are specialists at what they do!
One caveat when it comes to choosing a professional PR agency or Publicist to work with, seeking a higher priced campaign doesn’t necessarily mean you will get better results than a less expensive PR campaign. And the inverse can be true as well. They are low in cost because they may be lower quality. Bigger is not necessarily better, and cheap does not always mean a good bargain.
So, research is vital before you sign with an agency.
If your startup has the time and talent to handle your PR in-house, then try it for a few months. You can also seek college interns who are majoring in PR and want “real world” experience to assist your PR efforts. But once you have a budget, retain a PR pro, as they can help garner your business the media coverage to take you business to greater success. You have to be seen by your demographic, they they become loyal customers.
KBC Media- Karen L. Ammond
Many start-ups do not have a budget for retaining a PR agency. Hiring a professional PR team may guarantee coverage through their media connections. However, if there are no funds at the launch, then you can take action to conduct your own DIY PR campaign.
1: The initial step is to determine which media outlets are a fit. Have they written about your niche in the past? Most vital, will their coverage of your news reach future customers? Is this a publication your target audience follows? Carefully craft your media list.
2: Define your message, Prior to reaching out to the media outlet, research their past articles, follow journalists on social media who have written about your topic.
3: What is your story? What will make the media jump to interview you and share your story and get you exposure that can jumpstart your business, service or book into the limelight.
4: Put a dynamic pitch together. The pitch should not be too lengthy, introduce yourself to the journalist, share why other stories he or she has written has influenced you or your business. Describe your business or service, why the readers of the publication will want to learn more.
Tie into timely news stories of the day.
5: Press Release: A well written release launched onto the news wires is a great vehicle to link to your pitch.
6: How to reach the journalists?
There are media databases you can subscribe to such as:
Once you have chosen your media database, then search the outlets and writers. Try to located the journalists with email addresses, not a generic publication email.
7: Leveraging your media coverage
Congratulations on your press coverage. It is extremely important to capitalize on your media success.
Share on all your social media
Add the links and media logos to your website press page
Share the media links to your customers or email lists.
Once your company, service begins to grow, then it is a good decision to retain a qualified PR agency to take you to greater heights so you can focus on your business growth.
Press Release Success
Do press releases work? Are they worth the effort? Do they get results?
These are questions my team and I at KBC Media get asked quite often by our clients.
My response: A press release can be a great marketing and an SEO tool publicity.
How they work: Press releases are informative and objective pieces that are newsworthy and are circulated in PR wires for pickup by various newsgroups and editors. Once a press release is picked up, it can be published in various channels all over the Internet, or even through print publications. It is a way to spread to your message and or announcement about your business or product launch. The release is excellent to add your online website press room or to add links to media pitches.
How to construct a release: You cannot simply write a press release the same way you would an article, or a content piece, or a sales letter.
So how exactly should you write a press release? Let’s take a look at the guidelines below.
Pay attention to the 5 Ws. These are Who, What, When, Where, and Why. These are the questions that your press release should focus on. If you’re going to write a press release for a new lifestyle product you are launching or opening of a new restaurant, you should be able to state who you are, what your business is about, when it will, or was, launched, where it can be found and why it was established. If you are going to launch, or just launched, a new product, you would have to state who the creator is, what the product is all about, when it was or will be launched, where it can be bought, and why it was introduced to the market.
Be objective. Remember, a press release should be a newsworthy item. News is never subjective. Stay away from flowery words that merely tend to hype up what you want to discuss. Stick with the facts and ONLY the facts. You are writing news, not a promotional piece.
The ultimate aim is to promote your product, but be subtle about it. To do this, reorient your focus. Try to make your press release informative instead of persuasive.
There are three parts to a press release: the headline, the summary, and the body. The headline is the title of your piece. The summary is a paragraph that would serve as an introduction to your press release, or a summary of its most salient contents. The body is where you objectively discuss the 5 Ws. End with a ‘call to action’ for more information visit the website and add your link.
Length is not a factor. Don’t ever think that if you write a longer press release, it would have a better chance of getting picked up. Often, the rule is, the more concise your press release, the better its chances are of success. A 1,000-word piece is considered a little too long for a press release. 300 to 700 words are succinct enough for this purpose.
If you are not a skilled writer, you can hire a freelance writer who specializes in press release writing.
There are a few outstanding wire release services available depending upon your budget. Our agency has relationships with a few of the top services and our clients are always thrilled when their release lands on a few hundred media outlet sites.
The client can state, “As Seen On” and link to the release.
24–7 Press Release Newswire
Press releases can win your business the exposure it needs. It is capable of quick results as long your press release gets picked up and published. A lot of Internet marketers have testified to the power of press releases as marketing tools.
So, commence to write an objective and informative piece about your business or product, observe the guidelines we have delineated above, and ready yourself for the new audience you’re almost certain to garner.
Your digital press kit should include key information to garner extensive press coverage. Many clients request our agency to assist them with the design of the digital press kit, but it can be achieved in-house.
Digital Press Kit:
Always consider the time of a journalist, they are often on a deadline and do not have time to scour the internet for more information. By presenting a quality and enticing press kit, your chances increase of getting media exposure.
Onward to media interviews!
Quick PR Tips- Dealing with the Media in a Positive Way -- To Build Relationships with Local and National Press
Below are PR tips to assist you/ your company to build solid relationships with the media if you choose to do PR in-house. It is always beneficial to have a professional PR firm/ publicist, however not all companies, entrepreneurs or startups can commit resources to PR out of the gate.
I hope these quick tips assist in your PR campaigns until you are ready for a professional team.
If you are handling your media outreach in- house, it is very important to be responsive to media. If you receive a request for more information or asked to send a sample of your product line or book, react quickly. Often media are on a tight deadline, and by responding as soon as you receive the request, that will let that editor, reporter, or producer know, this is someone I can count on for future stories. Make this one of your top priorities when dealing with the press.
Stop a moment and think about responses before emailing:
Yes, media outlets who are writing a story and need an ‘expert’ quote, will be anxious to hear back from you. But, remember, as I stated above, you want to react swiftly, but consider what you are sending. Have an associate check what you have written, it is important what is in that email is ‘quotable’ for a story, but has value and you will be proud to post on your social media and use in your press kits.
My advice to clients has always been, provide, quality, and strong information. Then allow the writer/ reporter to choose what they wish to pull for their story. You have that one shot to be chosen for that quote or interview. Try to respond within 1 day.
All media is valuable, the smaller press can help you reach the national press:
I always ask clients to provide a media “wish list”. Most dream of that interview on The Today Show, or The Wall Street Journal, or if in entertainment The Tonight Show or People Magazine. But, as you grow, build, and brand your company, do not turn away from the smaller blog/ digital magazine or local radio show.
By doing a few smaller interviews, you can determine if your ‘messaging’ is reaching your audience, you will also not be as apprehensive if you make a small mistake or two. The smaller blogs, digital magazines, or radio show/podcast still provides terrific SEO to your company and or brand.
I tell clients, let’s garner a few smaller outlets (if they do not have a national name brand), get exposure, build your media presence and skills in delivering your message! Then we can move up to nationals.
Since reporters and producers tend to do online searches prior to booking you as a guest or for an interview, having 5 or 10 strong smaller interviews can only help to ‘grab the eye of the media.’
I had a client on a local Philadelphia Fox Good Day segment, it was such a success that Fox sent it to other Fox affiliates across the country. I’ve had clients do a radio podcast, something they said in the interview went viral and it landed on 10 more podcasts. So, you never know what one small interview can bring in the future. If you get quoted or get called for an interview, upon completion, always send a Thank You email or personal note via the mail.
Positive exposure is always valuable. Building trust with the media and your audience will help you reach the next steps in your business and or career.
Good Luck and Success in the Media!
The goal of Public Relations is to tell your story, build your credibility, brand you, your company, and or product. Then share your expertise and gain national recognition.
Become the Expert/ Influencer
A great tactic to become ‘an expert’ and in-demand by the media is to write valuable articles and white papers. Our agency has helped many clients become known as ‘the expert’ within their industry by placing their articles in key publications and niche blogs, whether it’s technology, lifestyle, entrepreneurial, and business.
We have garnered a multitude of client interviews and ‘quotes’ in top-tier publications and interviewed on regional, national broadcast news radio, podcasts, and talk shows.
Goal: Ensure your article is reaching your targeted audience and speaking directly to them. Offer value and begin a ‘conversation’ that may go viral.
Keep an Eye on Your Competitors and Follow Key Media Journalists
It is vital to understand what your competition is doing with their marketing, media social media, and advertising. You can learn from their successes and failures. Research who in media have covered them. Share with key journalists what makes your business unique and why it would be of interest to their readers and viewers. Follow media in your niche in their social media and comment on their articles. Reference those articles, posts, and tweets in your pitches.
Provide Commentary to the Media
Bloggers and journalists are always seeking new story angles and expert opinions. By providing valuable commentary, your expertise, and knowledge on the topic, it will impress the journalist or producer who may quote you for their next story or news broadcast. Look for articles that pertain to your expertise and contact the writer with additional information for a follow- up article or news story about your business or service.
Speeches/ Conferences/ Events
You can position yourself as “The Expert” by speaking at local conferences, business clubs, and events. With the pandemic, many conferences have moved to Zoom meets. Offer your virtual expertise to key organizations. You can start small and who knows, you may become a “Ted Talk” speaker.
By appearing as a speaker, it will give you and your business instant credibility. Speaking helps with branding and building future customer relationships. Adding quality speaking engagements to your bio will also impress the media, making the journalist comfortable that you can be the ‘go-to-expert” for their stories.
These quick PR Tips will get you started with your DIY PR. Once you have reached a certain amount of success, you can transition to retaining an agency to soar to greater heights.
PR Success Quick Tips
As a publicist representing countless clients over the past years, there are many times that media requests come in that may not be on the client’s top ‘wish list’.
Perhaps the request is a smaller blog, a podcast that does not reach hundreds of thousands of people, or a local paper or freelancer. These may not be what we consider to be A-list media, but as I explain to many clients, do not discard the opportunity so quickly. My team and I have handled high profile projects; product launches, lifestyle, books, film, franchises, business, start- ups etc. When a smaller media outlet makes a request for an interview the initial reaction is often, ‘pass.’
But- Should we pass?
Our team at KBC Media have had clients on top tier shows such as The Today Show, GMA, Fox, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, PBS, BBC, Talk Shows such as Rachel Ray, Wendy Williams, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, The Doctors, The View, The Talk, top print – newspapers and magazines.
One particular client I recall, we launched on a few of the national shows, but I also encouraged her to accept a few smaller podcast interviews and niche blogs. The client reported back, because the ‘niche’ blogs and podcasts hit their target audience they actually made more sales than the national shows.
The name recognition and branding are crucial to any new launch, but to hit that target demographic, perhaps the smaller niche outlets are also truly beneficial.
I have also explained to clients that you never know who reads the smaller blogs or hears the podcasts. I had a client who was only being interviewed in the smaller outlets, until a national editor read a blurb online and we landed a national magazine.
There is value in all high-quality interviews and if that smaller blog one day turns into a viral success, they will remember you and ask you back for follow up interviews. With proper keywords in the article, it will land in google searches and you may gain an audience.
As you embark on your PR campaign, my advice is quality not always quantity!