Writing a book should be the hard part. But what comes next is a little trickier. It’s time to find a public relations firm, which can be a very difficult decision. Publicity campaigns have no guarantees, but when they are successful, your book could gain more attention than you could have ever imagined.
So how do you find a firm that meets your needs?
Communication is Key
Find out how often your account team will be speaking with you and providing updates on your campaign. Do you prefer to be contacted by email? If so, see how available your publicist is via email. If you prefer the phone, see how often you can schedule a call. Transparency should be a key element in your relationship.
Look at their previous clients and success stories
A strong track record means the firm you’re considering knows how to deliver. That doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed massive results, but it means they understand the news industry and are true “media experts.” Check out their website and social media accounts and ask for references or testimonials regarding their service.
Knowledge of your market
What kind of book are you publishing? Business? Self-Help? Mystery/Thriller? Ask about the firm’s background in your genre and make sure they know how to reach influential media contacts in that market. They should have a strong strategy for your type of campaign and be confident they can produce results.
Understanding Changes/Trends in Media
Any successful PR firm knows that the media—traditional and social—are constantly changing. Make sure they understand what is important for social media marketing during your campaign, and ask about their social media strategy. They should understand what is trending in the media, which trends are over, and what trends may be on the horizon. They should also be prepared to use those trends to generate interest in your campaign.
Avoid the Used-Car Salesman Approach
Make sure the firm is not promising you unrealistic results. Sure, the New York Times is possible, but you want a Public Relations firm to be honest about your results and the type of coverage you’ll be able to attain. No one wants to deal with a liar. If they’re lying to you in the sales process, who knows what they may be doing when they’re working as your publicist?
Be Ready to Work as a Team
Your publicist is an expert in media relations, but you’re the expert on your topic. You need to be prepared for working as a team, generating content together, and brainstorming ideas that will hook the media. Ask what your role will be in the process, and make sure you understand—up front—how this will develop throughout the campaign.