Preparing a Media Campaign

This week I want to go over the basics for preparing a media campaign. Again, while some publishing houses may take care of this for you, it's always good to combine your efforts as a team, even brainstorming ideas if possible. *Taken from a series of articles on the CAN Marketing Blog.

When most people think about a media campaign, they think of news and radio. But don't forget about magazines, which is where I want to begin. Your first step is to analyze your book and figure out who your target readership is. Maybe you've written a book about dogs, or perhaps you have a character driving to Texas with a giant statue of Elvis in the back of her car. The readers you might want to target may then be dog-lovers, people who live in Texas, or Elvis fans.

For Snow Melts in Spring, my first book with Zondervan, I determined that I had a handful of reader groups I wanted to target: Horse-lovers, people who lived in Kansas or more specifically the Flint Hills, folks who loved the simple country life, Christian women, and even those who had an interest in veterinary science. For Seeds of Summer, the second book in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series, I added to my list, the Miss Rodeo America organization and rodeo enthusiasts.

Once you have a list of groups, you can then brainstorm magazines that may be interested in what you have written--by way of a feature, interview, or even an article you've written with the intent of promoting through a by-line. A great tool to use for this is a current market guide, which will list nearly every periodical that is published in the United States, often broken down by category. By following these steps, I created a list for my publisher that included the magazine address, the person to contact, as well as their lead time. A lot of magazines will work on their issues three to six months in advance, so you'll want to be aware of this when sending your media information.
Be sure to give this a lot of thought, and be especially aware of the smaller, more regional magazines. I had nice success with my first book, gaining the interest for several feature stories and interviews in both regional and national publications--Show Me the  Ozarks (a small regional quarterly magazine), America's Horse (AQHA member magazine), Healing Hands (K-State College of Veterinary Magazine), and Country magazine (a Reiman publication). Country ended up featuring me in their April/May issue and offered a huge book giveaway to their readers. For the second book, the Miss Rodeo America organization printed an article/review in their member magazine, so you just never know what your efforts may produce.

The next step in your media campaign is to create a list of local/regional newspapers, radio, and television stations that might be interested in promoting you. The best tool for this is the Internet. Do a google search of your area and then include contact information for your publisher to send media releases to. If your publisher is unable to do this, always remember that you as the author can do this too. Send your local contacts one of your media kits that we discussed last week. And remember to follow up a few weeks later with a friendly phone call or email.

Again, I had nice success with this, gaining the attention of local and regional media, especially if I had an author event in the area. Interestingly enough, one of the book signings I did had a very small turnout, but I managed to gain the attention of the local media, who ran a nice article in their paper. This itty-bitty event ended up on an Associated Press list and ran in several papers state-wide, as well as scrolled on the bottom of public television screens for over a month! This happened on three different occasions so never underestimate the power of the press!

Next Tuesday I'll go over ideas for planning your book launch! Fun times await! Until then, keep chugging up those hills . . .