Are services like PR Newswire a worthwhile investment for a book launch, or am I better off making contacts the old fashioned way?
A client is launching a book this fall and wants to consider the use of a distribution service like PR Newswire. While he has no issue of the cost, I'm wondering if this is a worthwhile investment for a national campaign or if I'm better off making contacts the way I always do... contacting the journalists. What's your experience with these distribution services?
PR Newswire is losing its effectiveness. Reporters recognize its style and tend to shy away from it now. Reporters don't like being pitched, they like getting their hands on a story. Cision (formerly Bacon's) is going to be a better investment. It is a database of media outlets, reporters and their contact information (though sometimes out-of-date, but you can supplement that with a little research).
With the decline of numbers in newsrooms, I find reporters really like content they can quickly adapt to print or web. I've had many news releases that end up copy-and-paste on news websites.
I would go for the personal touch, and provide content that's nearly ready made.
We used PR Newswire and a couple of other Press release distribution networks before, during and after our book launch and it resulted in several interviews with many TV and Radio syndicates. My book was written for a specific niche so I created a marketing campaign, including social media and online ads to promote it. to that targeted audience. We used PR Newswire for our press releases and when we hit #1 best seller in 3 categories and posted that on PR Newswire, that is when the magic really happened.
Typically the publisher invests in the press release distribution, which is all you really get with PR Newswire. Very few people or publications bother with that notification. Your contacts won't check PR Newswire to decide whether to speak with you.
I think you need a press release as part of a launch campaign but I would not expect it to get you much in the way of reviews, attention, or media mentions. It's something to reference, something that media people can look up, etc. It's not a substitute for personal outreach.
PR Newswire is on the expensive side. Try e-releases.com
I think it depends on what your release is going to say. What is the author's press appeal? Is this the first book the author has ever written and what type of book? Memoir? Business? Pop culture? Current Affairs? Fiction? etc. Will there be a national book tour with confirmed appearance dates?
PR Newswire is great for mass distribution. They also have the ability to distribute within the mass to micro/trade industry lists. The ability to include a jacket cover, author image and website information can also be helpful for this type of one stop distribution. As mentioned by other professionals below, it all comes down to the publicity budget and billable hours but I would also note, that PRNewswire should not replace pitching but should supplement publicity efforts.
PR Newswire is a one shot approach but the Mose effective way to get publicity is to hire a PR consultant with contacts who can arrange for book tours, interviews and reviews. Hope this helps. Charlotte Tomic
Promoting a book is similar promoting anything. You want to bring the book to the attention of those that would find it interesting and make it interesting to those that don't know it is interesting. Jon Stewart is great book promoter. You may not be on his list but you can learn from him and his guests.
If money is no object then the world opens up to you. Depending on what the book is about and the influence of the author you create campaigns around that.
I campaign for my clients across multiple sources. I am Sr. Featured author for Newswire and Small Business Trendsetters and a LinkedIn publisher. I use all sources to create campaigns. Promoting a book is like political campaign as there needs to be a lot of handshaking and baby kissing along with orchestrated media. Please check and connect with me on LinkedIn
Depends on the appeal of the book - if it's very broad, then it may be worthwhile. But you'll still need to do all the individual legwork with journalists.
If cost isn't a factor, using PR Newswire or BusinessWire can be a pretty good supplemental tactic to ensure additional coverage and/or awareness. The larger news release distributors often have micro-target lists, e.g., feature or book editors, that have potential contacts (especially for regional outlets).
Optimally, the relationships you or your client have developed are the best journalists to approach first, in addition to the top national media and book trades.
I'm actually a bigger fan of a well-crafted pitch letter (vs. a press release) that's targeted and tweaked to fit each specific contact. This of course takes more work but is usually worth the time invested. With Google, Facebook and social media you can often find key personality traits for media so that your outreach is more personal and meaningful.
As much as I am a fan of PR Newswire, their core is press releases, which are an expensive and minimal acquisition medium... for what you are looking to do. You are counting on something you are pushing out, pulling people in.
As opposed to pulling those people yourself by reaching out to them directly - as you noted.
You can certainly do the former, but it will be costly - as you would need to be doing a large number and expansive reach of those releases to capture folks.
Just my experience... I would certainly use them for press announcements throughout your launch though.... any appearances, book signing, publisher announcement, published date announcement, etc.... a way of keeping the book in view..
I think there are better and more efficient ways to promote a book than PR Newswire. Contacting journalists is first on my list also.