Jackie Lapin is the CEO of Conscious Media Relations, a public relations company that helps authors, entrepreneurs and artists in the fields of mind, body, and spirit get booked on national and international media. Jackie is revered for her skill at getting authors, speakers, and coaches booked through her network of contacts with over 2,000 radio hosts and leaders in the personal development industry.
In this interview, Jackie freely shares an absolute wealth of wisdom on how to create a successful media and publicity campaign and how to generate massive buzz for your next book launch.
Jackie was one of the first women’s sportswriters in America. She segued into the PR industry after being published in the Detroit Free Press at the age of 20, in the Associated Press and LA times at the age of 21, and at the Washington Post at the age 22.
She pivoted away from sportswriting because she saw a greater opportunity in the PR industry and she didn’t want to spend her career in locker rooms working late nights on weekends.
She started her own PR firm, and had offices in LA and New York. She had big clients like The Golf Channel and Toyota, and major cable networks. She commuted between New York and LA for 15 years. She also helped launch the World Poker Tour.
A few years ago she decided to scale her business back in part because she wrote two books in personal growth and self development. Writing those books reminded her that her heart was in supporting people who want to change the world.
Build Your Media Kit
“Plan ahead. You don’t start marketing your book the day it’s published. Put things in play, build your book marketing plan. Put it on paper. Get your social media marketing all ready to go, your site set up, your media kit. It’s a process that needs to be well thought out before you even get to the starting line.”– Jackie Lapin
Every author should have a media kit if you want to get PR. Your media kit should include:
- A press release about the book you’re promoting.
- Your author bio.
- A four or five paragraph introduction that the interviewer will read on the air. You never want to leave your introduction up to the person interviewing you.
- 20 questions you want them to ask leading them down the path you want to take their audience.
- Lastly you want to include a bulleted list of things the host should mention at the end of the interview.
That bulleted list should include:
- Where to buy your book
- If your website has an opt in form
- Whatever your upsell is (whether it’s coaching, a tele-seminar, or an information product)
A media kit doesn’t have to be long, but it does need to be complete. A media kit simply makes it easier for interviewers to promote your work.
The interviewers that work at traditional media outlets often don’t have time to read your book. Giving them questions in advance takes all the pressure off the interviewer to come up with things to ask.
The key to the 20 questions in your media kit is they should start a conversation that makes your ideal reader want to read your book. These questions should be insightful. You want these questions to draw out the information that will make people want to read your book. Think about your audience. What kind of information does your ideal reader want to know?
You should put your media kit on your website. You should also send your media kit to your interviewer every time you book an interview.
Write a Pitch Letter
A pitch letter. Your subject line is critical. It has to be something that will get the person you’re pitching to open the letter, but it can’t sound like an advertisement.
Jackie always puts “guest for your show” at the beginning of her subject lines
The lead paragraph of the pitch letter has to be very interesting. It has to tell them why they want to do this interview. It’s got to catch their attention and make them want to know more.
In the pitch letter you’re going to want to explain what you’re going to share with their audience that will benefit the lives of those listening. You want to offer value.
You also want to establish your credentials. Explain what makes you an expert. The good thing about writing a book is as soon as you say you’re the author of a book it gives you instant credibility, because you wrote a book on the topic. You can easily establish yourself as an expert by pointing them towards the book you’re promoting, especially if it’s clear from the title of your book what the subject matter is.
Be sure your contact information is in the pitch letter. And keep your pitch letter to one page single-spaced.
Other PR Tools
- Put downloadable photos on your website. That way you don’t have to keep sending people pictures. You can send them a link and they can choose the pictures that work best for them. You should have pictures of you and pictures of the book you’re promoting at the link that you provide.
- You need to have all your social media platforms in place because you’re going to be asking other people to share your social platforms with their networks.
- If you’re doing any sort of bestseller campaign, you need to have the list of people who will be working with you to get the word out about your book.
Getting Media for Your Book
There are several places you can go as an indie author to find promotion opportunities.
You can go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ and choose your category to find blogs specific to your subject area.
You can go to Google and do a simple search for newspapers and television stations in a specific area. You can also search for programs that cover a specific topic.
You can go to the newsstand, see what magazines are appropriate for you and reach out to them.
You should pitch your local media outlets before you try to go to bigger markets. Local media outlets are more accessible to locals. You’re a hometown hero to your local newspaper or TV station if you’re an author. Doing local press also allows you to practice your performance before you get into bigger markets.
Regional and national programs are more likely to have you on their stage if you can show them local exposure. This allows them to get a sense of who you are and how you perform in the media spotlight.
The Next Step
One of the easiest and most important things to do is to write a thank you letter to your interviewer for interviewing you.
There are times when the staff of the show would like a copy of your book so you might want to make sure you have a few free copies to give to those people.
If you’re doing television you definitely want to walk in with a copy of your book so you can show it on the air. Don’t assume that they have a copy of your book, even if you’ve already sent one in. Anything could’ve happened to that copy of your book. It’s always best to be prepared with a copy of your book you can show to others.
You’ll know you’ve been a good guest if they invite you back. You won’t have to ask.
Jackie isn’t comfortable asking for referrals to other shows, but often times you’ll get referrals without asking if you’re a good guest.
Why Podcasts Are Great for Exposure
One of the biggest changes on the media landscape in the last few years are podcast radio shows. Podcast radio shows are great because often you will often have a whole hour to talk about who you are and what you have to promote.
Often, the radio host will have actually read your book and they’ll actively help you promote it. They may put a link to your book on their website.
Often times they’ll promote your book through social media too. They may ask you to promote their podcast as well. The podcast interview will sit on the Internet forever waiting for new listeners to find it.
You’ll find that the host of the podcast is more knowledgeable than general media will be. They also have the benefit of having a very dedicated audience. Traditional media has a large general audience. Podcasts have a more targeted audience.
Podcasts aren’t as picky when it comes to self published books as traditional media outlets are.
Another benefit of doing podcasts is building relationships with the hosts. The hosts of podcast may email to their mailing list for you. If you’re doing an event in their city they may support you and that event.
That relationship building is possible with traditional media outlets, but it doesn’t happen nearly as frequently as with podcast radio.
Another facet of podcast radio is you can host your own radio show. You don’t have to find sponsors, you can just decide to podcast and put up a podcast.
A traditional radio interview is short and impersonal. A podcast interview is much more personal and in-depth because often the podcast interviewer is an expert in your field as well. Also, podcasts have more time to interview their guests, which allows for a much more in-depth and detailed exploration of your topic.
Another benefit of doing a podcast interview is that they remain online forever. So you could make a sale of your book 5 years from now based on a podcast interview you did today. If you have enough podcast interviews out there, they can be perpetual traffic sources promoting your work.
How Media Changed
Social media marketing has changed the marketplace.
The saturation of books in the health and wellness category has also changed the marketplace. It’s very hard to get your voice heard through all the noise today.
You’re not doing bookstore talks and signings like many authors used to do. That was a big expense that either the author or publishing company had to undertake. Instead of doing book tours authors now do radio media tours and satellite interview tours. In a radio media tour, you send out your media kit and pitch letter to a number of different podcast and traditional media outlets.
In a satellite interview tour, you sit in a room and do television interviews with different networks.
People used to order your book directly from your website. They don’t do that anymore. They go directly to Amazon, or their preferred online bookseller to buy your book. You want to make sure that you have an offer on your website that at least gets them to sign up for your mailing list, so that they can become part of your personal sales and promotion system.
Another change is that publishers don’t do publicity anymore. Today, 99% of publicity comes from the authors themselves.
Another factor that changed the game is the disintegration of newspapers as a marketplace. But now there are all kinds of places online that will publish excerpts and post from your book.
“We believe in ongoing, consistent publicity. The more you’re in front of the media, the more different media you’re in front of, the more that your building awareness of yourself out there, [the better off you are.]” – Jackie Lapin
Promotion for New Authors
For new authors, here are some marketing strategies you should consider:
- The emerging power of radio is very important in this new world. You want to do as many podcast and traditional radio shows as you can.
- You can also do a blog tour which leverages the power of people blogging today.
- You can take advantage of video channels like YouTube to get your message out there.
- You can do book trailers to get your message out there.
- You can use networks like Pinterest and Google+ to connect directly with your fan base.
How to Improve Your Interview Skills
Jackie recommends that people who are shy in front of the camera get an interview trainer. Jackie has worked with Kristen White before and really likes the results she’s gotten from that partnership.
A great media trainer will help you get to the point where you look good on camera and you can speak confidently with the media.
One of the most important things that anyone should do in advance of the interview, is create their key message points. This make sure that when you’re in the process of giving your interview, you’re giving your best information in the best way you can.
This is especially important for shorter interviews because you don’t have as much time to get to important topics. So you really want to strategically plan how and when you’re going to bring up your key talking points.
You need to also realize the length of the interview determines how many talking points you are going to get to. If you’re only doing a three minute interview, you’re likely only going to get to two talking points.
Depending on the length of the interview you want to come up with 2 to 6 key message points you want to drive home to the audience.
Rehearsal is an important factor in making sure you’re comfortable with the interview dynamics. If you’re not sure you’re going to be comfortable being interviewed, you can always sit down and rehearse the answers to the 20 questions in your media kit, so that you’re really clear what you’re going to deliver in the interview.
Often times Jackie will instruct her clients to write out their answers to the questions in their media kit. Practicing and going over your answers to your interview questions will help you be more comfortable and clear at communicating your key talking points.
Maximize Your Results from PR
The key to having a successful marketing funnel is having an end game. You have to know where you’re going to take your audience.
You have to be very good at giving an interview so that people will be excited about buying your book.
There are times when people are on big talk shows like Dr. Oz and the Today Show, and they don’t sell a lot of books. You can’t always control the results of the media that you do.
What you can do is make sure you’re giving the best presentation possible. You also want to make sure your distribution channels are in place. One of the problems Jackie sees often is people going on national television on a publicity tour when their book isn’t available on Amazon. If you’re promoting your book make sure it’s available everywhere it can be!
Make sure your website is fully working. You don’t want to send people to a website that doesn’t exist, or has a broken link. If at all possible you want to have an opt in form where people can sign up for your mailing list. You want to gather as many of your customers as you can on to your own mailing list so that you can directly control your marketing.
Testimonials are important as well. Make sure that you have testimonials or endorsement quotes before you go on a publicity tour.
If you get endorsement quotes before you market the book you can also use those quotes in your pitch letters.
Another thing you might want to do is compile a list of references in case people ask for them. You’ll want to clear it with everyone you put on your reference list, and let them know that they might be contacted in the future.
By having a list of references and endorsement quotes you look like a professional and someone people want to work with.
PR Mistakes to Avoid
Don’t forget to mention your website link in the interview. That’s a big mistake new authors make.
Sometimes you have an interviewer who has an edge to their interview style. You want to avoid getting into a tit-for-tat exchange, and stay on message.
When you’re being interviewed, stay focused and on topic. Wondering off on a tangent will waste valuable time during the interview.
Talk in bullet points and soundbites to make the best use of the time you’re given.
The shorter the interview the more important your focused communication is.
Your press release needs to evoke emotion in your audience, so they feel compelled to go by your book. People need to feel like they really need or want your book. If they don’t, they’re not going to take action.
Planning the Best TV Interview
Many TV interviews only last 2 minutes and 30 seconds. It’s vitally important that you get the important information out there in that time.
One of the best things you can do is develop an elevator pitch for your business. An elevator pitch is a pitch that can be delivered in an elevator as quickly as possible, while still communicating the vital aspects of your business and brand.
“What is your book about in 15 words or less that actually explains why someone should engage in it? Who is your book for, and how does it serve them?” – Jackie Lapin
The best elevator pitches tell your prospect what your product is, why they should use it, and how best to use it to achieve their goals.
Jackie’s elevator pitch for her book Practical Conscious Creation: Daily Techniques to Manifest Your Desires is:
Practical Conscious Creation: Daily Techniques to Manifest Your Desires teaches you how to raise your personal frequency so that you become a better, faster manifester, day by day.
Resources and Promotional Tools for Authors
You want to put all of your information on your Amazon Author Central page. You want to put your quotes and endorsements there. You want to put your videos there. And you want to connect your blog to your Amazon author Central. That way all of that information appears any time anyone goes to Amazon.
You want to get as many people as you can to Amazon so they can write reviews of your work. Reviews are one of the things that help your book climb in Amazon’s search rankings.
People and Resources Mentioned in This Interview
Dr. Eric Pearl – Jackie mentions him when talking about a long-term sustained publicity campaign.
Kristen White – Jackie mentions her as a good interview trainer. http://whitemediaagency.com/
Jackie mentions Joe Vitale and Mark Victor Hansen as two superstars in the health and wellness marketing space.
Links and Resources Mentioned in the Interview
http://www.jackielapin.com/ – Jackie’s website
http://consciousmediarelations.com/ – Jackie’s company
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ – a website where you can search categories to find opportunities to be a podcast guest.
http://whitemediaagency.com/ Kristen White is an interview coach Jackie recommends.
Practical Conscious Creation: Daily Techniques to Manifest Your Desires Jackie’s book teaches you how to raise your personal frequency so that you become better, faster manifester, day by day. (That is Jackie’s elevator pitch for that book)
The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition 4th Edition by William Strunk Jr and EB White
https://www.expertclick.com/ – a place for you to get your press releases out. You pay a one-time fee and you can release multiple press releases throughout the year.