I spent an hour with a publicity powerhouse. (Here’s what I learned about getting big-time media coverage…)

 
 

A few days ago, these arrived on my doorstep …

 
Yep. They’re advance reader copies of my forthcoming book, 50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome.

Opening the package was completely surreal … a book? My book? That’s going to be in bookstores? Whaaaat?

It’s a feeling I hope that every aspiring author / writer / scribbler / creative minx can experience, at least once in a lifetime.

And — once the initial wave of shock & delirium passed through me — I was left with one thought:

I’ve got to promote the FRACK out of this book!

 
Good thing I scheduled a date with my friend Melissa Cassera — a media & publicity powerhouse.
 

My hour with Melissa was a mega eye-opener. Turns out, uh, I didn’t know as much about securing major media attention as I thought I did (Oops. Except — now I know a lot more! Not-oops!)

 
Melissa helped me rewire my brain to “think like the media.” And today, I’m sharing 3 of the best & brightest tips I learned … with you.
 

1. You may be a fascinating human being, but that doesn’t make you “newsworthy.”

 
Harsh, but true. Journalists and producers are looking for a hot story — something timely, trendy, or provocative. Just “being cool” … usually isn’t enough. Neither is “writing a book.” New books come out every day. What makes yours so darn special?

For example: here’s a media pitch for my book that probably wouldn’t be very successful …

I wrote a book called 50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome. It’s packed with playful, quirky ways to express your affection. I’m smart & cool & have pretty hair! Interview me, please!

But! With a little tweaking, I can spin my story into a newsworthy nugget …

Gratitude. A whirlwind of new studies show that taking a few minutes to express your gratitude every day can help you sleep better, boost your immune system, spike oxytocin — & even raise high schoolers’ GPA.

My forthcoming book — 50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome — is packed with playful, quirky ways to express your appreciation.

I’d love to hop on your show to talk about the incredible effects of gratitude — and share 3 fresh & easy ways to express your affection, to the people who matter most.

Now, I’m not saying you have to bring me on your show — but, the health & sanity of our nation may depend on it. ;)

 

2. You need a job title that the media can wrap its head around.

 
I know, I know … you love calling yourself a Mistress of Manifestation, or a Sparkle-Pony Priestess of Empowerment, or a Visionary Vixen of Wordy Magic. And that’s rad. Really.

But if you’re looking for major, mainstream media coverage … you’re going to need a job title that journalists (and audiences) can understand, in three seconds flat. Without further elaboration.

Melissa encouraged me to start calling myself a Communication Expert. Which initially made me freak out. Me? An Expert with a capital E? Somebody’s going to yell at me!

But then I thought about it, and realized … uh, I run a highly successful copywriting business — and I’m booked, like, til the end of time. I lead sold-out workshops on writing & self-expression. I have two books coming out, and I’ve been featured in four others. I’ve been spotlighted on over 50 blogs & podcasts & radio programs. If I’m not a “Communication Expert” … who is?

 

3. You need to make friends with freelance writers. Like, now.

 
Ever wonder how folks get featured in glossy magazine articles? Often, it’s not because they pitched an editor or staff writer … it’s ’cause they’ve built a relationship with a freelancer!

Melissa recommends reading lots & lots of magazines (well, gosh, if you insist!) and then Googling the names of freelance contributors. Many freelancers write for multiple magazines … and have websites … with contact forms … that anybody can use.

You can introduce yourself to freelancers and position yourself as a smart & reliable source, for future articles. Annnd … just like that, you’re in like Flynn. No press release required.

 

What I’ve (already) done to make myself more media-friendly — and what you can do, too.

 
Since talking to Melissa, I’ve updated my media page (look ma, I’m an expert!) and tightened up the language on my about page (less woo-woo, more soundbite-y.) I booked another photoshoot with Leslie (just ’cause.) And … I’ve sketched out a rrrrreally exciting online event that’ll help me create relationships with local TV & radio stations. (More on that, soonish.)

I still have a LOT to do — like building a list of freelancers to contact, and scheduling my first video shoot (eee!).

Most of all, I need to practice talking (and writing) about myself in simple, succinct, media-friendly language … until it feels like second nature.

Hmmm. I think I’ll start practicing, right now:

Hi. I’m Alexandra Franzen. I’m a Communication Expert & the author of 50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome.
I teach people how to write with astonishing ease — and lots of love. What do YOU need to say, today?

 

XO.

business // acceleration

Comments

Yeah for you! And that beautiful book cover! I love that you can share your learning as you are doing it. Such a treasure you are. Can’t wait for the book.

I can’t wait to get your book! I used your script on how to say no yesterday and it worked like a charm – in the past it would have taken me HOURS to write a reply but with your help it was done in 5 minutes :)

Wa-hoo! I’m popping the cork of an (imaginary, but no less bubbly) bottle of champagne for you, right this moment. & thanks for the tips, love.

Amazing insights. PR & Media Communications is a great tool to invest in for your business. I cannot wait to see how you manifest awesome from this.

Ahhhh can’t wait to get my hands on a copy and help you promote it;)!! The freelance writer advice is so true, Melissa helped me with that and I wound up in USA Today!

Congrats gorgeous, blessings, book sales and mucho coverage to you;)!

Xo

Erin on Mar 1, 2013 Reply

Congrats, gorgeous genius! Can’t wait to read you book (it’s gorgeous, too!) – and if you’re doing blog book tour stuff, I’d love to interview you and share with my readers.

Congrats and i can’t wait to read your new book.

Christina on Mar 1, 2013 Reply

Congratulations and “yes!” to everything you have shared here!

Okay, where do I get a copy of the book on how to spread love? Hopping up and down over here!

Hey Alexandra, Totally loved this article. It’s great advice even fir those of us wuthout a totally rockin’ book. Can’t wait to see all the great media you will sureky get! xo

So smart–big hugs to you. And, well, Party Time! Way to go, babe!

You. Communication Expert. Hell YES.

Melissa is fabulous. Thank you for 1) sharing with us what you got out of it. 2) for implementing so quickly = inspiring!
Awesome pawsome.
Also, even if I didn’t know anything about your new book I’d want it just because it looks so darn perdy.

I can’t wait to get this!

Once you make those pitches, continue nurturing your media relationships. It makes it easier to pitch future stories. Also, have fun with your boom and chose a few social media and have a unique way to hand deliver your book with your media release.

Ah iPad! That’s to read book and special media not social media ;)

Celebrating your success, sister. Thanks for passing on the goodies too!

Hi Alexandra, great blog and I am so buying your book! I just wanted to make one point about your friend’s tips on pr. I would caution investing too much time in nurturing freelancers. As a former journalist, now turned wedding and portrait photographer, I learnt that freelancers have very little power. It all depends of course what you’re promoting, but one gallerist advised me not to waste time with freelancers, ‘because they will just use you.’ Harsh, but she wasn’t entirely wrong. Editors are the ones that will usually create the product pages and the events pages, freelancers will write the features. Freelancers are poorly paid and want freebies, but they often can’t deliver on the publicity. I have seen articles get cut so that the person who was owed the credit didn’t get it, and there was nothing I (the writer) could do. So if you can become friends with the editors you are more likely to get featured. Not always the case but worth considering. Make sure you cultivate only freelancers with very clear remits in particular fields that are relevant to yours. Hope this helps!

Hi Fiona, Thanks for your feedback on my advice. I want to clarify that I believe it’s smart to build relationships with BOTH editors and freelance writers. My advice would also be different to someone promoting a product or event, as opposed to an expert or book campaign. In my 10+ years as a publicist, I’ve had great success building relationships with freelance writers. Just in the past few months my clients were featured in Fast Company, USA Today, and Glamour Magazine working solely through freelance writers. My goal is to help everyone get the visibility + coverage they deserve and I believe these relationships are key :-)

Well I’m so excited for you, this is all wonderful!! ;-D

Excellent stuff. Thank you!

Alexandra…you are just sooooo goooood!!!!!

jitka on Mar 1, 2013 Reply

I love all of your posts and this is no exception! Congrats on the book too. You rock!

Great advice, thank you for sharing. Curious, does this make you feel conflicted at all? Your writing style is so opposite what the ‘news’ wants – do you feel at all like you’re going against your own teachings?

ESME :: Virtual champagne = accepted!

ERIN :: Huzzah! You = a serious success story.

PAMELLA :: Gooood advice. Noted.

FIONA :: Love your input. I would say more … but Melissa already responded! (She’s so darn smart ‘n fast.)

KATE :: Great question! Nope, seeking mainstream media attention doesn’t make me feel “conflicted.” My message is still exactly the same: Be yourself. Tell the truth. Play & go wild. Write with freedom. Express your love.

The only difference is … I’m ready for MORE people to hear my message (more love, more service, more reach). So, I’m learning how to present + express myself in new ways — including short, soundbite-y, TV + radio-friendly ways.

I don’t feel like a “phony” or a “sell out,” but more like an artist learning a new brushstroke technique, or a singer learning a new style of breath control. It feels like an exciting chhhhhhallenge! :)

Alexandra Franzen on Mar 1, 2013 Reply

not gonna lie, totally used your newsworthy nugget to help me pitch one of my creative writing workshops. so, thank you! i’d call it a golden, perhaps money making, bucket of love nugget ;) xx Fel

As a freelance journo, I have to say yes to all this, especially number 3 (most PR approaches don’t have any idea what topics or markets I’m plugged into). With number one, my top tip would be to add some recent studies, attribute some stats, to make it seem more urgent and concrete and give me less work to do – journalists really like that! ;)

Bless your bones Ms. Alexandra, I am so thankful for the day I stumbled upon your blog. Your tips for taking action have helped me do just that in the last month and feel pretty great about the message I’m putting out into the world.

Much love from LA!

*LOVE* these tips from @AlexandraFranzen about Getting Media Ready #engageme #hgsocial… http://t.co/rgR2ZVcEQa

RT @parasolcreation: *LOVE* these tips from @AlexandraFranzen about Getting Media Ready #engageme #hgsocial… http://t.co/AnIdEbhBfq

RT @parasolcreation: *LOVE* these tips from @AlexandraFranzen about Getting Media Ready #engageme #hgsocial… http://t.co/nWzapf1EZW

Wooweeeee! Those books look fabulous Alexandra, I’m thrilled for you. I can imagine how that must have felt to open them!

I love that you shared these tips with us so we can learn through your big growth. Thank you! Sending love, your guidance at the retreat continues to ripple goodness into my life. xx

I love how you stay true with who you are. The foundation never changes.

AND I especially love how you are being yourself in different styles. It’s like wearing a cute dress and heels for a girls night out and knowing to wear casual clothes and bowling shoes to Bowl.

thank you for reminding everyone how being YOU is #1 ;)

This was great, the making friends with freelancers as a source was right on the money. Thank you, and kick ass on the new book!

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