Dog Tweets–The Importance of an Author Marketing Plan

twitter birdHere are my Top 10 tweets from this past week, great for retweeting! If you missed these, follow The Publicity Hound on Twitter.

The Importance of an Author Marketing Plan – Marketing Tips For Authors
A marketing plan for your book can be the difference between your book finding thousands of readers versus no one buying and reading it.

Persuasion: 6 Principles That Power PR Success.
If you work in PR, you’ll want to take a look at how these now familiar “Six Principles of Influences” are being applied in public relations.

Get Traffic: 74 Clever Blog Post Title Templates
You’ll get lots of inspiration from the infographic from TwelveSkip with 74 Clever Blog Post Title Templates that Work.

How to Come Up with (at least) 10 blog Post Ideas
No blog post ideas? No problem. Take the 10 blog post ideas challenge!

Google launches Contributor, a crowdfunding tool for publishers
Google has started rolling out a new tool called Google Contributor, which is designed to allow web users to pay sites that they visit a monthly fee, and in return see no Google ads when they visit.

4 Tips for Using Twitter to Pitch Journalists
Pitching a story to a journalist can be a challenging task. They receive more story pitches than they can ever hope to read. As a self-promoter, you have about five seconds to get their attention. Make that precious time count.

Holiday Pitching Tips and Techniques
Gift List Media provides products and services to help you attract the attention of magazine and newspaper editors, television producers and bloggers.

The Twilight Zone, Revisited: Waking Up With the Crazies
The world needs you. The crazy ones. The ones that the rest of the world thinks are “different”, a little odd. You are the key to our future. This is good news for the unconventional thinkers and entrepreneurs – who by their very nature are wired to try different ventures and to think outside the box.

Little things can mean BIG things when selling books
If you’re selling books, everything you do and how you do it plays a part in the success of your books and product sales… from your Publicity to your social media, and from your marketing to your presentations. It’s important to know and understand how each work and what role they play in your success.

Ultimate Web Marketing Checklists (For Literally Everything)
Checklists are great because it’s like a re-usable reminder. It’s a way to organize a process into actionable steps that you can repeat over and over again and know you’re not forgetting anything important.

Banner ad for book review product


How a sink of dirty dishwater sparks my creativity

Cute girl washing the dishesWhen I can’t think of a clever idea for an article that’s due tomorrow, and my brain is stuck in neutral, I leave the office in my home and head for the kitchen.

I squirt Palmolive into the sink and fill it with hot water. Then I reach for my scrub brush and start working.

Twenty minutes later, I have my idea!

Sometimes it pops into my head as I’m concentrating on only one task: scraping the dried gunk off the bottom of a casserole dish. Other times, it comes to me when I’m scrubbing the sink with cleanser.

I think of ideas for blog posts, new products, fun promotions and compelling items for my newsletter about free publicity. I think of people to interview, projects to start and clever ways to solve problems that have been bugging me. 

There’s nothing quite like a sink full of sudsy water, dirty dishes and some elbow grease to make the creative juices flow.

Why I Don’t Own a Dishwasher

When I moved several years ago from a house that had a dishwasher into this one, which didn’t, I put off buying one until I remodel the kitchen. That project hasn’t happened yet.

But all those ideas have. So why ruin a good thing?

It took awhile—a few years, in fact—to understand that my inspiration comes when I’m in or near water, usually in front of the sink. And washing the dishes, my Number One creativity exercise, is faster and more efficient than driving to the day spa mid-afternoon for a dip in the pool.

Researchers say I’m not alone.

Why Water Makes Us Better at What We Do

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist and conservationist, has explored the connection between humans and water. He calls it “blue mind,” the mildly meditative state our brains enter when we’re exposed to water. Scientists have also discovered that the brain, which consists of 75 percent water, prefers the color blue above all others and that water helps us focus.

Why does being on, under or simply near water put us so at ease? Why does it open our minds to creative ideas?

Dr. Nichols says our overstimulated brains filter and process information fed to us on screens that are everywhere—on our living room walls, on our our desks, on our laps and in our hands.

“They’re sending information and emitting sounds,” he says.

Being at or near water, without a screen in front of us or other distractions, gives our brain a chance to rest.

“But it doesn’t go to sleep,” he says. “It keeps going and working on your stuff. It becomes creative.”

blue-mindHe is the author of Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.

It combines cutting-edge neuroscience with compelling personal stories from top athletes, leading scientists, military veterans and creative artists. They explain how being near water improves their performance, makes them calmer, diminishes anxiety and leads to their professional success.

Ours too. Here’s a clip from “CBS This Morning” that features Dr. Nichols and his research.



Oliver Sacks, a brain researcher and writer, has said he gets his best ideas swimming. He keeps a waterproof notebook nearby on a dock in the lake, or on the side of the pool so he can write down his new theories and ideas. 

Authors and writers, what sparks your creativity?

Artists, what do you keep nearby, inside your studio, that inspires you?

Entrepreneurs, what triggers your ideas?

Scientists, researchers and engineers, if you don’t  jump in the pool to spark creative solutions to problems, what do you do? 

The Comments section awaits….

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Releated Articles:

10 Creative People Share What Inspires Them

What Inspires the Most Creative People We Know

25 Inspiring Quotes for Creative People

Characteristis of Highly Creative People

Dog Tweets of the Week– #AmazonCart – Add items to your Cart without leaving Twitter

twitter birdHere are my Top 10 tweets from this past week, great for retweeting! If you missed these, follow The Publicity Hound on Twitter.

#AmazonCart – Add items to your Cart without leaving Twitter.
#AmazonCart is easy to use – when you discover a tweet with an product link, simply reply to that tweet with “#AmazonCart”, and the product will be added to your Shopping Cart.

How ‘offline’ PR has changed
It’s not enough to only concentrate on the task at hand anymore. Try to always look ahead and see how you can combine offline and online PR to always stay relevant in your community’s mind.

Tips for Making Sure Editors Don’t Skip Over Your Email Pitch
Take some time to research the writer you are emailing. Find out what type of writing style they prefer, and tailor your subject to their interests. At the same time, avoid being too friendly. If an editor is offended, annoyed, or otherwise bothered by your emails, he or she will blacklist you. Getting sent straight to spam is a very bad thing if that person is the gatekeeper to a major digital publisher.

5 Things Visitors Don’t Want From Your Author Blog
Don’t waste your time doing things on your author blog that turn your readers away. This post gives you five things your readers don’t want from your author blog.

Surviving Dangerous Personalities
What does modern PR stand for? Brian Solis says its People and Relationships.

5 Ways to Grow Your Blog Without Relying on Google Traffic
One thing often overlooked: getting that traffic is only a part of the game – you still need to know what to do with it. Remember that you’ll need to focus on maintaining that traffic – so focus on creating an ongoing conversation and way to continue the dialogue. Landing pages are key here, providing you a quick way to get information from and to your reader.

Weathering the Storm
Healthy Niche Newspapers and how they’re staying in business.

5 outdated PR tactics and their modern equivalents
From circulation numbers to embedded URLs, event attendance to social presence, and direct mail to text messages, PR is evolving.

Your Business Blog Sweet Spot: How-to get it and keep it
Good content builds momentum and always has an objective. Therefore your content needs to trigger an action. That’s the way you engage readers to respond.

5 Things You Can’t Blog Successfully Without
Blog successfully and you can smile all the way to the bank. Your website traffic will grow, your company will flourish, and your reputation could swell to the point where business finds you.


Want local TV publicity? 3 ways to get on reporters’ radar

Free Publicity Tip 42, follow local TV reporters on social media By Roshanda E. Pratt

Did you know the media is watching what you view online?

With the increase of social media, news organizations are paying close attention to your interests, comments, shares and retweets.

In the late 90s, when I worked as a TV news producer, the best way to gauge interest came by way of Nielson ratings or sheer luck. Nielsen is the system used to measure audience size and composition of TV programming in the United States.

At one news station where I worked, we used the intelligence gained from ratings to determine how we can better reach our local audience. Recently, when I was talking to a television executive, I discovered a lot has changed in determining how TV stations can reach you and me.

He told me how his station created a tool that told them how many people have clicked and shared a particular story at their website.

I immediately thought how helpful that tool can be for producers and reporters who want to advance a story or localize a national story. I also thought about you. Even though you can’t use the same tool that TV executive uses to monitor news interest, there’s still a way to place yourself as an authority or expert in news stories.

Keep Your Eye on the News

Pay attention to what’s going on around you. What are people “sharing” from your local news station? Can you pitch yourself as a local source for a national story in the news? This is known as newsjacking. 

My recent trip to the station where I worked also taught me one more thing: the power of Twitter. I will be the first to admit my Twitter use is limited. It’s not because I don’t understand Twitter but mostly because of personal preferences.

However, after meeting with this executive, my thoughts about Twitter changed,  especially when he told me they do a majority of their storytelling and news gathering there. He said local fire and rescue workers tweet news about local emergencies before they contact the TV station’s assignment desk.

How to Connect with TV Reporters

What does this mean for you?

First, follow what’s happening in your local and national media. I know you’ve heard this before. But I want to encourage you as a person monitoring your own PR to make “watching” the media, reading blogs or engaging with the media part of your daily routine.

Second, follow your local television personalities on Twitter. Go where the people you want to connect with are, even if it’s a social media network that you’ve long ignored.

Finally, be patient. It takes time to build relationships and understand how the media work. It’s worth the investment.

Let’s help each other build our Twitter networks. I’d love to connect with you at @roshandapratt. Ask me a question. I’ll be happy to help.

The biggest publicity mistake most people still make

Man praying against a blue night sky with the words "Enough Already with 'Spray and Pray' Pitches

If you’re new to publicity, I’ll bet you’re making this mistake.

You’re “spraying and praying.”

That’s the phrase we use to describe DIY publicity seekers who spray a pitch or a message to the winds, or to a list of 300 contacts from a big media list, and then pray someone responds.

Often, there’s silence.

That’s because you’ve sent the pitch to hundreds of people whose target audiences are very different. If you think the pitch will appeal to everyone, it will actually appeal to no one.

That was one topic I discussed when Pat Lynch interviewed me for a show on WomensRadio. It’s less than 10 minutes. Listen to How to Get Promotion Tips and Tricks from The Publicity Hound.

What to Do Instead 

Slide showing Free Publicity Tip 41 about the importance of sending a customized pitchAs I mentioned during the show, you’d be far better off targeting only three journalists, bloggers, reviewers or websites that might be interested in your story or content. But before doing that, take the time to do your research so you know a lot, or even a little, about the person you’re going to pitch.

I’ve written here about how to research magazine journalists by Googling their names. I even demonstrated how to find the name of a blogger’s dog or cat in less than 60 seconds and weave that information into your pitch. You’ll find a lot at this blog on how to research before pitching.

When Pat interviewed me, I shared one of my favorite tools for creating content and killer headlines. We also discussed why anyone who needs publicity should become an expert and promote their expertise.

Enjoy the show and let me know what you think.

The show, by the way, is powered by Audio Acrobat, a subscription platform that lets you do dozens of things with audio and video, from recording a simple phone call to posting audio and video to exclusive WordPress sites. You can take a 30-day test drive using this affiliate link.  

5 Tips for Selling Books or Products on Radio

On Air radio sign

Radio can be a goldmine for you if you have a book or product to sell, you can pitch a good hook to get onto the show, and you can give the station a compelling interview.

And you don’t have to appear only on big stations. Shows devoted to niche topics have loyal listeners. 

Here are 5 tips on how to get onto radio shows to sell more books and products.

1. Tie into a hot topic in the news.

Pay attention to the headlines. Right now, hot topics include terrorism, Ebola, the election, patients’ rights, skimpy school cafeteria food and immigration. 

Your product or your book might not be a good fit for any of these, but if you train yourself to be aware of what people are discussing, you’ll be in a better position to think of interesting hooks that are perfect when the topic ties in to what you’re selling.

2. Piggyback onto the weather.

Years ago, after a long stretch of rain and flooding in the Midwest, I heard a talk show on a big Milwaukee radio station that caught my attention. It featured an entrepreneur whose company made engines that suck moisture out of basements.

At the time, homeowners with flooded basements were worried about removing the water and preventing mold.

The interview lasted more than 10 minutes. I remember thinking how smart the guest was to pitch that show. And I’m guessing he did many more interviews like it on stations throughout the Midwest. 

What are the chances that he could ever have landed a radio interview on a big station without tying into the weather? Almost none.

3. Shine during the pre-interview.

If you pitch a radio station and they’re interested in booking you as a guest, they might call you first to chat.

The conversation might last five minutes or 15 minutes.

You might think the host or producer is being friendly and doing a little researching before interviewing you on the show. What you might not know is that this is actually an audition.

The interviewer wants to see how well you do during a simple phone interview. If you ramble on or sound boring, you’re toast. After the call, you’ll never hear from the station again.

If you pass, and you’ve convinced the host you’ll do well on the air, you might be booked on the spot.    

4. Have a website URL that’s easy to find.

Unusual spellings, or a company name that sounds different than the way it’s actually spelled, can cost you a lot of money. URLs that include numbers can also be confusing. If you say you’re at, will people type into the browser?

5. Be helpful without making people buy your book or product.

Listeners and hosts hate it when the host asks the guest a question and the response is “You’ll have to read chapter 7 of my book to find out.”

Offering free tips and advice will help you win the audience’s trust. Work it out ahead of time with the host on how your book will be promoted. Follow the host’s advice to the letter and don’t try to slip in  free commercial for your book or product while you’re on the air.  

More Free Training Thursday, Nov. 6

Learn dozens more tips during a free webinar at 2 and 7 p.m. Eastern Time this Thursday, Nov. 6. Steve Harrison will interview a self-published author who will share the system has has used to get booked as a guest on 1,264 radio shows, land more than $4.5 million in free airtime and generate more than $1.5 milion in direct sales.

Did you know there’s a secret online forum where radio producers share good guests? Steve will discuss it on Thursday.

Register for How to Sell Your Book or Product as a Guest on Radio Shows Nationwide. (This is an affiliate link. Even though this call is free, I earn a commission from Steve’s company if you buy anything from him later.)

7 things your 2015 Publicity Plan must include –free training Oct. 15

7 Things Your 2015 Publicity Plan Must Include Free Training Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014If someone has a problem and they’re searching online for a way to solve it, but they don’t know you, have you made it easy for them to find you?

Too often, people who want publicity spend the majority of their time on outreach—hunting for journalists, bloggers and others who they can pitch. They seldom spend enough time making it easy for the same people they’re pursuing to find THEM.

Making it easy for people to find you, and contact you, is one of the seven most important things your 2015 Publicity Plan must include if you want major publicity. It isn’t enough anymore to look for and pitch others.

I’ll review the other six critical elements of a killer Publicity Plan when I host the free webinar “7 Things Your 2015 Publicity Plan Must Include.” It’s from 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, Oct. 15.

This free training is perfect for publicity newbies as well as for do-it-yourself Publicity Hounds who have been promoting themselves for awhile. Publicists, even though you think you know all the tricks, you’ll pick up something new from this training. Register here.   

Here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll learn:

The Truth About Press Releases

Press releases shouldn’t be the bedrock of your publicity plan. They’re important so you can get your information on the record, to be found by people who are searching. But they usually won’t get you the major publicity you’re seeking.

Journalists who know that you’re spoon-feeding them all the same news won’t be enthusiastic about sharing it with their audiences. But if you send a customized pitch that ties into something their audience cares about, you’re increasing your chances for coverage.      

Stop Looking for the Magic Bullet

Too many people refuse to accept the fact that self-promotion must be ongoing and consistent.

They want that one big appearance on The Oprah Network. Or they want to be featured by a top blogger. Or they want a big story in The New York Times. I know people who have appeared on Oprah and received other top-tier media covered, but little resulted from it.

Publishing a Book Can Waste Time and Money

Everyone can be a publisher these days. It’s easy, with the wide variety of tools and templates at your fingertips. The problem is that too many people who want exposure are wasting time and money on books without first understanding the confusing world of publishing.

They write books before identifying their target market. They know nothing about book distribution. They don’t realize that even if they can attract the attention of a major publisher who offers them a contract, the publisher will only be responsible for a portion of the publicity.   

I’ve seen authors spend three years writing a book, and $20,000 or more on vendors who prey on authors and turn out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing.     

Win Free Consulting with Me

At the end of the call, I’ll choose one attendee at random who will receive a half hour of free consulting with me. If you’re the lucky one, you can use the time to brainstorm story ideas with me, or help me identify your best targeted media, or give you instructions on how to pitch.

Seats are limited. Register here

6 ways cause marketing can rocket your publicity to new heights

Young businessmanan flying in sky on drawn rocket

By Linda Rastelli

If you’re a small to mid-sized business or nonprofit with very limited resources, how can you get better publicity and the approval of your customers or donors?

Build a relationship that has mutual value.

Today cause marketing isn’t just sponsorship. It can truly be a partnership.

Beyond Expectations, a Trenton, N.J.-based nonprofit, struggles with a small budget and is not well known. Yet it has had some big wins collaborating with larger partners including AMC Theatres, The College of New Jersey, Comcast and NBC Universal.

“We aren’t a widely recognized brand,” says Executive Director Leontyne Anglin.

Beyond Expectations serves New Jersey teens, particularly those in foster care. For one program, students produce video resumes, conduct online research to prepare for job interviews, and learn to communicate succinctly.

”Let’s face it,” she says. “No one wants to listen to people lecture. Video production is just the carrot that we dangle to get young people in the door. We could be teaching underwater basket weaving. The most important thing is to get them here and engage them immediately.”

Since it began in 1999, Beyond Expectation’s challenge has been getting noticed. “We’re not one of the big three [youth charities],” adds Anglin, a former corporate executive. “But since we’ve forged several strategic collaborations, many organizations and even entrepreneurs reach out to us for advice.

6 Tips and Possible Pitfalls

Here are a half dozen tips on how your company or nonprofit can build successful relationships for cause marketing.

  1. Be creative.
    In these tough times, says attorney Michael West of the New York Council Of Nonprofits, nonprofits are considering everything from entrepreneurial ventures, to shared services to corporate affiliations and restructurings. Collaboration can range from sharing information and resources to actually sharing a structure. With increased trust comes closer affiliations.
  2. Get social.
    Social media opens new avenues for collaboration. One person at the forefront is Gabriel Reynoso, the founding director of SocialMedia4Good in New York City, which helps nonprofits, foundations and philanthropies succeed on the Internet through capacity building and digital literacy.

    “Social media is a loudspeaker will amplify your message,” he says. “Collaborations will occur naturally because like-minded individuals will hear about it and say, ‘This is in our area, let’s talk to them.’ Most important is that your organization has its own online real estate, your own domain that you can control. You build an email list, with not just social media, but by creating your sales funnel and getting people to become your ambassadors.The point is to produce results. I’m a social media strategist on paper but I’m also on the phone with developers.”

  3. Build the relationship slowly.
    With the cable giant Comcast, Anglin says,“It took two years to identify the right fit. It took follow up, persistence, keeping contacts in the loop and finally getting to decision makers.” BE participated in 2014 Comcast Cares Day, the nation’s largest single-day corporate volunteer effort. Here’s a video that explains more about the event.

    2014 Comcast Cares Day from Beyond Expectations on Vimeo.

  4. Do your homework.
    If you just call, says Anglin, “You’re one of 1,000. Think it through strategically.” She knew she wanted to focus on life skills for teens aging out of foster care. “I narrowed it down by asking, ‘Which skills do they need most, and which companies support youth leadership that can get to us? We came up with a specific ask—not just ‘hire our kids.’ We asked AMC Theatres to please come talk about why they like working there, share opportunities, and provide interviewing tips. Later we took it to the next level to ask if they’d consider interviewing any of our kids,” which they agreed to do. “Even if they don’t get hired, their self-confidence has given them an edge.
  5. Set realistic expectations.
    Be very clear about what you can and can’t do. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. You don’t “partner just for the sake of partnering,” Anglin stresses, or you risk going off mission. “We’ve walked away because others didn’t seem to have the right motivation or take it seriously enough. They don’t really do film or understand what it is. We learned to say no.”
  6. Speak the other’s language.
    For-profits can misstep by talking the hard-nosed language of business, which can be a turnoff to nonprofits. Anglin has experienced an “unintentionally condescending attitude of ‘You don’t understand business. We’ve got money and you’re lucky to work with us.’ But on the other hand, I’ve seen nonprofits come to the table unprepared and make the costly mistake of not following up at all.” The common ground should be both the audience you’re targeting and a shared commitment to community.

Benefits and Rewards

Other than the great public relations aspect of helping a cause or gaining awareness, it makes financial sense to collaborate, says attorney West. It leads to greater economies of scale, increased capacity and long-term sustainability when financial pressures are removed.

It starts with a simple phone call or quick meeting.

A Beyond Expectations client was overjoyed to be invited on journalist Katie Couric’s show to tell his story about growing up in the foster care system. He had completed the nonprofit’s TV production class, with training in body language, dress, eye contact and resume-writing.

 “He handled himself like the true young professional that we first saw inside,” says Anglin. “Organizations simply have more impact when we take the time to identify the right opportunities and collaborate.”

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Linda RastelliNew Jersey-based Linda G. Rastelli is an award-winning journalist, video scriptwriter, publicist, ghostwriter, editor and co-author of Marketing: Essential techniques and strategies geared toward results (John Wiley & Sons, 2007). Connect with her on Google + and LinkedIn.

How to use Media Kit Templates for Indie Authors…Sale ends Tuesday

Cover for Quick & Easy Media Kit Templates for Indie AuthorsIf you’re at all confused about what goes inside your Author Media Kit, stop worrying.

You can take advantage of one hour of training right now by watching the video replay (below) of a webinar I hosted for several hundred authors and publishers on Thursday with book publishing expert Joel Friedlander.

It’s “The Indie Authors’s Guide to Creating a Killer Media Kit.” By the end, you’ll know exactly what goes into the kit. You’ll also understand how to use it to help journalists, bloggers, retail book buyers and readers promote your book.

Joel and I have spared you from a lot of aggravation and stress you’d feel if you had to build the kit yourself. Our package of 15 easy-to-use, preformatted templates includes everything you need to create a wow media kit that will impress whoever uses it.

We’ve also included samples to accompany each template so you know if you’re on the right track. The samples were suggested by our beta testers.

If you go directly to the order page, you can watch a short video in which Joel demonstrates how he created his own author bios in just a few minutes using the templates. You can also see other videos from happy authors who used the package of templates to get publicity and speaking engagements. 

We sell the templates for $97. But during this special offer, you pay only $67. The discount goes away at midnight on Tuesday, Sept. 30. So act now or kick yourself later.

Watch the replay below. And if we’ve convinced you, go grab the templates. We’ve added a few new ones since we first launched this product in May.

You can also read this list of frequently asked questions which helps you understand exactly how to present the media kit at your website.

Author Media Kit free training today at capacity, but you can still attend

All seats have been claimed for today’s free webinar on “The Indie Author’s Guide to Creating a Killer Media Kit” from 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

If you want to attend the free training but haven’t registered, I can pretty much still guarantee a seat for you. But only if you follow these instructions:

Register right now here.

At least least 10 minutes before the call starts, click on the link in the email you received when you registered. You’ll be one of the first ones “in the waiting room” and guaranteed a seat because it’s first come, first served, regardless of when you registered.

—Show up for the call 10 minutes late and you might be closed out.

—We’ll open the line and greet you 5 to 10 minutes before the top of the hour. So if you get a seat but don’t hear us immediately, sit tight.

—Prepare to take lots of notes.

At the end of the call, we’ll choose three lucky people at random who will receive a half hour of free consulting with me. I can review your Author Media Kit and make suggestions. Or we can brainstorm story ideas you can pitch during your book publicity campaign. Or I’ll show you how to pitch.

Only those who are on the call are eligible for the free consulting. See you on the call (but only if you arrive early!). Register right now here.

This training is also perfect for you if you already have a publisher. I will be discussing marketing materials in your Author Media Kit that your publisher will NOT create for you. Register right now here.