Three Daves is out there. I mean, if I don't do it, who else is going to? And if I'm joining a super awesome blog challenge to improve myself as a blogger, why, it would be selfish to not spread the word any way I can, wouldn't it?
That's why I took A to Z Challenge founder Arlee Bird up on his second challenge---to get a story about the event in a local paper.
Turns out it wasn't challenging at all. Arlee gives a lot of great tips for how to go about crafting an article that highlights both you and the challenge. Then it's a matter of getting it to the right place---many towns have local e-papers that allow community members to directly submit articles, or at least events.
Once you've got the article written and submitted there, it's a press release you can e-mail out to the submissions department of local print papers. There's really nothing to lose, and it's a very small time investment. So far the reaction I've gotten is editors thanking me for the contribution. So see, it's a public service. :)
Here are three things I've learned about press coverage in my first year after publication:
1. What Have You Done for me Lately?
I don't believe in trying to sell somebody something they don't want or need. So it's important to know who might actually give a ratt's butt about what you've got to offer---what's it going to do for them? Why do they care?
For example, I've found local papers have an interest not just because I'm a local author, but because the setting is nostalgic for many local residents. The alumni association of my alma mater, Eastern Illinois University, has been wonderfully supportive because the setting is heavily influenced by EIU's campus. I've also had some success with 80s websites. So who might have a particular interest in what you do?
An area in which I've hit a brick wall is radio stations. Music plays a significant role in the book, so I sent my press release to local stations as well as national 80s stations, but they are so not into me. If anyone has any tips on how to break through in that venue, I'd love to hear them.
2. One Thing Leads to Another
A year ago, when I peppered the world with my press release---I must've sent that thing to at least 50 different venues---I heard back from two people. Two.
Ah, but the article in the free weekly newspaper (which I was sure was destined to become nothing more than shredded bird-cage litter) posted on-line, and since I made mention of my former university, the alumni office picked it up and included a link in their monthly newsletter. And an alum from another newspaper saw it and contacted me for another interview. And the director of the local TV station read the article in the local coffee shop (where I'd asked the owner to pin it up), and she contacted me for an interview, and so on and so on.
So you never know where a mention, no matter how small, might lead.
3. A Thousand Points of Light.
As I said in my earlier post titled Fifteenth Time's a Charm, not every article is going to result in a huge response, and sometimes crickets will chirp. But getting your name in front of people has a cumulative effect.
The first time they hear it, it may slide right through their brain, but when they see your name again, or another image of your book, or someone at a party mentions the article they read about you, they'll start to pay attention. No effort is wasted, no matter how small, so take advantage of any reason you can think of to get your name out there again---like, say, participation in a super awesome A to Z Blog Challenge...
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