There are few things more effective at establishing topical media credibility than a book. When your executive is a published author, answering the question, “Is this person a valid and credible source?” becomes far easier. Remarkably, even referring to a forthcoming book sometimes can be enough to bestow media credibility. True, convincing an executive to write a book may seem like a long shot, yet it might not be quite as difficult as you'd think. More on this below.
Assuming the executive has written a book, leveraging it to provide media credibility for her is a straightforward process.
- First, familiarize yourself with topics the book covers.
- Next, create a media contact list of gatekeepers (producers on cable and broadcast news, editors at print or online publications, etc.) who need experts in the topics the book addresses.
- Create a set of topical Google alerts to ping you whenever one of these topics becomes breaking-news-worthy.
- When the story breaks, determine what the book’s author wants to say about this breaking news. Specifically, consider what the executive will say to put this news into perspective for the targeted media’s audience. Collaborate with her to write the answer in a short blog (250-750 words) and post it to the corporate site.
- Now create a sizzling pitch that briefly summarizes the author’s credibility (the book) and what the author will say about the breaking news. Then provide a link to the blog. This will alert media decision makers to what the executive will say about the breaking news story should she be chosen for an interview. Also be sure to include the executive’s availability, such as, “Ms. Smith can do a print or radio interview any day this week on 30 minutes notice, and can be at the local TV studio within 90 minutes.”
- Modify this basic pitch for members of your list of targeted media and send.
But what if your executive is not a published author, although you believe this experienced person has a good business story to tell? Find a competent ghostwriter, someone experienced in turning ideas into a book.
An alternative is to use blog posts the executive has written and have them become the basis of a book. One way to do this is to meet with the executive to create a detailed outline–focusing not just on broad chapters, but also on narrowly-focused sub-chapters, each of which will become a blog. This is the most important step, as it will guide the blogging and help move the book into creation.
Next, start collaborating with the executive on blogs that fit those sub-chapters. When each blog is published note that it is “based on a forthcoming book” and include the working title. This will create buzz for the book and perhaps demand. Once all the blogs are written, your executive is close to stitching them together into a book.
Bottom line: if an executive you work with seeks topical credibility and has useful knowledge to impart, encourage her to start writing a book. As soon as the executive has decided on a working title, you can start leveraging that book for PR success.
Ned Barnett is a marketing & PR Fellow of the American Hospital Association. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org