[Case Study] How We Got 27% of Publications to Cover an eBook

Let’s face it: there’s no shortage of eBooks out there.

With Amazon and Microsoft Word, anybody can publish a book in a matter of minutes.

There are over 12 million Kindle books available right now, covering virtually every topic and telling virtually every story.

Getting your own book some attention can be frustratingly difficult.

In spite of the overflowing pile of competition, we were able to get stories in 27% of the publications we emailed.

And the way we did it was incredibly simple.

1. Personalized Emails.

Even though your press release is going to be identical for everyone, there’s no reason your emails should be.

In a very informal test, we tried sending out two emails:

  • One with a personalized message, followed by a press release.
  • Another with a generic greeting, followed by a press release.

The personalized email became a story 20% of the time.

The generic email produced only one result–and it wasn’t a story. The recipient emailed us back about two months later to say that they’ve been busy, and they might cover the book later.

So how did we personalize the emails?

All we did was mention something the publication had written about or was proud of. If they focused on environmental concerns, we made sure they knew how important that was to the author.

Press releases create stories, but personalized messages create connections.

2. Following Up.

Just because you haven’t heard back from someone doesn’t mean they’re completely uninterested.

The editor here at Two Potatoes receives literally hundreds of press releases every week. He has to boil that down to a handful of stories, and on top of that, he’s busy actually editing the news.

Sometimes, stories slip through the cracks.

That’s why we followed up. A phone call was the preferred method, but if we couldn’t find the number, we went with a second email.

This boosted our success rate from 20% to 27%.

It only took about 15 minutes, and it created an additional audience of about 100,000.

3. Forget the New York Times.

I love the Times, but they’re probably not going to write about every client that comes through here.

That’s OK.

When deciding whom to email, we didn’t focus on the “big fish.” We found the publications that were going to care most about this particular book, big or small.

Stay-at-home bloggers made the list, too. This is important, because even though they have small audiences of about 1-10,000, it adds up quickly.

Plus, they’re usually pretty excited about having a PR agency email them, asking for their attention.

And the because of the way search engines work…

10 publications with 10,000 viewers is better than
1 publication with 100,000 viewers.

That’s because your book is easier to find and more likely to show up in Google.

It doesn’t sound as impressive (to people outside of marketing), but it’s more important to your sales.

–Ryan

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