Free Publicity: The Key To Enormous Marketing And Sales Opportunities

Posted in Book Publicity on January 20th, 2011 by admin

By: Charles Steed


I wrote a real estate investing book in 1996. I guess I was pretty naive to think that my work was finished once the book was in print. I’d written several drafts and thought that writing was all there was to it. I soon found out otherwise. My publisher got the book into the stores using a couple of the large book distributors. But the publisher was a small press with only a limited budget for marketing my book. I guess I was so happy to just have a real book in the major bookstores that I wasn’t paying much attention to the stuff about marketing.

After the euphoria of being a big shot author wore off I got a call from the publisher – actually, wake-up call was more like it. This was only days before my book was to be in the stores. I was told that my book would be in the stores for approximately six weeks unless there was a healthy demand for it. After that, stores would return their copies to the publisher for credit to make room for new books. I was also informed that the little money that had been devoted to marketing and promotion had been spent in sending press releases to various media outlets, mainly in the book industry. I was going to have to find a way to get free publicity for my book.

I’ll never forget how I felt that day. Sure, I’d written a book, a good one at that, but outside my family and friends, who knew about it? I realized that I had to take matters into my own hands to promote the book or all of my writing efforts would be for nothing.

I started searching bookstores for information on getting publicity, preferably, free publicity. And there were plenty of books outlining strategies for promoting not only books, but all kinds of things. I began to employ some of the techniques, which actually produced some modest sales. But that that six-week clock kept ticking.

The Internet in 1996 wasn’t anywhere near the great ‘digital library’ it’s come to be since. But still, it turned out to be a blessing. I found a course designed for authors and publishers who wanted to get free publicity. The author had written a book and discovered a method for getting booked on radio talk shows explaining the virtues of his book. At the time he’d been a guest on more than 600 radio shows and had sold more than $100,000 in books. Not bad since he didn’t have a dime invested in the free radio publicity he got from being a talk show guest.

I figured I’d give it a try. I purchased the course and put the techniques to work. When I say techniques, well, that makes the method sound more complicated than it actually is. Here’s the deal: The course consisted of a manual and two floppy discs. Remember those? The discs contained a database with more than 700 national radio stations that were actively seeking interesting guests for their talk shows.

So I went to work. I called it ‘smile and dial’ hour. Every morning I’d sit at my desk and call the various stations pitching myself and my book. And something interesting happened. Within the first hour I got myself booked on two shows. I was feeling pretty good. I did those shows and sales began to pick up. And with each show, I got to be a better guest and sales reflected that. And I was able to do almost all of these interviews from home.

I’d say the story had a happy ending but it hasn’t ended. Even today I continue seeing the benefits of free publicity. And here’s a secret: You can use these methods to get free radio publicity for not only books, but almost anything. It all depends upon your approach. Here’s an even bigger secret: Your approach should be designed to give great value to the listeners of the show and to make the host look like a genius for having you on. That virtually guarantees you’ll be invited back. So, how creative can you be?

If your product, service, cause, book, information product or whatever can be presented from the perspective of useful information for people, all you need to do is sit down, smile, dial, and cash your checks.

After more than 15 years in healthcare as an RN, Charles Steed turned to real estate investing and flipped more than 60 properties in Washington state during the 1990s. He wrote about his real estate investing experiences in his first book titled The Streetsmart Homebuyer – Investors Secrets Anyone Can Use To Buy A Home. He discovered free radio promotion to be a phenomenal way to get the word out and make sales.

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