If you asked Marsha Friedman for the best way to promote your practice, she'd suggest that you write a book. According to Friedman, founder and CEO of EMSI Public Relations, a national strategy and publicity services firm, clients who get the attention of the media most quickly are those who have written a book.
Not just any book, but one that aligns with the services to be promoted.
"Yesterday’s business cards are today’s books. They give their authors immediate credibility, establishing them as experts in their fields," explained Friedman. "Credibility opens the door to journalists, talk show hosts, bloggers and anyone else creating content for hungry audiences."
But there are some caveats. "A poorly conceived, poorly designed, poorly written or poorly promoted book is worse than no book at all, added Friedman. "Your book must capably and professionally represent your unique message – and you."
Not a writer? Not a problem, according to Friedman. "There are thousands of talented freelance writers and editors out there – especially in the wake of all the newspaper layoffs in recent years – who can help. So don’t worry about that just yet. The first step is planning, and that’s up to you whether or not you will actually do the writing."
Channel your energy into the following areas:
Decide on your book’s main idea. The central focus will be what drives the entire project, so it must match the message you want to convey and it must excite you. If you’re bored from the get-go, you’ll likely never see your project through to the end. A great way to test ideas is by running them through these five questions:
- What message am I enthusiastic about that I want to convey?
- Who can benefit from it?
- How will it help them?
- Why am I the one bringing this idea to them?
- How can I make my points unique and different from what has already been said on the topic?
Pay attention to your own reactions as you test-drive your ideas. Which idea makes you smile? Which excites you creatively? Which hits the essence of what you’re about – what you enjoy, think about and create every day? It may be an idea you never even realized inspired such passion in you.
Consider what you really want to achieve by promoting yourself or your practice. You obviously want to grow your practice and see it flourish. You may even want to build a career as a speaker. But often, there’s something deeper driving you and you may not even be aware of it. Taking the time to do some soul-searching to identify your real motivation can help you clarify your message and find your book’s focus.
Friedman shared a real-life example: "When I sat down to write Celebritize Yourself, I planned a how-to book on commonly asked publicity questions. But, when I ran that idea through the five-question test, I had trouble with No. 5. So, I asked myself, 'What do I most enjoy about my professional life?' The answer was easy: helping people identify and value what’s unique about them and their message. In writing a book about how to get publicity, I realized I needed to explain why everyone has an expertise that should be shared."
Friedman noted that it’s never too late to write your book. "I know it seems daunting, but remember, the first time you do anything, it’s often a challenge. Remember how hard it was wobbling down the sidewalk on your first bicycle? You may have crashed a few times, skinned your knees and bumped your head, but you got back on and kept trying. Call on that brave 6-year-old in you and start planning your book," Friedman advised.
Marsha Friedman is a 22-year veteran of the public relations industry. She also co-hosts "The News and Experts Radio Show with Alex and Marsha" on Sirius/XM Channel 131 on Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. EST.