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Going the Extra Mile: A Short Case Study

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by Kate Siegel Bandos, KSB Promotions

Kate Siegel Bandos

What a difference it makes when authors, publishers, and even some publicists go the extra mile. Here is a perfect example of what I am talking about: The other day, I focused on a journalist’s query on HARO. (Short for Help A Reporter Out, HARO is a free service for journalists, who post their needs for experts on a wide variety of subjects. If you aren’t getting the HARO queries three times a day, you are missing some great PR opportunities.)

When I read this particular query, I knew that Mary Jo Rapini—an author who is one of our clients—was the perfect person to answer the journalist’s question. It didn’t matter that her book had been published in 2008. The author builds great relationships with many media people that will continue to help not only her first book, but subsequent books.

And her publisher is thrilled that she stays proactive so that her first book continues to sell and sell.

Mary Jo responded to me within the hour, providing information for the journalist that she asked me to please submit. The journalist really liked the information but wanted to know where it might have appeared, since she wouldn’t be able to use it if it had gotten major coverage elsewhere. I forwarded the journalist’s email to the author, who immediately replied that the article she had sent was on her Website and that she had covered the information on her local TV station (Houston’s FOX-TV) a year ago. I then sent this information on to the journalist.

The Just-for-You Email Offer

Most authors would have left it at that, even though I had said in each email that the author would be happy to answer any specific questions. This author went the extra mile. She herself emailed the journalist at this point, simply writing, “Allison, I can always whip something up just for you: [smiley face here].”

By this time, it was late in the day. At 8 a.m. the next day, the journalist emailed Mary Jo directly, commenting on the parts of the initial submission that she liked and asking for more information on two aspects of the topic. Within an hour, the author sent two succinct paragraphs with tips specifically addressing the issues the journalist had asked about.

Possibly, the journalist would have used the initial information and credited it to the author—Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, a nationally-known psychotherapist, and author of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever (starttalkingbook.com; maryjorapini.com). But by going the extra mile, this author made it almost certain that she would be quoted and properly identified in this journalist’s article.

And, more important, Mary Jo helped a journalist in such a nice and precise fashion that this journalist is likely to contact this author again.

That is what has actually happened with many journalists over the years. Today, Mary Jo is contacted regularly by a reporter in Canada, whose column appears in papers all across Canada and sometimes in major U.S. newspapers, including the Washington Post. CNN and HLN have also often turned to Mary Jo when a hot news story has to do with teen behavior or other topics that she can address. She now writes a monthly column for Houston Family magazine, has a regular weekly spot on Fox Houston’s Morning News, and is a regular columnist for HealthNewsDigest.com.

And she has built a great blog and great Twitter and Facebook followings. You might ask how she does all this while also maintaining a private practice and working with a local hospital. The answer is she does it by always being willing to go the extra mile.

Kate Siegel Bandos has been doing book publicity for more than 40 years, the past 22 from KSB Promotions. She reports that she has worked with thousands of books and authors, that she can’t imagine how many media contacts she has made over the years, and that it still amazes her when she realizes she makes a living reading and working with books—the things she loves most (after her family). To learn more: ksbpromotions.com.

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