The following is a full transcript from the Hispanic PR Blog Webinar, “Interview with Dr. Yurina Melara, author, ‘The Power of Ethnic Media’,” available here.
BILL: Welcome to the third Noticias Newswire and Hispanic PR Blog Hispanic Marketing Webinar. I’m Bill Gato. I’m the CEO of Noticias Newswire and the co-editor of the Hispanic PR Blog. Noticias Newswire is the only Latino-owned and operated press release distribution service targeting the U.S. Hispanic and Puerto Rico markets. Hispanic PR Blog is a trade journal and resource for Hispanic and multicultural communications professionals. Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Yurina Melara. Yurina is a former journalist, communications strategist, and author of both fiction and non-fiction books. Her latest book is “The Power of Ethnic Media: A How-To Guide for Communications Professionals.” I really enjoyed reading it last week. Yurina is originally from El Salvador and has been based in Los Angeles for a little over two decades. Our goal with today’s webinar is to share insights, strategies, and tactics that can help brands, PR practitioners and organizations be more effective in their Hispanic communication strategies. Hi Yurina!
YURINA: Hi. <Laugh>.
BILL: Yurina, you have now published two books this year. That’s really impressive. Most people dream of writing one book. You’ve actually done two in one year, and you have other books too. The first one was “Todo Personal (Everything Personal).” It’s a Spanish-language crime novel set in your home country of El Salvador. And your latest is “The Power of Ethnic Media,” which is an English-language how-to guide for U.S. communications professionals and brands. Congratulations on publishing two books this year.
YURINA: Thank you.
BILL: Can you start by sharing a little bit about your background, Yurina, and how you arrived at this point of being so prolific – with books – and dynamic in terms of the range of topics that you write about?
YURINA: So, it might sound like I’m prolific, but really, I’m not. I just published two books in one year. It was just kind of by chance. The first book that you mentioned, “Todo Personal,” I actually wrote in 2013. That year, I found out I was pregnant, so I put it away for a while, had my baby, and did all that stuff. Then I started looking for a publisher here in the U.S. and I couldn’t find one, because a lot of them are just interested in self-help books and cookbooks, and I always wanted to write novels. So I went to look in El Salvador, my native country, and I found a printer called Ojo de Cuervo (Raven’s Eye), which is owned by a Salvadoran woman poet who helps develop Central American writers. I started working with her and it took about 18 months. “Todo Personal” was published here in the U.S. in May, and this [holds up book] is the Salvadoran version which has a different cover. The Salvadoran version of “Todo Personal” was published in June. Then I did a book tour. So, early this year, I knew that I wanted a different book. I already had a first draft of “The Power of Ethnic Media.” I started looking for publishers, and the same thing happened. I got letters back saying “No, we’re not interested in that topic. This is not something that we want to touch right now.” So I decided to self-publish. That’s how this one came out on October 1st. And it’s available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. That’s the story. <Laugh>.
BILL: You’ve had several pivot points in your career. You mention this in the book. You started off as a reporter in El Salvador. Then you moved to Los Angeles. You started working for La Ola (The Wave Community Newspaper). You took it over. You became the editor quickly, within months. I remember that newspaper. Then you started working for La Opinion, which is the largest Hispanic daily in the country. From there, at some point, you pivoted into communications and then now, writing this book. Could you have written these books in 2000? Or did all these years of working in LA, in journalism and communications, prepare you for this book?
YURINA: I don’t think I could have written any of these books back in 2000 when I came to this country. I did have several drafts of other types of books. And the issue that I found myself in – I think a lot of writers that are not used to writing novels [also experience this] – is that I wrote a chapter, and then I went back and edited it, and then I made so many changes, that it stopped me from moving forward with the story. I got really frustrated. It wasn’t until I was at La Opinion that one of my fellow reporters, Eileen Truax, who has like five books now, she introduced me to National Novel Writing Month, which is in November. That was when I found a system that actually works for me.
BILL: When did you get the idea for “The Power of Ethnic Media?” Did the pandemic – which you mention in the book – have something to do with it, or did you already have the idea before the pandemic?
YURINA: In most of the chapters at the beginning, I start by sharing a couple stories on what made me write this book. And it’s the different interactions that I’ve had with other communication professionals. People with power. Sometimes people who are managers or who are used to just mainstream media strategies don’t understand the value that our media brings. So it was – little by little – collecting stories in my mind of, “Huh, this person said this, but I don’t think she’s right.” I would just make a mental note and write them down. And that’s why, in a lot of the chapters, I start with a little bit of the story of what I encountered. I have not worked for the private sector since I left journalism. I have only worked for state agencies. And that’s what I dealt with. I don’t know how it is to work in the private sector doing communications. I can only tell you my experience working in state government and dealing with agencies, advertisers, or PR agencies that get hired to do different campaigns.
BILL: Early in the book you make the distinction between “media” and “ethnic media.” You talk about how journalists [from other countries] that work in the United States, they don’t see themselves as working for “ethnic media.” They see themselves as the media. Can you talk about that distinction and why that’s so important for marketers to understand?
YURINA: When I came to LA in 2000, I found myself working primarily in an African-American newspaper that was doing a Spanish publication. To me, coming from another country, media is media <laugh>. I started working there, then I worked for La Opinion. So my whole my whole career was just in ethnic media. Well, what’s considered “ethnic media.” And I think that’s one of the main problems that we encounter when talking about the different types of media outlets. I never saw myself as an ethnic media reporter. I saw myself as a bilingual English-Spanish reporter because I had to do a lot of the reporting in English and then produce a story in Spanish. So that was a little bit of a culture shock when I got to a state agency and they were like, “Oh, the Sacramento Bee or the LA Times,” and then, “Oh yeah, the small newspaper, blah, blah.” And I was like “No, they’re still journalists. We just have a different audience and different points of view.”
BILL: Yurina, can you talk about the characteristics of ethnic media and why these outlets are so important? What defines ethnic media?
YURINA: It’s usually the audience they serve. There are a lot of us who feel more comfortable in another language. In California, one in every five people speaks another language other than English at home. In California, like 10 million of us speak Spanish at home. So we want to get the news and most of the information in the language that we’re most comfortable with. And that’s where news stories in another language come from, to serve those specific demographics that might be monolingual, in a lot of cases, or bilingual, but might get the information easier if it’s in their own language.
BILL: What trends are you seeing in ethnic media? Is it growing? I remember a few years back when the print industry was getting disrupted by the internet and people were getting news online – I remember speaking to one publisher about 10, or 15 years ago, and he said, “The publications that are hurting are the dailies, not the weeklies.” And since most Hispanic newspapers in this country were weeklies, they were actually surviving. They were actually doing well because, I guess, they were not so expensive to produce. Is that what your research also showed, or, in general, is ethnic media growing because of population trends?
YURINA: I think it’s growing in different ways. Yes, dailies are very hard to produce if they’re on paper. However, what we’ve seen is different newsrooms transforming themselves. For example, there are daily newscasts being produced here in LA, Florida, and New York, in Spanish, for Facebook. They’re doing like Facebook Live or on YouTube, and they’re in Spanish when we’re talking about where the news is going, the news trends. So they’re being produced in another language. They are using newer technology like Facebook Live and YouTube, and they’re focusing a lot on what’s happening in their own communities. They’re very local. And they’re focusing on what’s happening in their native countries. One of those examples is LN Noticias, which is an LA-based, Salvadoran-origin newscast. They do Monday through Friday Facebook Live shows. As fas their content, they have correspondents in El Salvador, Italy, and New York. Wherever there are a lot of concentrations of Salvadorans, they tend to have a reporter there. Every single day you get news of what’s going on in El Salvador and what’s going on in your local community, but it’s not in print. So now it’s on Facebook, it’s where people are. That’s the trend that we’re seeing.
BILL: And you said it’s called LN?
YURINA: LN. It’s Lo Nuestro Noticias. It used to be a weekly show just for culture. It was like a cultural Salvadoran and Guatemalan-focused show on Saturdays here and now they turned it into a daily news site.
BILL: Cool. And are you part of that? Are you working with them?
YURINA: I like their concept and I do certain things for them, but it’s on a volunteer basis, just because I love the news <laugh>. I’m one of those people who as soon as I wake up, I turn on the news. So that hasn’t left me <laugh>. I still love the news. I help from time to time whenever my responsibilities with the state agency allow me to.
BILL: You have a chapter in the book called “A Brief History of Ethnic Media in the United States.” What were some of the most interesting things you came across as you were preparing that chapter when you did research on the history of ethnic media in the U.S.?
YURINA: What really jumped at me is that since this is an immigrant country, from the beginning, the United States had publications in different languages. This is not something new. The first publication was in German for the Germans who were arriving here. And like that, we saw different different languages according to what was going on in migration waves. And in California, we have the Hmongs. They have their own publications, and they’re very localized in the Central Valley in California, and in part in the Bay Area. The Vietnamese people are concentrated in Orange County and in San Jose in the Bay Area. So what I learned is that we’ve been here. Immigrant waves change, and the publications change and languages change, but there’s still the need to know what’s going on in our communities and what’s going on back home for the immigrant wave. It’s different for our kids. For my daughter and my son, their experience is totally different. But for us who are immigrants, we still want to know what’s going on in El Salvador, Guatemala, or Mexico. So that’s what I learned. <laugh>
BILL: One of the most eye-opening sections for me in the book was Chapter Four. You talk about this idea that when you approach ethnic media, you shouldn’t separate the earned from the paid components. Can you explain that concept a little bit?
YURINA: When you are thinking about ethnic media tactics, you have to realize that, first of all, they’re businesses and they’re going to need the help. Don’t just look for them to run your stories for free. You also have to give them a little bit of love. So when you’re putting together a campaign, think about putting your money where you want the stories to be, especially with ethnic media. In mainstream media, it doesn’t really matter because they’re bigger and there’s that big division between both [departments]. Even in La Opinion and the bigger Spanish media outlets like Univision, Telemundo, and La Opinion, there’s a big divide between editorial and sales. But in smaller outlets and smaller in-language outlets, that’s not the case. Even with African-American newspapers or publications, the publisher also writes, and in Spanish TV, sometimes the anchor is also the producer and is also the one going out and looking for sales. So if you’re planning your campaign, invest a little bit of money. It doesn’t have to be thousands and thousands of dollars. With a couple of hundred dollars, $200 to $500, which, in a campaign, it’s not that much money. You can actually make your money go farther if you treat them as partners. And I think that’s the key: treating in-language media as your business partners.
BILL: I’ve heard that complaint for years from publishers, like, “These PR people keep sending me press releases. They call me. They want me to write about this topic or this announcement, and it’s for a certain brand, but they never place an ad buy in my publication. It always goes to the general market outlet, but they want me to run the press releases for free.” How do you manage that at the brand level? What if the client didn’t give you enough budget to place an ad?
YURINA: The way I dealt with it is yes, I am part of the workstream that is called earned media and somebody else does paid media. But whenever there is a paid media component, I ask to be included in those conversations to make sure that whoever we’re sending news releases or stories or pitching – whatever story it is – that there is that paid component and that they know about it. It happens a lot with like big advertising agencies. They tend to go by impressions. They’d rather buy iHeartRadio than try to do like 10 or 15 different small radio stations because that’s time-consuming. And they can probably just get the same impressions from one iHeartRadio media buy. And that’s not to say don’t buy iHeartRadio. That’s not the point. The point is that you have to look at the audience that you’re trying to reach, and you have to understand that the advertising agency is going to go for the traditional tools that they have. Unless you as a brand manager understand that in order for your product or your campaign to actually be on the ground, you need to reach those pupuserias [Salvadoran restaurants], those little restaurants, the market in the corner. Who gets there? Those are the ethnic media, and the in-language publications. So if your advertising agency – which probably is not doing it – is doing the traditional route, you as a brand manager should have those audiences in mind, okay? And that’s where you can demand it.
BILL: And you’ve had a lot of success with that when you go to the brands and say, “Hey, I need some budget if we really want to influence this media or have them cover us?
YURINA: Yeah. In Chapter Nine of the book I actually share a case study of what we did with COVID-19. During COVID I created this special program. It wasn’t that much money compared to the amount of money we invested in other campaigns. The Myth Busters campaign. We partnered with 58 different in-language media outlets. And the journalists from those communities got to research their own stories. So you just gave them a topic, which was, “What are the myths in your community that are affecting the vaccination rates?” So journalists went out and reported a story, wrote it, produced it, and they were part of those fellowships. And the amount for the Fellowship, was anywhere from $250 to $500, depending on if it was print, if it was video, if it was like a package. As you can see, it’s not expensive. We spend a lot more money a lot of times in meetings with the advertising agency and with the PR agency. We’re in those meetings just going like, “Oh we’re planning on doing this and that,” and they have like five different people, and they’re all charging you $100 to $250 each. You can actually use that money to get the product. So you just have to think about it a little differently.
BILL: By the way, you have a hardcover version of it. <Laugh>.
YURINA: Yes. I got both and I got the hardcover.
BILL: I got the soft cover. I want a hardcover version autographed by you.
YURINA: <Laugh>. I’ll sign it and send it to you. <laugh>
BILL: So, not to give away everything in the book, but toward the middle, you talk about — and I think this is probably more geared for someone who’s a non-Hispanic PR professional, non-African-American, non-Asian-American PR professional, just because we’re used to this concept – you talk about how, when you’re doing outreach, to really understand the nuances of the community that you’re trying to reach and finding the right outlets. Can you share a little bit about how to do that? What’s the best approach? How do you research that?
YURINA: Well, if you already have a multi-ethnic PR agency or advertising agency, use them. A lot of times they know the reporters and the producers and what the outlets are, right? So make sure that you carve some time and actually go and visit them and talk to them. If you don’t have an agency, I would recommend just doing a Google search. Figure out the area that you’re trying to reach, make calls, and go out. You’ll be surprised how many people will agree to meet with you, even if you don’t have a budget in mind, or just to meet and greet. That’s what I’ve been doing a lot of in the past two years. I’ve been meeting with an API (Asian & Pacific Islander) media outlet. Because Spanish[-language media], that’s where I’m from. <laugh> A lot of them are like all-time friends, right? So I need to focus on these segments that I’m not that familiar with. That’s when I go out and meet with API media outlets, and so far, everyone has been so happy to actually get some FaceTime.
BILL: You place a lot of emphasis on that in the book, about reaching out and just showing up to the events. That was my next question. And there’s a wonderful anecdote in there about Kamala Harris and La Opinion. I would love for you to tell that story, about the importance of showing up.
YURINA: So it was 2015. Kamala was running to become Senator. And La Opinion, which is the largest Spanish daily in the country, had two options: either endorse Kamala or this other Latina that I’m not going to mention<laugh>. And we had an event. It was a tequila tasting. Very low-key, in the office. It wasn’t even like at a big event or anything. It was just a drop-in. We invited a lot of different people, decision-makers and so forth. Super low-key. One of the editors was the one making the drinks. That’s how low-key it was. And Kamala Harris shows up and she just wooed everyone. She was very, very approachable. She started telling stories. She even spent some time with my husband, who’s a history teacher, and they were talking about the Constitution of the United States. She was just having a blast. And when it came time to actually get behind a candidate – it wasn’t that many days after, it was like the following week or something like that – our editors decided to go with Kamala. So I really think that face-to-face really made a huge difference.
BILL: It was a powerful anecdote. Because the contender was a Hispanic female politician from Los Angeles, you would think that La Opinion would support the Hispanic. But Kamala showed up. The other one didn’t. And I was like, “Wow, the power of showing up.” It’s good leadership.
YURINA: Exactly. And the same thing happened when I was at The Wave newspapers. There was an election coming, and this white guy showed up and got the endorsement of The Wave. It made news like even the LA Times had the story on why The Wave was supporting this guy and not the Black candidate. So that face time really works. <Laugh>.
BILL: There’s a famous quote from John Maxwell, the leadership coach, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” You’ve gotta be there. You’ve gotta show up. Very powerful story. Yurina, in the book you talk about the concept of Trusted Messengers. Can you share a little bit more about that tactic?
YURINA: Yeah, especially when you’re trying to sway people’s minds. With the COVID campaign, for example, we were trying to give people confidence. So we used a lot of in-language experts as Trusted Messengers, as well as the publications, as Trusted Messengers. So the whole concept of Trusted Messengers is, “Do you trust the person that is talking to you, not the one talking about you?” That’s a huge difference. A lot of times what we’ve seen coming out of the big advertising agencies or even public affairs, they’re talking about you, but not talking to you. And Trust Messengers have that quality where you feel like they know you and they’re talking to you. I think that’s a really good concept.
BILL: Can you talk about the challenges of working with ethnic media? You devote a chapter to that, and then you start the chapter by asking the readers to acknowledge their inherent racial biases. Can you share a little bit about that? Not to give away the whole book… <laugh>?
YURINA: Well, I think we all have inherent biases, the ones we’re aware of and the ones we don’t know. And by being humble, we can understand that we might have that. It’s either racism or some type of cultural bias. For example, you might think that your culture is better than the other ones. In Latin America, the lighter your skin, you might have better opportunities. So there are a lot of biases that we acquire socially a lot of times without even knowing. So that’s how I started the chapter. Just take an inventory and acknowledge that you probably have biases. In certain industries, these biases might show up in different ways. In PR and marketing, for example, it might be shown in the people you hire. It might be shown in who you choose to appear in your commercial. It might show in the different segments of the population you reach out to. That’s something that we really have to be aware of as communicators, especially in positions for local, state, or federal government where your responsibility is even bigger because you are there to make sure that everything goes well, and you’re trying to do good, to preserve the public good. That’s how I start the chapter. Then I move forward to the other challenges. These might be language. In the past two years, I’ve been trying to learn how API (Asian & Pacific Islander) media works. I know I’m not going to speak any of those languages, but I’m trying to understand their culture and the different connotations that sometimes one thing might have over the other. All those different things, when you are thinking about your campaign, you have to take an inventory.
BILL: Any other challenges you can share with us aside from language? Any other challenges in working with ethnic media? Say, budgets? Or not having a really big staff at the smaller publications, TV stations, radio stations, or shows?
YURINA: For smaller publications what you have to keep in mind is that they’re not going to show up to your press event because they probably don’t have the people. It’s probably the editor, the assistant editor, and the graphic designer doing all the work. So you’ve got to be strategic when dealing with smaller outlets like that. What do they need? What kind of pictures do they need? What kind of stories? Look at the stories they run. Do they run more tips, you know, “Five things you should know” or do they do more of the testimonials? Those are the different things that you have to keep in mind and try to give them as much as possible, especially the smaller ones, right? So if you don’t have a budget for translations, but you give them a good story that they can easily translate – they love that – and that comes with that nice image, they’ll run it. You have to look at the challenges that you have. If it’s money, if it’s staff, whatever it is, and try to come up with ways to get closer to those outlets.
BILL: You also talk about monitoring as one of the challenges. Tell me more about why that is such a challenge with ethnic media and how do you overcome that? Any tips for PR professionals?
YURINA: It’s really hard. Especially because of the language issue, right? So how do we usually monitor? You have the big agencies, Cision, Meltwater, Muckrack, all those agencies that promote giving you the clips that you need, but they’re mostly in English. And if you’re trying to get to a certain demographic, they might not show there. So that’s when you have to look at the media outlets as your partners and treat them like that so that you’ll get that clip <laugh> because that requires them to go out of their way to actually get back to you and give you what you need in order to measure the impact of your campaign.
BILL: What are some of the mistakes that PR pros make when they’re targeting ethnic media?
YURINA: They only think of the big guys. They only think of Telemundo, and Univision, and that’s it.
BILL: The bigger players.
YURINA: Yeah. Which is awesome. I mean, Univision a lot of times here in LA has more audiences than the English-language ones. But that’s not enough. That’s just not enough, depending on what you’re doing, right? Because if you’re doing just like a regular Coca-Cola kind of thing, then yeah, whatever, <laugh>. But if you’re trying to have an impact, you really have to look at demographics and audiences and languages and all those things. <Laugh>
BILL: When you’re dealing with a smaller client with a smaller budget or a small business, how does that shape your PR plan? What tips can you give for working with clients that have a smaller budget?
YURINA: I actually had a campaign this summer that had a tiny budget. It was for the extreme heat. And what we did was we prioritized the regions where extreme heat affects the most people, with an equity angle. Like, who are the people that are most affected by it? And we met those people where they were a lot of times, on social media. Other times it might be at a community event. So it’s different, depending. You can have a successful PR campaign with a small budget if you know who your audience is.
BILL: Yurina, you end the book with a detailed case study of how California worked with ethnic media during COVID-19. The CDC had data that showed that Hispanics were hospitalized at rates that were four to five times higher than non-Hispanic whites. So you guys came up with the “Vaccinate All 58” campaign. Can you share more about that experience?
YURINA: So it really was like that book, “It was the worst of times. It was the best of times,” <laugh> because it was horrible.
BILL: Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities.”
YURINA: Yes. So it really was like that. It was the worst of times, the pandemic, the first one in the last hundred years. It impacted everyone. But it was the best of times in that we realized how to partner with the ethnic media to get our message across and to get more people vaccinated, especially in those hard-to-reach communities. So that’s how I end the book. I give specific tactics of what we did. South LA, for example, had a lower-than-usual vaccination rate. We teamed up with a local newspaper and a local church, and we did “Las Posadas Con Vacunas” (Vaccines with Las Posadas). Very cultural. If you don’t know, it’s a reenactment of Mary being pregnant and going around trying to find a place to give birth to baby Jesus. So it’s very cultural in Mexico and Central America and the rest of Latin America. We put a vaccine clinic at the entrance of the church. And so as people were going into the church – and it was being live-streamed and everything – we actually got people vaccinated there <laugh>.
BILL: Cool. That was “Las Posadas Con Vacunes,” part of the strategy for “Vaccinate All 58?”
BILL: About a year ago, I interviewed Gloria Rodriguez from Comunicad, which is now part of Ruder Finn. She mentioned one case study where years ago there was research that showed that Hispanic mothers weren’t comfortable strapping in and placing their baby in the backseat. So they actually got the church involved, having the priest come out and bless the baby seats. So it’s the second time I heard of a campaign where the church gets involved as part of the strategy. A good cultural fit there.
YURINA: Yeah. And we got people there using one of the smaller news outlets in the area. So the LN Noticias that I talked about, we used them to promote the event. And so we got a lot of Central Americans, plus we got also African-Americans in the area.
BILL: Yurina, as part of the “Vaccinate All 58” campaign, you mentioned that you had to create a support program for journalists called Myth Busters Fellowship. Why was that necessary?
YURINA: There were a lot of myths and disinformation popping up on social media. And how do you deal with that? Well, you counteract with information. And that Myth Busters campaign. That’s the partnership that I told you earlier that we had with 58 journalists, where each of them went into their communities to figure out what the myths were that were influencing people in not getting vaccinated. So that’s how we addressed that misinformation, by providing good information.
BILL: Okay. I’ve got about five more questions, Yurina. I appreciate your time today. Was there anything that you would’ve wanted to add to the book that you couldn’t for some reason or other, say, for length purposes?
YURINA: No, not really. I wanted the book to be a manual. I didn’t want like a bunch of stories and going, like, me, me, me, me, <laugh>. I wanted something that you could easily read. It’s a little over a hundred pages. You can read it in one or two hours depending on how fast you read. It can give you ideas. The paperback version is the most popular one. And you can mark it. You can use it as a guide. That’s what I wanted. I wanted a guide. I wanted everyone to talk about it because what happens a lot of times is that when we’re talking about language and immigrants, a lot of the times those things get swept under the rug and nobody wants to talk about it. I wanted to bring it to the public and say, “Hey, let’s talk about culture. Let’s talk about language. We’re all here. We’re all in the same space. Let’s make sure that the decision-makers understand their biases and let’s make sure that the people running mainstream media campaigns also understand that there are other media outlets that you might not know about, which is okay, but you’ve got to get informed.”
BILL: When I first saw the title of the book, I thought, “Hey, this might have some Top 50 or Top 10 lists of the top Hispanic media outlets, the top African-American, the top Asian- American media outlets. I didn’t see that in the book. Is that something you plan to include later on?
YURINA: It’s not a directory. <Laugh>.
BILL: Okay. Where do you recommend that PR professionals and marketers go to find the best, latest, freshest information on the top outlets in each community?
YURINA: Well, that’s the thing. If you’re thinking about just the top ones, then that’s the same mentality that gets you to Univision and Telemundo. I would like people to go a little bit deeper. Yes, I know people’s time is valuable and you just want the best, the top, the biggest one, but depending on your campaign, that might not work for you. So my book is not intended as a directory. It’s not intended to push an agenda. I just want us to talk about language, and race, and talk about culture and that all those differences are okay. It’s okay. <Laugh>,
BILL: This is more of a selfish question since I co-own a wire service, but how effective are press releases when you’re doing outreach to ethnic media? Do you still use them? What do you think of them?
YURINA: Coming from a larger media outlet, they were very useful. But when you’re a smaller media outlet, you might not have the time or the staff to actually look at all the press releases out there. That’s where the connection comes from. I like press releases. There was a time in my life when I thought press releases were like so 90s, but I understand their value. And because they’re like your base. They’re like, “Okay, this is a good topic. Let me get some testimonials. It has good data. Let me see what kind of story I can do.” So that works very well when you have a larger staff, when you have at least five reporters, four or five reporters. You can use the press release as a guide to produce a story. But when you’re a smaller outlet you want something that you can run easily. So instead of a press release, maybe you have a press release and maybe some testimonials at the end. So finding a way that you can package information where reporters don’t have to spend that much time, I think that works better for smaller outlets. Does that make sense? <Laugh>?
BILL: Yes. I appreciate that. How are you promoting the book? Any other insights you can share about how you’re going to promote the book? Are you going to do book fair appearances? What’s your plan there?
YURINA: I’m relying a lot on my friends <laugh>, so I plan to do different college tours. Maybe come this Spring. I have a couple of options. I’m thinking of some of the Cal State [campuses] and maybe a couple of private colleges. And I’m hoping people like it enough that they can recommend it. That’s my strategy. <Laugh> It’s like a guerilla strategy.
BILL: Word of mouth, yeah.
YURINA: Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>
BILL: Okay. Let’s see. Anything else that I may have left out that you want to share? Any tips and strategies for PR professionals, or communications professionals that you want to share?
YURINA: No, not really. I think we’ve talked about the different things. I found out that I like producing books. It’s so funny because I came up with this like two weeks ago: I actually wrote a guide on how to write a novel, in Spanish. I’m just thinking of ideas on how to do different things and just following, okay, so how to do ethnic media. Well now, how to write your own novel in Spanish. So I’m just finding different ways to put my thoughts out there <laugh>.
BILL: Is that one already on Amazon? The one you just held up about novel writing?
YURINA: Well, this one is also a how-to guide. It goes step by step. If you have different ideas for the book you want to write what’s your conflict? It takes you step by step and it has space for you to write it. It’s like a workbook.
BILL: Pretty cool. How can people reach you if they want to get your consulting, and where can they find your books? They’re all on Amazon right now?
YURINA: They’re all on Amazon right now. Little by little. They’re also going to be available in Barnes & Noble. And how to find me? Well, I have a website at www.yurinamelara.com. There you can find my email, which is my name, email@example.com. You know, I really like the show New Amsterdam, where the doctor starts by saying, “How can I help?” So that’s me. It’s like, “How can I help? What do you need <laugh>?” If there are any questions that people have or sometimes you just want to run things by someone, I’m always happy to help. And that’s the thing. That’s why I wrote this book, trying to help people navigate ethnic media. That’s why I wrote this [other] book, trying to help people who are trying to write their novels. So I’m all about helping <laugh>.
BILL: Okay. And so that one’s only available in Spanish, the novel writing one?
YURINA: Yes. And there’s a reason why. I am trying to promote Spanish writing. It’s so important not to lose that.
BILL: Right, right.
YURINA: Well, at least for me.
BILL: <Laugh> I need a copy of that one too. Thank you for your time today.
YURINA: Thank you.