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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Which Media Should You Contact To Promote A Book?


When you sit down to plan who you are going to pitch your book and story to, you’ll need to take a systematic approach to generate meaningful media coverage.  So how do you go about selecting which media to contact?

First, divide up the media by classification:
Television
Print
Radio
Online

Second, break them down by format:
TV: National/syndicated, local, regional (Network/Cable/Streaming)
Print: Magazines, newspapers, newswires, newsletters, trade journals
Radio: National/syndicated, local, regional (AM-FM-SIRIUS)
Online: Websites, bloggers, online reviewers, social media

Third, break them down by size or location.

Fourth, consider their editorial deadlines and needs.  For instance, if you want to pitch women’s magazines, they work 4-5 months in advance.  You’d need to contact them way before you reach out to radio shows.

Fifth, consider the physical needs of the media.  Some TV or radio shows want you in their studios, though many can do interviews remotely or by phone.  Do you need to plan your travel schedule if you plan to contact local media in several cities?

To pitch the media, you must figure out your publication date.  As early as five or four months prior to your book’s release date (as listed on Amazon or Books in Print), you will send advance review copies (usually print, but some accept digital) to book reviewers and long-lead magazines.

As you get closer to your publication date, you would pitch other types of media, typically 6-8 weeks prior to your pub date.  This goes on, usually until the first 12 weeks your book’s been published.  After that, your chances of getting a lot of media or major media outlets to cover you are greatly decreased.

Within each media format, you need to pick out specific outlets.  For instance, your media list can’t just say CNN and NBC.  Which shows will you contact and which specific producers will you reach out to?  Within TV, which shows do you approach first and how long do you wait before pitching it to other shows?  Keep in mind that all morning shows compete with each other, as do national news networks, late-night shows, and day-time talk.  Prioritize who you will contact.

Decide how you will contact the outlet: email, mail, phone, in-person, messenger?  How often will you contact them?  What will be your pitch?  Customize your message to meet the needs of that media outlet and the area that is covered by the person you call upon.

You need to see the media like the Census Bureau looks at America.  Break everything down into demographics.  If your book has angles that may appeal to Jews, the elderly, New Yorkers and health-minded people, then look for media that hits any and all of these targets.  If your book appeals to women under 35, those who have big careers, and those who love to ski, again, your media list will be specific to those special interest groups.

Nothing is worse than pitching a media outlet or a journalist something they would never cover.  Why discuss a parenting book with Sports Illustrated or a diet book with Maxim?  Know who you are contacting.

Lastly, knowing what to ask for will help in your ability to get media coverage.  You can shoot for book reviews, feature stories, byline articles, book excerpts or to be added to their database of experts.  The more you can present ideas on how to create a story or interview, the better chance you have of scoring a hit.  But it all comes down to whom you contact and when, as much as what you have to offer.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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