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Friday, June 15, 2018

Which Message Should Authors Sell To The News Media?



What exactly is the message you want to convey and sell to the news media so journalists, broadcasters, and social media sites will want to cover you and your book?

It’s a simple question but the answer often befuddles authors, who are too close to their subject matter and too invested in their books to find clarity.  However, for the media to pay any attention to you, an author must perfect the following:

1. An inviting subject line for an email pitch.  Without that, people won’t even click to open the email to see what you have to offer.

2. A powerful opening paragraph to your pitch or press release.  Once they see something worthy clicking on and find the headline inviting – or at least not a turn-off, they want to know what it is that you are offering.

3. The other core element to your pitch or press release are the 4-6 one-line bullet points that you include to highlight what you will talk about or describe why the book is unique and newsworthy.  Don’t just say the book’s great – show us what’s great.

4. Somewhere in your pitch you need to state -- briefly --what your qualifications for writing the book are.  How is your career, personal experience, or place in society related to what you write about?  There will be a place for a detailed biography in your press kit materials, but you still need a few lines that sum up your relevance in your pitch.

5. A great 20-second elevator pitch.  That’s it – a third of a minute is what you have to present your book and your life to the media. When you talk to the media, whether by phone or in person, you need to succinctly state what you are offering and to say so without sounding staged, scripted or rehearsed.

So how do you find a way to present your message under such restrictions of time and/or word length?

First, just free-think and allow yourself to brainstorm with no limits.  Jot down words, phrases, or sentences about what’s special, interesting, new, or unique about your book and yourself.

Second, once done, start to fill in the blanks and then reshape with better word choices.  Finally, re-order these thoughts from most important to least.  Remove any repetition and edit it down so that it makes sense but utilize an economy of words.

Third, imagine being the media professional, and someone else is selling himself to you.  What are you looking for and how do you hear what’s being shared with you.  Turn a mirror to yourself and see how you look to others who know nothing about you and tend to look at others in a scrutinizing, jaded manner.

What’s a good message to share?

·         It should be relevant to the media outlet or specific person that you contact. A rock station isn’t necessarily interested in a book on business nor is a woman’s magazine interested in a story about men who want to reform the prison system.  Know your audience and the needs of whom you are contacting.

·         It should be timely, relate to things in the news, reflect current trends, or tie into the calendar – a holiday, a season, an honorary day, the weather, and things that happen annually from graduations and birthdays to spring break and industry conventions.

·         It should expose a secret, share a truth, convey a new philosophy, challenge a myth, or break new ground.

·         It can be controversial and against expectation. It can challenge the establishment or present a revised way of looking at history.

·         It can be new, unique and fresh – something not seen or spoken of ever before.

·         It can be about a personal or professional experience that helps others or is so odd and initially great or horrific that people would be extremely curious.

·         It can raise a question and spark a debate.

·         It can issue a challenge, make a claim, demand change, call for action or represent a protest, lawsuit, boycott, or ban.

·         It can exploit humor, sex, power, wealth, religion or politics – something that is entertaining and sure to be talked about.

Your message can be about anything – starting with the facts of the book’s content and your relevant background.  Then, you can shape it to fit the criteria of the media outlet and the day or time that you contact them.  Whatever it is that you determine is your best message, be prepared to alter it, taking into account the feedback that you receive.

As great as your book may be – or as amazing as your life may seem – none of it matters unless you can gift wrap it into a tidy message that the media can understand, believes it wants, and concludes that only you can provide.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

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