Saturday, June 16, 2012

Turning Media Exposure Into Sales

Getting an interview with the news media for an author or publisher is always the goal when promoting a book. But how should an author prepare for his or her interview so that the media exposure can be turned into sales?

Your goal for any media interview is presumably to sell books but it is really to sell a message. The more that people buy into you and your message, the more likely they will take an action step – buy your book, click on your site or blog, or seek to contact you.

When doing an interview with the media it helps to know, where possible, the following:

·        Who is conducting the interview
·        How long it will be
·        The subject of the interview
·        More about the style or content of the show, publication or Web site
·        When it will air, publish or post

No two interviews are the same but you should have a number of core points that you want to express in every interview - -regardless of the questions asked. You never want to come across as scripted, predictable, commercial, boring or unenthusiastic – but you do want to state certain messages in a way that comes across as informative, inspiring, entertaining or enlightening. You should sound genuine and heartfelt - -even if you are repeating some version of the same thing in dozens of interviews.

The key to all interviews is to not merely answer a question factually but to offer interesting, unique, newsy ideas in a way that sounds passionate, clever, and urgent. You must make an impression on people. The bar is high – you cannot merely handle an interview – you must thrive in it. You want to get people to think about you, care about you, and to want your book.

What are some of the many ways to leave a great impression?

1.      Give the media outlet what it wants. If the show/publication/site offers a format that is controversial (O’Reilly Factor), inspiring (Oprah), funny (The Daily Show), news-oriented (CNN), or business-focused (Wall Street Journal) – you must present things in a way that speaks to them and their following. It is just like getting dressed – shorts to a BBQ makes sense, but not to a business meeting. Each media outlet has its own wardrobe of how you should talk and act.

2.      Speak in sound bites. This means you must use short sentences with words that clearly capture the essence of your message - -without going into great detail. Do not get bogged down into explaining every nuance – there simply is no time for such depth. You merely scratch the surface with an implied promise that there is much more to your story – if only they would read your book!

3.      Use visuals, wherever possible.

4.      Speak in metaphors and provide timely analogies. Share examples to support your strongest points.

5.      Smile and appear confident, relaxed, strong, and happy. People can sense weakness, fear, indecisiveness, uncertainty, or ignorance.

There are dozens and dozens of things a media coach would suggest, down to your physical appearance and mannerisms, your diction and accent, body language, etc. Further, there are specific things that your message should include/not include, depending on the subject matter and the media outlet. But the thing to remember here is that the media is not who you are trying to impress. It is the end user: the viewer, listener, or reader out there who is inundated with a zillion messages. You are taxed with the task to make people take notice of you, to like you, to desire what you are selling, to remember you, AND to take an action step: to click on something or buy what you are offering.

But don’t let any of this weigh on you. Go have fun and do what you do best, which is to talk about what you know best: your book and yourself. As a result, you may just sell a book or two.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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