How do you find the news media to contact and tell about your book?
First, you need a comprehensive, accurate database to work with. Second, you need to know whom to contact. Third, it helps to know how to contact them – phone, e-mail, fax, snail mail, etc. Fourth, if you call, you need to know when it is the best time to catch them. Fifth, it helps to know more about the media outlet that you reach out to – and to understand the needs of the person you are contacting.
In terms of an accurate media list, every list needs to be updated the minute you’ve come across new data. The news media changes by the minute. News stations, new shows, personnel movements are the daily norm. The Internet by far, changes more often than any medium. Then comes radio, television, and newspapers and magazines.
E-mail is the preference for most media in how they want to be contacted. They can answer it 24/7 around their schedule. Further, they’d rather skip through your e-mail, press release or website than hear you drone on in a telephone call or to have to wait 30-60 seconds for a phone message to finally say at what number or e-mail you can be reached at. The danger with e-mail, however, is you don’t know if a spam filter caught the e-mail, though there are programs out there that can tell you if and when an e-mail was read.
The phone is good if you’re following up, rather than as an initial contact to the news media. If you can get through with a call and keep the pitch short and sweet, then you’re in good shape. If you get voice mail, don’t leave a message, but you can press “O” for the operator. Ask her if she can page the person you want. Either that person will answer or you’re back to voice mail. If the latter occurs, dial “O” one more time – ask the operator when the best days or times to reach the person you need. Make a note of it and try back during prime time.
There is a lot to the trick of finding, reaching and convincing the news media to give you coverage for your book. That is probably why so many people hire publicists!
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