Here are 24 tips and suggestions for pitching the news media. Individually they may not seem like anything special, but collectively, they have been proven to work for me and many of the publicists that I have managed over the years. Pitching the media is as much about your attitude and state of mind as it is about the facts and details of your pitch.
1. You need to tease to please. Use a strong lead or they won’t read.
2. Style gets attention, but substance solidifies it. Offer something that sounds powerful, concrete, and useful.
3. Offer a scoop or exclusivity – make it seem urgent.
4. Show how you fill a need for the media.
5. Use visuals to support your message.
6. Sound empathetic to the job of the media – let them know you understand and appreciate their work.
7. If the person you pitch says no, ask what would get a yes. Also, ask if there’s someone else at their outlet who should be pitched.
8. Hijack the news and convert what’s in the news into a story you can speak about as an expert.
9. Timing is key – know a media outlet’s deadlines, lead time, and news cycle. Call at a time when they are more receptive to you.
10. Clearly present what you have that is new, unique, and substantive. Keep the hype and rambling to a minimum.
11. Expand your outreach to major media outlets – be bold, take a chance, and think big.
12. Pitch like you were a tombstone – be brief and to the point – summarize a life or a book in just a few words.
13. Think like a TV producer or journalist and package a story for them – make it easy to show them how you offer ideas and even other experts along with yourself to pull off a great segment or story.
14. Prioritize who you pitch to each day. Focus on those you have the best chance with AND on the longshots that can yield a windfall.
15. Jaywalk through the media – ignore red lights and rules that hold you back. Think green light all the way when aggressively tracking them down and pitching in a way that leads to results.
16. Don’t overthink your pitch – just get it out there!
17. Attitudes are infectious – give off a good, happy vibe and others will react in kind.
18. Approach the media with the mind frame that they will say yes. Try the assumptive close – act as if you assume they will agree to cover your book and the only question is “when?” Always pitch with confidence.
19. Don’t assume the media knows everything about what you’re talking about – explain things in a way that sounds like they should know of what you speak about but in a way that also fills in the blanks so they are not left guessing.
20. Localize your angle, where possible, for a local media outlet, and demonstrate how your topic meets the demographic needs of their readers/listeners/viewers.
21. Often, less is more. Be succinct in your pitch.
22. What sells? Controversy, news, sex, money, kids, and celebrity. Latch onto one of those.
23. Tell the media what it agrees with and wants to hear.
24. Educate yourself on the media outlet and person that you are pitching. Appeal to what you know of their past media coverage or private lives.
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 email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014
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