Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Authors Must Think Like The Media To Get Coverage

What do you think goes through the minds of the media that you contact, hoping to convince them to have you as a guest on their show or to be interviewed by their publication or online outlet?  Chances are you’re thinking too much about yourself and not them.  That’s a mistake.

When you are contacting the media, you need to assume the producer, editor, or assistant is filtering through your pitch in search of relevance.  Every media outlet – whether big or small – has a sense of who its reader – viewer – listener is.  They have a demographic image of whom they’re trying to retain or win over.  If they believe you offer something that will fulfill the needs of their audience/listenership/readership, you will have passed the first test.

Here are things you should know when others are evaluating your pitch:

1.      Do you offer something new, unusual, entertaining, or relevant to the news cycle?
2.      Does your message appeal to the outlet’s demographics?
3.      Do you sound well-spoken?
4.      Do you speak concisely or ramble on?
5.      Do you sound like you have the legitimate credentials to be qualified to speak on your topic at hand?
6.      Do you sound like you have something useful to add to the conversation – and not merely recycling what’s out there?
7.      Are there any obstacles to your availability or conflicts with other media obligations?

The media is looking to find good guests and interview subjects, and the competition is insane. 

You are not just competing with other authors – and there are many of them – but with politicians, athletes, businesses, crime, musicians, actors and myriad of people looking for their 15 seconds of fame.

Many members of the media use email and voicemail to screen for talent.  They don’t want to talk to you until they see there’s a reason to.  The bigger the media outlet the less likely your screener is the main editor or producer, but probably an assistant or an intern.  If you don’t pass the first round of tests, you’ll never be given a chance.

So what can you do to overcome the screening process?

Think about things from the perspective of the media.  What will impress them and fulfill their needs?  How can you make their job easier and lay out the story for them?  Which buzz words will get their attention?  Do you have a short pitch with punch ready to go?  Can you customize your story to show relevance to a specific media outlet’s demographics?

By putting the needs of the media ahead of your own you’ll begin to advance your own cause.  When you act and think like the media you’ll soon become an appealing guest for them.

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 He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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