Tuesday, August 26, 2014

When Pitching Online Media

Here are some tips when pitching digital media:

1.      Be mindful of what type of outlet you’re contacting. Is it a professional journalist at the dot.com of a major media outlet, such as CNN.com or is it a podcaster, blogger, online reviewer or some other type of outlet?

2.      Be respectful and address your email by their name, such as Dear Jane (first name is personable) and end with Sincerely or Best Wishes, followed by your name and contact info.

3.      Almost all interaction with online media is via e-mail or snail mail. It’s rare to talk by phone initially. However, traditional outlets, like the dot.com of a newspaper or magazine, may take your calls.

4.      The key to getting online media is to present a short, personalized, timely email that offers a catchy headline, your contact info, and a call to action. Let them know what you have to offer and then state how you’ll be helpful. They love it when you reference their blog or site and show you know something about it.

5.      Check out the outlets (sites) that you plan to contact. Note something positive about what you see and mention it in your email.

6.      The only way to get anyone to open your email is with a really catchy subject line. If they don’t like it, they’ll delete it without reading further. Your mission is to say something inviting with only 8-10 words. You don’t have to worry about punctuation and you can shorten words or eliminate words normally used to connect your thoughts in a complete sentence. For instance, if your book is about losing weight you could say: ‘New book: nutritionist of 20 years shows how to shed 20 LBS’. It includes key things—that there’s a book, that it’s written by someone with credentials and experience and that it delivers a promise. You could make it more interesting or provocative and say the benefits first (and use fewer words): ‘Lost 20 LBS via 20-Year Nutritionist’s New Book.’ Play around with your words like puzzle pieces. Make them match up in just the right order once. You have tried them out in different positions.

7.      The pitch should succinctly explain that you have a new book and show who it will benefit and why. Also, remember, where possible, to comment on the news or relevant personalities in your pitch, if it seems like it’ll get their attention.   Let them know you are available for reviews, interviews, and guest posts. Let them know more information can be found at your website (or if you don’t have one, send them to your blog or FB page). Summarize your credentials and if you’ve done media, reference a few outlets if they are big.

8.      If you don’t get a response within a few days it could just be that the person is busy combing through other emails or just distracted by life. Or maybe your email was read and he or she is mulling over what to do. Or perhaps your email didn’t quite give them what they desired. A week or two after contacting them, feel free to try again, this time with a different pitch, subject line, and headline. Sometimes repackaging your email and sending it during a different news cycle could get you different results than when you tried the first time.

9.      Remember that you want to present what you have as something they need or want. But if the person you are pitching at a big outlet, like Huffington Post, isn’t receptive, try other people at that outlet. For instance, you can try the book editor, or depending on your subject matter, the editors of other sections, such as health, food, parenting, news, features, etc. You can create a pitch targeted to the needs of the specific editor. The diet book we spoke of earlier is still the same book but how you talk about it can vary depending on who is listening.

10.  Don’t forget to offer free resources. Let them know about the topics you can write guest posts on. Let them know you have video, audio, or photos that they may find useful. Think like an editor—look to package up what you envision them doing and help them do it. 

Lastly, don’t worry about how many outlets ignore or reject you. Don’t take it personally and don’t feel 
defeated. There are many media outlets out there. Keep reaching out to more people until you get the favorable 
response you hope for and come to expect. 

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

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