Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How To Get The New York Times To Write About You

All authors and book publishers want their books featured often and prominently by the news media.  The biggest prize is still The New York Times.  So how do you craft a strategy to get yourself in the paper of record?

The New York Times is a great influencer not only of public policy and behavior, but of the rest of the media.  How often do you hear other media outlets quoting a NYT report?  How often is social media circulating something based on a NYT story?  All the time!

To get the attention of the leading news source of the free world, you will need to employ greater strategy and more tactics than you would to get other media.  The principles would be the same, no matter what media you are pursuing – write a relevant pitch and send it in a timely manner to the right people at the targeted media outlet.  However, The New York Times demands a lot more.

First, you need to present something that meets their demographics.  They look for stories that appeal to the intelligent, community-active, fair-minded, liberal individual.  They lead with social, political, and financial significance – not entertainment, sports, or sex.

Second, really read and study the Grey Lady.  See what it covers vs. other papers.  Even when the same story is covered by the NYT and competing media outlets, notice the difference in tone, presentation, writing style, and the headline.  You need to mirror back their voice in order to get them to listen.

Third, you need to add to the existing record out there.  The NYT has a high standard. It does no good to tell them what they already know or to highlight a problem without giving a solution.  They want something of substance, something unsaid, something not yet explored.  Don’t confuse this with an exclusive.  They just want to delve into a different perspective than the way others have covered a news item.

Fourth, they have high standards for those they report on.  They prefer the credentials of their sources to be power players.  Why talk to a junior professor at a small college when you can quote Harvard, Yale or Princeton?  Why listen to what a self-employed consultant has to say when you can gain access to multi-national consulting firms?  Why chat with an independent café owner when you can speak with the CEO of Starbucks?

Fifth, try to answer a question that has not yet been asked on the subject of your expertise.

Sixth, appeal to their agenda or view of the world.  Feed them more of what they seem to like.

Seventh, be selective in which journalist, reporter, or editor that you go after.  Know as much as you can about him or her and what that person tends to report on.  Have a sense of that individual’s take on life is.  Structure your pitch so it seems deeply personalized.

Lastly, to get in the NYT, it helps to have a media resume.  Getting other media will help you work your way up the food chain.  Media begets media.

Because the NYT is so revered and influential, it likely gets the most pitches from publicists of books and all industries or interests.  This means the high bar of their publication, coupled with a burdensome amount of competition for their attention, will provide an enormous challenge to you.  But remember that each week, thousands of people are quoted or talked about by the NYT.  If you truly believe you are worthy of their ink you should do all that you can to put the time, effort, and creativity into pitching them.  

It wont be easy – and the odds are you’ll fail – but boy, if you break through, look out!


2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New

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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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