When 9/11 happened 15 years ago it was not only a traumatic and devastating act for a nation and the world, but it became a meteorite that knocked out access to the news media for authors and publishers.
For days, weeks, and actually months, it was not business as usual for the book industry and the news media. It was like a solar eclipse, our bright sun blocked by a dark force. You couldn’t pitch the media about anyone or anything unless it dealt with terrorism, war, religion, or rebuilding – or airplanes, security, and the Middle East.
The election of 2016 is not at all the same kind of blackout but there are challenges in navigating the news media maze. Traditional media is worse now than 15 ago. Radio has more syndication, less local programming. T.V. has more opinion-sharing and less news reporting and less frequent use of author-experts on across-the-board topics. Print media has shrunk in terms of the number of outlets, their size, and their publishing frequency. Online has opportunities with social media but still lacks a quantity of media outlets that don’t just aggregate the work of traditional media with a mix of opinion-filled blogs.
You have a few approaches you can take with the media:
1. Pitch them some kind of election-related angle and hope they go for it, no matter how stretched you are from your core expertise.
2. Acknowledge you offer no discussion for election coverage and present yourself and book as an alternative to the repetitive and boring election analysis.
3. Do neither – and don’t pitch the media for the next two months. You probably can’t afford to do that. Besides, the news cycle always has something you need to work with – or work around. Suck it up and deal with it.
Which media is the easiest to get?
Certainly social media wins that race. Why? Because you can become the distributor of the news that you operate. No permission needed. Post on FB, Instagram, You Tube, Twitter, Tumblr, and anywhere you care to. Sign up more followers and connections. Email your network and share, share, share. You may get discovered by others, go viral, and then have major media covering you.
Radio is the next easiest. There are thousands of stations with collectively tens of thousands of shows. There are over 300 local markets and hundreds of regionally and nationally syndicated shows in America. Don’t forget Canadian radio, too.
Print media has challenges but by extension, the dot-com side of major magazines, newspapers, journals, newsletters and newswires offers opportunity.
T.V. is the hardest. Local T.V. will pay attention if there’s a local hook. National T.V. takes luck, strategy, timing, a great hook, great credentials for the author, and where possible, a tie-in to the news cycle.
If you want to tie into the election, you need to dissect each candidate, their past, their platform, and today’s issues. If you can speak on these topics, you have a chance:
Wives who exceed husbands
Power and money
Race in politics
Keep plugging away with the media. There will always be challenging and busy news cycles to contend with. The elections eventually end. The very next week, after the media adjusts to whomever won, the media will be on toto 2020!
This too shall pass.
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