We all need a little help sometimes.
This week I was approached by a wonderful coach and author who is having trouble attracting new people to her brand through her book. I don’t want to mention her name until we get it sorted out, and then with her OK, I will share the before and after story. But for now, this is not an uncommon situation – many authors find themselves in a similar situation.
Exactly where an author and business person is in the process may be different — some are at the beginning, some are in the middle, and some have been doing this work for some time now quite successfully, but they want to go bigger. This is very common.
In this particular situation with the coach I mentioned above, her presenting question was how could she get more media? And we delved into that, of course, but not before we had a conversation about branding. When looking at her website and her social sites it was difficult to understand what she was up to. Each profile had a slightly different name, description and title, which leaves the experiencer feeling unsure and a little lost, which leads me to the first point.
We all need help sometimes. It may be in the form of a publicist, a web designer, a copywriter, an editor, or just someone with a fresh pair of eyes who can clearly see where the confusion lies and can communicate it to us in an effective way. It can make all the difference because we can’t see our own blind spots. Any author will tell you, as they’re writing their book and editing it over and over again, after a while mistakes simply are not seen. Our eyes habituate and we need a fresh pair of eyeballs looking at our content in order to take it up a few notches.
Your branding needs to be right. That holds for your book and your entire platform. Make sure its congruent and makes sense.
Then, when you’re going after media, it’s important to remember that you must be newsworthy. The now famous question, “Why you, why now?” should be rolling around in your head whenever you prepare a pitch. You must have a compelling story. Otherwise they’re going to tell you to take out an ad.
A good or compelling story is something that is outside the box. Something that hasn’t been heard over and over again; and it’s something that you want the journalist to read and feel that they can’t miss out on it. In other words, you have to make it about them and not about you. This is challenging — I totally get it — and absolutely necessary.
Media receives dozens of pitches daily or weekly depending on the size and demand of the outlet. Because of that, and because many pitches aren’t customized and read pretty much the same way, they often just get deleted. Often the journalist or whoever it is won’t bother to tell you that. Why?
Because it is so obvious the person never even went to the outlet to see what they’re up to so they could send a relevant, well-thought-pitch. The media person ghosts them because they don’t want to deal with any push back they’ll hear if they tell them no. It’s too bad, because you can learn from that.
However, if they tried to answer everyone, they’d never get any work done. So the question becomes…
How do you avoid being deleted?
- First off, make sure if you’re sending a press release that it doesn’t read like a sales pitch. It needs to be a conversation starter. You want to write it with the intention of drawing someone in to comment, question, and appreciate it. (And, by the way, press releases have their place, although I’m a much bigger fan of a simple pitch letter.)
- Have a great hook. A hook is something that grabs you. It is what makes your story readable. You need to find something that is news and of interest to your audience.
- Build on a credible source. To improve your chances of getting reported, you need to have someone credible on your side. In business, this means having a serious investor or someone who uses your product and also has a connection with your audience.
- Aim for a compelling narrative. Your story is only as compelling as its angles, so establish a clear voice, strong dialogue, and focused style to bond with your prospects.
And, as we often discuss here, one way to become newsworthy is to tie into a current event. Here are a few things happening in December from the Almanac:
- November 28 – December 6 is Hanukkah
- December 6 is Saint Nicholas Day. St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, inspires traditions around the world from hunts for presents to stockings or shoes filled with sweets.
- December 7 is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
- December 13 is St. Lucia’s Day, which has long been associated with festivals of light. Before the Gregorian calendar reform in 1752, her feast day occurred on the shortest day of the year (hence the saying “Lucy light, Lucy light, shortest day and longest night”).
- December 15 is Bill of Rights Day.
- December 17 is Wright Brothers Day.
- December 21 is the Winter Solstice—the astronomical first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and first day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere.
- December 25 is Christmas Day, a Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. Learn more about American Christmas traditions.
- December 26 is Boxing Day (Canada, UK) and the first day of Kwanzaa.
If you can tie your book into one of the dates above, you can make it newsworthy again.
To your success!
P.P.S. And speaking of help, if you know someone who could benefit from receiving Savvy Sunday News, please send them this link to sign up for it. And I thank you! I’m on a mission to help as many authors as I can.
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