Last week I shared a post on how authors can pitch media like a pro. If you haven’t read it yet, you might want to check it out.
The critical message today is this: There are action items to be done long before you ever start pitching the media for stories and interviews. Some are obvious, while others, not so much.
Among the obvious (or it should be by now), you must have a platform. If you want media coverage for your book, you must remember that media outlets want your networks to know about them too. Gone are the days of visibility being one sided. It is a two-way street now, and so building your own networks is critical. This is something you can and must do from this moment forward.
But what prompted this post today is how often authors are NOT ready to go after media, yet they think they are.
My job is to help you be successful. My job is to get you ready for media. My job is to get media to call you. So, in order to do this, here is what you must have mastered:
- You have to know how to position yourself.
So what the heck does that mean? Positioning yourself means when you look at the marketplace and all your competitors or niche mates (hat tip to Jeffrey Van Dyk and Suzanne Falter), where you do fit into the mix?
For example: there are tons of relationship experts out there. If that’s the focus of your book, how is it unique among the sea of other relationship books? How is your message different from what everyone else is saying? Why should media talk to you? You have to be able to answer this. Now, you may not be able to yet, and that is one way I help people. We figure it out together. I do some research and ask you questions and then we come up with something amazing. This is a huge portion of my work with authors.
- You have to be able to talk about your message in a compelling and fascinating way.
Maybe your book is on leadership. There are a lot of books out there on leadership, so how can you discuss your ideas in a way that cuts through the noise and makes you stand out? How can you be the one who isn’t ignored, but is remembered? Having hooks, sound bites, and interesting stories is key. But again, this doesn’t just come naturally, yet it is essential.
- You need to prepare 5 talking points and have links to more information about you, e.g., your web site, other interviews you’ve done, video, audio, other stories and reviews.
Since I started booking the Something You Should Know Show podcast as a side project, I have been hearing from everyone and their brother and sister. It’s very revealing to see the press materials, or lack thereof, so I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that you must produce these things, and you can make it simple. Five talking points on what an interview with you would cover, and a link to your website with video and audio will give the producer or host a very good idea of how you’ll come across. Make it easy for them. Get it all set up first, and then approach media. it will be easier on you and on them.
Bonus tip: If you don’t know how to do it yourself, get help.
Positioning yourself, preparing the right materials, and coming across as compelling will take you out of confusion and chaos and into being confident. You’re already the content expert, the trick is coming across that way. No one expects you to be able to do this right out of the gate. Wait, let me rephrase that. Media expects you to come across that way right out of the gate, but I know it takes some time and a little work to get there. As they say, “You don’t know what you don’t know“, but now you do know, so let’s get going on it.
Once you know how to effectively communicate your message, you then need to know:
- Who to talk to
- How to talk to them
We’ll cover that in future posts.
The best out there have had plenty of help getting their message dialed in, and you can too. If you already know how to do this, great. Do it. If you need help, get it because nothing big can happen without it.
Let me know your thoughts about this. I’m always curious.
You can email me or send me a note on Twitter at @joannemccall.
To your success!