How Authors Can Pitch Media Like a Pro

Helping authors to get visible and famous is what I love to do. In fact, one of the top objectives when we work together is to get to the point where media is  calling you! That’s always a wonderful place to be, although it can present new challenges when you’re trying to determine if the media contacting you is appropriate and good for you. But that is a post for another day…

When it comes to getting known and having media call you, one thing is critical:

You have to know how to pitch the media.

It sounds so obvious until you sit down to write it and find yourself facing a blank screen.

“Oh oh. Now what? How do I do this? What do I say?”

Let me share a couple of thoughts with you. As I mentioned in last week’s Savvy Sunday post, as a side project I’m the guest booker for a very successful podcast called the Something You Should Know Show Podcast.

Because of that, I’ve got others now pitching me. It’s kind of a nice change of pace, to tell you the truth. It didn’t take long for news to travel and now I’ve got authors, publicity directors and publicists from near and far pitching me to have their authors do the show.

It is these interactions that have taken place over the past month that have shown me I must write this post.

So here we go. Things to remember:

Whoever you are pitching and whatever the platform, there are fundamentals that must be followed. This is no time to decide to be the disrupter and do things your own way. The fundamentals are fundamental for a reason, and I don’t care if there are influencers out there saying these tips are new. Sorry. The fundamentals are not new, but they are just as important as they’ve always been, and now’s the time to embrace them. Ready?

  • You have to have a great idea. (And you have to clearly say what it is. It's amazing how many times I've had to dig to figure out what the show idea is, and not everyone is going to even try to do that. Most won't. Make it easy for them.)
  • You have to target the right people and outlets. (That's pretty clear. Do the research first, or hire someone to do it for you.)
  • You have to get to the point. Fast. (Start with the hook. What's going to grab them?)
  • Be unique (For example, there are plenty of dating experts out there. Why should they take notice of you?)
  • Be able to answer the question, "Why you, why now?" (This speaks to your expertise and timeliness.)
  • Prepare talking points. (Give the media person a solid idea of what you can deliver. Five bullet points consisting of what you'd talk about.)
  • It's not about your book. Truly. (They don't care. It's nice to have the credibility of having a book and that will often get them to look at you. But the reality is it's about what you can give to the audience. How are you going to help them?)
  • Don't just say, "Hey, I can talk about anything. Here's my book." (Too broad. If you say this, you'll never hear back from anyone.)

You have to have a great idea. (And you have to clearly say what it is. It’s amazing how many times I’ve had to dig to figure out what the show idea is, and not everyone is going to even try to do that. Most won’t. Make it easy for them.)


Here’s the good news.

Some professionals who should know better are not doing the fundamentals, so this actually gives you a leg up.

If you can pitch a great idea to the right people, if you’re succinct and unique and can answer why you should be the one to do this interview, if you can explain why now is the time and give them talking points for making a decision, and you keep your focus on helping the audience, you’re going to do it.

You’ll be on your way to being a media darling and having them call you, which feels really, really good.

And, remember: The most successful people try with every fiber of their soul. If we want something, we have to try with every fiber of our soul.

To your success!


P.S. Here’s another blog post about pitching media and remembering the person who needs your advice.

Questions? Feel free to tweet me about it. Let’s connect there! @joannemccall