Last week we focused on the importance of having an editorial or content calendar for your book’s promotional and planning efforts that extends out for an entire year. In case you missed it, it’s here.
I had a few interesting questions come up from readers this past week which prompted me to do this update:
- Nothing on your calendar is set in stone. Like goals, the items on your calendar can be changed if a better idea comes along or if you just lose interest in doing something that once gave you joy and excitement.
- Leave room for your own creativity to pop up, which can happen at any point in time. You want to be able to add things as they come along.
- Let go of any ideas that may have worked initially, but as time passed just don’t seem to be great ideas anymore. Flexibility is a wonderful quality to have.
- Drop the idea that, “This should be easy.” It really isn’t. Creating a year-long content process is a big deal and can take some time and thought, so give yourself a break.
The good news is that as you continue to come up with and write in new ideas, more ideas will come to you. Eventually you are going to have a very robust calendar that will hopefully be fun and inspiring to you, too. If it isn’t, you can tweak it until it is!
Once you get into action mode and start implementing the items on your content calendar, you are going to feel amazing. It is a powerful feeling to feel like you’re in control. Plus, letting go of the overwhelming and paralyzing decisions on what to do — when you’re not sure what to do — is a wonderful load not to have to carry around.
It’s similar to finally decluttering a room that has morphed into some kind of storage shed in your house. Every time you look inside that room, something inside goes, “Ugh!” Then one day you hit that tipping point and have had enough! You get busy. Soon that room becomes a new space and you find yourself wondering why you didn’t do that a long time ago?!
Getting thoughts and ideas out of your mind and onto a calendar is magic. Creating a content calendar or editorial calendar can give you that kind of relief, energy, and creativity too!
And, it frees up more energy to get out there and start pitching media.
Which leads me into this week’s topic:
There is a particular conversation I have with many of my clients early on in our work together and it has to do with remembering who you are pitching.
The author, who may also be a thought leader, coach, speaker, consultant, business owner, workshop facilitator, and webinar leader, interacts with his or her target market fairly regularly. This is a wonderfully productive and rewarding part of the process. The author is able to get a read on what customers are saying about the book and the work in general. They often give incredibly wonderful feedback, as well as book reviews if the client remembers to ask, that can really serve him or her. It works fantastically well with your own media empire that you are building.
However — and this is big — just because your participants at an event are singing your praises, does not automatically mean that media will love you too, especially if they don’t know who you are. This is an important distinction to make. Some authors and business people have a hard time with it.
“Everyone loves the book. I’m getting such great feedback. They all say it’s powerful.“ Yes, and that’s fabulous. Use it for building out your own media channels and in your marketing efforts. You just can’t use that same approach in all contexts. For example, it won’t work with people who have not heard of you yet. Your approach has to be different. Your pitch has to be adjusted.
Media is the gatekeeper to their audience and to the audience you want to reach. Your pitch to the gatekeeper is often different from that of your target market and there several reasons why this is so, and how it needs to be different:
Again, they don’t know you…yet. You’re introducing yourself. Short and sweet is best. Don’t overdo it. Think of it like a first date. You don’t ask someone to marry you on the first date. The other person would run for the hills. You want to take it easy, be succinct yet robust. This is an art, by the way…
I know it’s tempting to think it’s all about you when you’re pitching story ideas or an interview opportunity, but that is the mindset that needs to be adjusted. In many spheres it is all about you, but not on a first date or when pitching media.
You need to customize your pitch not only to that media outlet, but to that person as well. Be sure you know who you’re talking to. Find out what they cover on the show. Listen to the program. If it’s digital or print, what else have they written? Read their columns, stories, posts. Refer to something you read that shows you really did do that. Get to know the person. I know this takes time. It does.
If you’re targeting the appropriate media for your book, he or she hears pitches from people similar to you all day long, so why you? And, by the way, “Who are you?” This can be humbling if you’re used to people deferring to you, but it is the reality. Not everyone knows who you are…yet, so introduce yourself appropriately.
The bottom line
The bottom line here is that while you have raving fans, if you want to expand your reach by going to earned media for coverage, then you must introduce yourself in a way that is friendly and engaging. Your approach to the gatekeeper is different from your final target market.
All of this ties back into the importance of creating a content or editorial calendar. Your calendar can include social media topics, various marketing campaigns, speaking engagements, and earned media features and shows. Getting it down in a form that is easily understood and acted upon on a regular basis will be a game changer for you. I promise!
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