I’ve written about what to put in your media newsroom on your website before, so I won’t go into all those details now, although you can read more here.
As always, contact information not only important, it is essential. If you want to do media interviews, make it easy for journalists, reviewers, editors, producers, etc., to find you. You can use your email address, phone number, or you can create a contact page with a form that they can fill out. That’s perfectly fine. It’s become more and more acceptable over the years.
It is critically important to make yourself easy to find. This viewpoint is based on tons of experience both as a publicist for many book authors, as well as being the booking producer for a major podcast called the Something You Should Know podcast. You can find it here.
A publicist’s job is to get you appropriate media attention for your book, its message, and your business. With your help, we develop compelling materials, pitches, sound bites and hooks to entice media to want to talk to you.
Then, we go to our warm contacts who have been honed over the years to let them know who you are, what you have to offer, why that is important for their audiences, and why they should cover you. If your publicist is on top of things, he or she will continue to follow up and will handle all of the back and forth work required, including setting up interviews.
If, on the other hand, you have a publicist who is not very experienced, or is of the mind that everything is DIY, then they may not be willing to do what it takes to land that interview for you.
(One of these days I’m going to do a post on what I’ve run into working with publicists. I am one of them, yet I’m shocked at what many are doing! They should take my classes!)
At this point, the frustrated editor or producer will come looking for you directly, and you will want to respond to them quickly.
As a booking producer, I have had to go directly to the guest more times than not to land the interview, and have been absolutely shocked by that fact. As a publicist, I am used to doing tons of follow up and making sure media has everything they need. Now, when I ask a publicist for a galley copy of a book, 95% of the time they don’t include anything with it…not a cover letter, not a press release, not even a post-it note with their name and email address on it so I can let them know I received it and that I’m ready to set up the interview. I guess they think I’m going to remember all the details of an email conversation that took place two weeks ago (or more!).
A lot of material crosses my desk, both virtually and otherwise, and that is true for most media. You have to remind them of who you are and what you have, but I digress…
I have to say, being in this position of seeing how other PR companies and publicists are interacting with media is very enlightening. When I had my own radio show some years ago I certainly saw the interaction, but it’s interesting to see how things have transformed, and not necessarily in a good way. There are so many tools for staying in touch now that there is no excuse for letting important details drop away.
First, if you hire a publicist make sure he or she is a good one.
Second, if the media has to come to you directly, make sure you are easy to find.
Respond to their messages quickly; The same day if possible because there are other experts they can go to for a similar interview. Yes, I know there is no one quite like you, but there are other competitors, or niche makes, as I like to call them, who can step in. Niche mates are those people who share your space. If a media person can’t find you quickly and easily, they’re going to go elsewhere. I’ve had this happen with the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal back when I was first getting started in book publicity, and I didn’t yet understand this very important truth. I wasn’t able to locate my clients within the five minutes they gave me and they went on to someone else. Talk about a wake up call! I made sure that never happened again. Don’t let it happen to you.
There are those authors and entrepreneurs who make it very hard to find them. As the booking producer for a top podcast (we’re up to 1.1 million downloads every month now, and growing…not to brag or anything…), if I can’t find them via their website, then I have to get more creative. If it’s someone I really want for the show then I’ll do what it takes, but it’s so much easier if they make it easy for me.
Remember, most media folks are not personally interested in what you’re selling, or programs you’re offering so don’t make them have to slog through your entire website to find what they’re looking for. Having a media page marked “media” or “news room” or “media room” tells them where to go to get what they need. Don’t play hard to get. Make it easy and everyone will be so much happier, including you!
Bottom line: If you want media exposure for you and your book do one of three things: Have your email address listed, have a contact page, or if you have a publicist, have their contact information on the media page. You could do all three. It’s up to you.
To your success!
P.S. I am happy to say that we have given away our swag to five of our trusty Savvy Sunday Pros. Congratulations to Ashley Kreyer, Marissa King, Dan Johnson, Mark Peterson, and Kristy Miller. You each have won a free Media Strategy Session. I’ll be in touch with all the details!