Dear Savvy Pro:
The story is changing daily.
I know it’s hard to watch the news day after day after day about Coronavirus and COVID-19, not to mention recent breaking news stories in Minneapolis and elsewhere. Staying up on current events can be exhausting.
If you’re an author who is looking for media coverage right now, one of two things may be happening:
- Coverage for you may be on pause as the news cycle handles the top stories of the day and you have no way to tie into it.
- Your subject may tie into the news of the day, and you are in a position to speak to some of those news stories.
The important key to remember is that these stories change on a daily, and sometimes an hourly basis and you need to stay on top of it if you want to jump into the game. Now, I know it may SEEM like the story never changes, but I assure you it does. It may be subtle, but extremely important nonetheless. A pitch that may have worked a few days ago, may not work today, and the only way to know this is to be paying attention. Otherwise, if you pitch an old angle, you’re going to look out of touch.
One example of this is from a client with a book on self care — REAL self care, not the fluffy, fun kind, e.g., getting regular pedicures, but the self care needed when faced with real-life situations, like the difficulties that can come up when you’re quarantined in a house with a partner who may not be very nice. She says real self care is saying no when you need to and making changes when necessary.
Now that states are opening up, that particular topic doesn’t work as well because the “feel” of the country is changing. While many individuals are still staying close to home, there are a lot of people who are getting out and about and enjoying some freedom again. They aren’t interested in hearing about self care so much. They’re more interested in a return to normal and feeling happy and good again. Can you speak to this? That is the question to be asking yourself, by the way: Can you speak to whatever is happening in the moment, and do you have the credentials to do so?
An idea that worked for the past two months, may not fly now. The way you know this is by the response you get when pitching it. If it doesn’t work, you’ll be told no, or you’ll be ignored.
Staying up-to-date on what media is looking for is a combination of paying attention to the current feel of the news, and projecting ahead to a story angle that will be compelling in the near future. This requires staying informed and being creative.
I remember at the very beginning of this in early March, I had a close friend start hosting virtual cocktails parties every Thursday. It was a great idea . . . then. But now? Ho hum. Everyone’s been doing that or something similar for a while now. It had its day. Your job is to find the next thing if you want to be a part of the current news cycle.
And by the way, staying-up-to-date doesn’t mean you must have cable news running in the background at all times (though some PR pros do), but if you are inclined to tune out the news because it’s depressing and doesn’t seem to have any direct relevance to your work, you will miss out on the timing of when to speak up so that you can get some coverage.
You want to be informed. You want to be able to figure out where you can fit in by listening to the stories of the day and assessing the mood of the country. In addition, you want to do this without being completely sucked in and becoming addicted to all news, all the time.
It’s an art. I see you being able to do it. 🙂
To your success!
P.S. As things continue to open up across the country, and wherever you stand on the issues of the day, take care of yourself and those you love. Be safe.