When it comes to publicity, timing is everything.
This has been quite an amazing week having just survived a challenging (and sometimes nasty) election season, topped off with some unexpected results. No matter which side of the aisle you’re on, there were some big surprises.
Early in the day on November 8th, I made this post on Facebook:
“It’s big news days like Election Day that make me miss being in broadcasting. Every moment a deadline. Continuously on. You work from very early until very late either as a news person or doing cut-ins to all those in the field. Loved it. And, I was lucky to work with some of the best.”
Then I went on to name many of the competent and talented news people I’ve worked with over the years, who know how to get an accurate story on the air with continuous updates.
Something you should know:
When it comes to big, breaking news, whether it’s election results, tornadoes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, or what have you, breaking news is breaking news and it trumps (pardon the pun) everything. That becomes the only story. So, if you have a campaign for your book or business that you want to get publicity for, if there is big news breaking, you’re going to have to wait.
If your topic or story ties directly into the news hook, then it’s actually an opportunity for you. However, even if that’s the case, you must use your best judgment. When news first breaks, journalists, editors and producers are just trying to get the story on the air. This is not the best time to pitch them another angle. If you have a secondary story, wait.
For example: One of my clients is Rabbi Daniel Cohen. The day BEFORE the election there were discussions about having him appear on CNN for a segment on how to heal from the divisiveness this election created. That works. But notice it wouldn’t work to pitch them on election day because media is just trying to get the story on the air. They’d be too busy to listen, and you would come across as an amateur. “Why is this person pitching us now? Don’t they realize we have breaking new!?” Rabbi Cohen’s pitch was sent the day before the election as an FYI on what could be discussed afterward. Another option is to pitch the day after when most of the breaking news has been covered and media is looking for follow up stories and angles. Timing is everything.
The point is:
When the story breaks is exactly when NOT to pitch media. Instead, take a break. Work on other things.
If you’re in the green room all set to be on a televised segment, be aware that you may be bumped due to breaking news. If that happens to you, all you can do is be gracious and ask if you follow up and reschedule. They will say, “Of course” because they may feel guilty for canceling your segment, but be sure to follow up as soon as it’s appropriate. I have found these cancellations to be the most challenging to rebook. I think it’s because after so much time has passed (even if it’s only a couple of days), the idea may now seem stale. Be thinking about how you might be able to freshen up your pitch by tweaking it with a new angle or some new tips when you follow up to reschedule.
Of course, none of this applies to any media outlets or bloggers or podcasters that don’t cover hard news. If you have a book on training squirrels and you’re pitching Animal Planet, they may not care about the 2016 election.
Oh, and let’s connect socially if we haven’t already.
To your success!