Every day I get asked, “How can I get great coverage for my…” (insert one of the following…book, product, service or business) “…How do you find the right media to approach? Once you do, how do you talk to them? What do you send them? What exactly is a pitch? What is a good pitch?” These are all excellent questions and here is the secret…
…Are you ready?…
…Remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Do you like being inundated with email from someone who clearly doesn’t know who you are or what you’re about?Do you like it when people ask for big favors without building any social capital with you first?
Of course not. Media is the same way. Take the time to research and figure out who would be interested in interviewing you. Then connect with them on social media. Twitter is great for this because it doesn’t require sending an invitation to connect. You can simply follow them. Do that, and pay attention to what they share. Retweet their stories. Add to the conversation on their blog if it’s your area of expertise. This helps you to get on their radar screen. Then, it may be time to reach out and see if they’re interested in what you have to offer.
Another reality to keep in mind is how busy everyone is. I mean, you know how busy you are, right? Well, imagine the number of emails in your inbox and multiply that by 50 each day? Maybe more. For media, particularly top-tier media, it’s a deluge from morning till night. With so many people vying for their time, how do you think they respond?
Think of your own response to too much email. What do you do? Do you get ruthless about who gets your attention and who gets tossed into the trash can immediately? Media gets very good at ignoring and deleting what is boring, mediocre or is clearly misdirected.
Therefore, you must find a way to stand out.
After you have done your research as to who would be interested in your topic, make sure you understand what they like to write about, their general tone, and approach them in the way they want to be contacted. It really is very easy, but here is the rub:
It takes time.
In our quick, I want it right away, hyper-connected world, taking time is the last thing we want to do.
However, if you want to be successful, try this: If you’re going to approach a particular podcaster, then listen to some of his or her shows. Who do they like to interview? Do they even have guests on the show? Not all of them do, so it wouldn’t make sense to pitch a segment with them. If there’s a journalist you want to approach, read several of their columns. When you do reach out to them, describe something they wrote that impacted you and tell them why. Yes, it takes time, and it is time well spent because you may be making your new best contact, and it just may lead to that wonderful coverage you desire. It makes you stand out because so many are unwilling to take the time to do this.
To find media, here are a number of different strategies you can use.
1. You can do Google searches. However, sometimes finding contact information other than a Twitter handle can be challenging.
2. You can investigate your niche mates and see who they have done interviews with. They are likely possibilities for you.
3. Media databases contain all kinds of contact information, including email addresses, social media platforms, phone numbers (yes, sometimes the phone is still a good way to go), in addition to their social power and how big of a following they have. One caveat: Those media databases are not cheap.
As for what to send, here is the thing. It was a mantra during my days in radio and it applies here now:
Less is More.
It may be tempting to email over everything you have on your subject, oh, and attach the electronic version of your book too, but I highly suggest you forget that. Too much is too much. No one has time and no one is going to take the time.
Keep it short. Sweet. Succinct. Relevant. To the point. Compelling.
Remember two of my favorite mantras: “Do unto others…” and “Less is More”
Above and beyond everything, it takes research, persistence and adjusting when you get feedback. If you have a timely subject and a good hook, plus you find the right journalists or producers who cover your topic, you will find success. Keep going. And remember, you can always take my How Media Savvy are you Quiz to get an idea of just how much you already know (and what you can learn a little more about.) with regard to media.
To your success,