While a good media appearance may depend upon preparation—knowing the message you intend to convey and understanding how to communicate in a way that reaches listeners on an emotional level, you’ll never get a chance to speak to a radio or television audience if you don’t know how to pitch the media effectively.
My regular guest blogger L. Drew Gerber, CEO of www.PublicityResults.com and creator of www.PitchRate.com, a free service to connect journalists with authors looking for media coverage, today offers five tips for authors who want to pitch television and radio outlets. Keep these in mind when you send a press release or respond to a media request. You’ll find yourself with many media gigs. The more appearances you make on television and radio, the larger your platform will become. The large your platform, the higher the likelihood you’ll have of interesting a traditional publishing house or of selling a lot of books or products.
Five Tips for Authors Who Want to Pitch the Media
By L. Drew Gerber
As a non-fiction writer there’s no doubt you want to land placements on television and radio. You’re the expert, and TV and radio interviews are amazing platforms to share your ideas that will pique the interests of viewers and listeners to increase your readership. But it’s not always easy landing these placements; you’re going to need a strong attention-grabbing pitch. Before you pitch you have to be able to answer these two questions: Why should the media care? And why should the media care now? Once you get those down you’re ready to reach out to the media.
Here are five tips to keep in mind when pitching television and radio outlets:
Know their needs — TV is constantly looking for good visuals and a story that can be told succinctly in sound bites. They’re also looking for people who are articulate and comfortable on camera for its short, fast-paced segments. Radio stations that produce their own programming typically do it with limited staffs and appreciate guidance when it comes to interviewing subjects. An exception may be some nationally syndicated talk radio and call-in shows that derive their entertainment value from stirring the pot on mainly political topics. Most radio programs that focus on “news you can use” in the areas of health, wealth and relationships, however, will value background you can provide on your expertise.
Local outlets — Morning and noon news shows of local TV stations and local radios talk shows are always looking for interesting people, businesses and topics that relate to their audience’s interest in the universal topics of health, wealth and love with a local tie-in.
National outlets — If you want national media coverage, the first and most important rule is to watch the news to keep abreast of breaking news and to constantly ask what you can add to the news from your viewpoint or area of expertise.
Read magazines and newspapers — Before you pitch television and radio producers you need to get a pulse on what’s important to them and what they’re interested in. The media serves an audience and you have to serve the media by giving them what their audience wants. So pick up the newspapers and magazines your ideal reader might subscribe to and try to get a grasp on what interests them; then pitch the television and radio outlets your ideal reader listens to and watches.
Timing is Everything — Radio and television producers prefer a day’s notice on breaking news, but are set up to respond within minutes or hours to true breaking news. Be sure to give them four weeks on seasonal or non-breaking news.
The main thing you want to remember when pitching all types of media is to always stay abreast of what’s breaking in the news and tie it into your pitches accordingly. Whether seasonal or breaking, you have to make your pitch relevant and you have to research the media outlets where your ideal readers get their information if you really want to use radio and television as platforms to catapult you and your book to the next level of success.
About the Author
L. Drew Gerber is CEO of www.PublicityResults.com and creator of www.PitchRate.com, a free service to connect journalists with authors looking for media coverage. Sign up now for free publicity advice including a free online marketing course. Gerber’s business practices and staffing innovations have been revered by PR Week, Good Morning America and the Christian Science Monitor. His companies handle international PR campaigns and his staff develops online press kits for authors, speakers and companies with Online PressKit 24/7, a technology he developed (www.PressKit247.com). Contact L. Drew Gerber at: AskDrew@PublicityResults.com or call him at 828-749-3548.