Not long ago I wrote a post about building author platform by pitching yourself to the media. However, you can pitch until you are blue in the face and not get anywhere if you don’t know how to pitch. In this post, my regular guest blogger, L. Drew Gerber, CEO of www.PublicityResults.com and creator of www.PitchRate.com, offers some great advice on how to get the media’s attention when you pitch. This advice is as pertinent for aspiring authors as for established authors—or for anyone—wanting media attention
If you think I harp too much on building platform, take note: Next to the promotion section, the most important parts of a nonfiction book proposal is the author’s platform section. Even if you don’t plan on traditionally publishing your book, your platform constitutes your ability to sell your book.
A platform equates to how many people know you, have heard of you, follow you through your social networks, subscribe to your mailing list, read your blogs, etc., and will, therefore, purchase you book. So, you must build platform—and media coverage provides a wonderful way to accomplish this.
Most of the book proposals I see—and that agents see—have skimpy or nonexistent platform sections. While you can build your platform post-publication, this means your sales will be slow at the beginning of your book’s life. That’s not the best-case scenario. You want sales to be fast and furious upon release. That takes a strong platform built months—actually years—prior to your book’s release. So, start now! Listen to what Drew has to say.
Pitching for Perfect Coverage
By L. Drew Gerber
I know how frustrating it is when the media doesn’t notice you, even though you know you’re exactly who they’re looking for. I’ll let you in on a little secret though: You have what the media wants and they want you too. But there’s a problem — the media is distracted. They’re receiving countless pitches every day from publicity seekers looking to deliver their message to vast audiences so they can take their business to the next level with media coverage. So what do you do to make your pitch stand out, so you’re the one shining in the limelight?
The most important words you write in your emailed pitch are your subject line and the first few words the media see when they open your email. Of course they are not going to even think about opening your email if it has no subject line or if the subject line looks like spam.
Media flooded with hundreds of emails each day will often use search terms to go through their inboxes and find email that relates to major stories they are working on. So your subject line has to hook them with something engaging, interesting and valuable. You can do this by putting the most relevant keyword(s) in brackets in the subject line of your email to the media. If it’s tied to breaking news, put the news item in brackets. For example, when new unemployment numbers are released, the media will always be covering it whether it dropped or increased. Use brackets and begin your subject line with something like this: [New Unemployment Numbers]… The journalist or editor will instantly know whether your email is relevant or not to their needs.
After you’ve hooked the media, provide value. Your email has been opened, and now you’re delivering your message. Keep it simple, clear and to the point. There’s no reason to have more than three sentences here. Stay focused.
Then, you’re going to prove your worthiness and give examples of how you’re a credible source and how you can provide a new, fresh and relevant perspective to share with their audience. What makes you unique? Why should they care? And why should they care now?
End your pitch with all your contact info. Email, cell phone, land line, IM id, anything you can think of that you check regularly. You have to respond immediately if the media gets back to you. No making them wait. This isn’t a situation where playing hard to get is going to work in your favor. They’re on deadline and will call someone else if you don’t respond promptly. In fact, they were almost certainly trying to reach other sources when they returned your call or email!
About the Author
L. Drew Gerber is CEO of www.PublicityResults.com and creator of www.PitchRate.com, a free media connection service for journalists, experts, and publicists. 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.