Getting the news media to pay attention to you can depend on no less than a dozen factors – from contacting the right person at the right media outlet, to timing, newsworthiness, popularity of the topic, credentials of the spokesperson, the needs and desires of the media, etc. But one thing that needs to fall into place in order to register some media exposure is a catchy pitch.
A pitch can be a 15-second verbal explosion out of your mouth. It can be a targeted e-mail. It can be a press release. Whatever form it’s in, it has to spark an idea, generate curiosity, and come off as intriguing. Saying what others say won’t separate you from the masses. You will need to generate a phrase or a word that makes them think, feel, laugh, or question things.
It may need to be sarcastic or declarative or outrageous. It shall need to tie into something big, famous, or important. It should feel like news even when it’s not. And it must sound timely and immediate – the media likes to have a deadline to beat. Above all, the pitch has to pique their curiosity enough to ask for more information and a copy of your book. You just need to hook them in -- and then you can close the deal.
So what will impress the media? Different things will impress different people. One reporter may want an entertainment angle, while one needs a health theme to the story. Some people and books could very well appeal to multiple types of media beats.
Whatever you come up with, keep trying. Once you hear something that sounds edgy, look to build on it. The pitch may come to you quickly but it still may need to be played with. The substitution, addition, or deletion of even a single word can make all the difference in how the media receives you.
First, determine the tone – will you use deeply serious, confrontational, demanding, questioning, or other?
Second, decide if you lead with credentials or the subject – “bestselling author Joe blow says blah,blah” or “Economy may rise by double-digits in 2016, says professor Joe Blow in a new book.”
Third, if you use humor, how outrageous will you be? How will you know that people understand the wit?
Fourth, determine the length of the pitch-- shorter is better.
Fifth, which words can be changed so as to give the pitch a certain feel – perhaps an intellectual voice works or maybe go for athlete speak or perhaps it’s the voice of the victim or that of the small businessman. Determine how you shall be seen.
Sixth, think about how to tune your pitch to the news cycle of the day/week, calendar events, or stuff that is in the news now.
Lastly, whatever pitch you have, see if you can tweak it and make it better. You are competing not just with yourself – but the pitches of millions of others.
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. All material is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2012.