photo by akrobat77
by Dana Lynn Smith
Whether you are pitching a feature story to a print or online publication, or a segment on a radio or television talk show, your book publicity efforts will be more effective if you plan in advance and approach the media the right way.
First, do your research. Find the right contact person and understand the audience that the media outlet reaches, their style, and what type of content they normally use. Don't waste your time on media outlets that aren't a good fit.
To research publications, check their website, use the magazine database at Wooden Horse Publishing, or contact the reference desk at your public library and ask what kind of media directories are available. Large libraries usually subscribe to at least one media directory and they may have it available on online for cardholders.
For television talk shows and most broadcast radio shows, you should be contacting the show's producer, not the host. You can often find information about broadcast media online. For tips on researching radio talk shows, see this article.
Next, you need to write a good pitch letter. Keep it brief and to the point, but strive to be interesting. Focus on the needs of the media—they are interested in pleasing their audience, not promoting your book. Bullet points make it easier for busy editors and producers to scan. Here are some points to cover:
· Open with something to grab their attention, like a startling fact or statistic.
· Offer an article or talk show segment that will solve a problem for their audience (make them smarter, richer, thinner, happier) or entertain them (or make them laugh or cry). If you're pitching a television show, mention any visual aids you can provide.
· Briefly explain why their audience will care about the topic you are proposing. Why is this story a good fit for their particular audience?
· Show that you are qualified to write or speak about this topic. State your credentials in just one or two sentences, then briefly mention other major media coverage/experience you have had.
· Close with an invitation to visit your media room or website for more information.
These days, most book publicity communication is sent by email, but you might try using postal mail to stand out from the crowd. However you contact the media, keep your communication concise and benefit oriented.
Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of the Savvy Book Marketer Guides. For more book marketing tips, follow BookMarketer on Twitter and get Dana's free Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you visit her book marketing blog.