How to Get the Media’s Attention

By Peg Booth

If you’re an author, whether you are working with a publicist or not, it’s very important to keep in mind that part of your success is being able to answer the who, what, why, when and how for the media and its listener base.

We’re all curious about the latest trends, breaking news, innovations, interesting and unique people or products – and the media is exactly the same way. Imagine creating a new trend with your book or ideas. Imagine giving the media a brand new angle for coverage of a saturated topic.

Creativity is key to providing the unique news-hook for your book or your platform so that the media wants to feature you. Authors must think about how their book applies to the hot issues of the day – it’s a constant and ever-changing focus. One of the basic questions to ask is, “Is my story relatable? Does my story tap into something that people are worried about or an issue that might be controversial?”

For instance, some very prevalent issues as I write this column are the environment, the economy, civil unrest and war in parts of the world, the family crisis in terms of parenting and stresses on family, diets and healthful living. Each day a new opportunity presents itself to pitch your story forward in a meaningful and news-worthy fashion.

Think how you can be part of the news discussion almost in real-time, as it is happening. Don’t discount your opinion and how it might be valuable to many other associated topic interviews beyond your book.
Whether it’s hard-hitting news interviews or feature pieces, the key for you is to be able to successfully tie-in these larger issues to your book or your platform, and speak effectively on those when you are tapped by the media.

Reporters and media need credible sources, and you are the best possible source for them as long as you’re well-versed in your topic area and you are armed with verifiable facts.

The media is counting on you to be the expert, to elevate the discussion and help everyone progress to a deeper understanding of the topic or subject manner. If you think of several different angles for the story, this will help you in creating something unique from your expert perspective.

Asking questions is crucial to this practice. Who is important in this story? How will my interview impact the listeners, and why should they absolutely be listening? How can I effect change in their lives through this interview?

The media aims to establish significance of any story for their listener base, and they rely on their guests to help them do that. The more a news story applies to current events and topics, or is relevant to the listener community at large, the more opportunity and success you’ll have to be a featured expert.

5 PR Myths You Must Not Believe

By Peg Booth
Founder of Booth Media Group

There are many benefits to using public relations to empower your book’s profile both off and on the web. It is up to you as well as your PR firm to collaborate on your media efforts in order to ensure the best possible messaging and pickup. A good PR firm does not ever employ a one-size fits all PR strategy and it’s very important that an author get rid of the five PR myths below right from the beginning.

Myth #1: PR is the same as advertising.
– Advertising is a bought message, it involves paid placement and a very sales-focused message. PR campaigns are consistently fluid and dynamic and involve working with news and print media to successfully communicate the best possible news tie-ins, information and news hooks in relation to the book’s topic.

Myth #2: To get significant PR coverage all you need is a press release.
– Nothing could be further from the truth. A press release is just one part of reaching out to the media. More significant aspects to PR are the follow-up calls and news hook tie-ins that your publicist is pitching to show producers and editors daily.

Myth #3: It’s easy to get booked on television or radio shows, all my PR firm has to do is just pick up the phone and make one call.
– Getting an author booked on a major show can take hours of pitching and positioning the client as a perfect guest for the show. The media receives literally thousands of pitches a day through email, phone, and by mail. The really popular shows receive up to 500+ press kits or press releases a week.

Myth #4: PR placements should happen quickly.
– It’s vital to understand that PR is a long process of creating a relevant story pitch the media wants and needs to cover. PR is a long-term process of developing relationships, not a short-term pitching effort. It can take several months for pitches to reach their fullest efficacy and get a journalist’s attention.

Myth #5: PR is about pitching the book.
– It’s about pitching the news hook. Every pitch to producers should have a hook to a news story. A dramatic hook. A game-changing hook. A new way of looking at things as never before.

In our fifteen-year history of pitching clients like John Perkins, Greg Palast, Annette Sym, Bernie Siegel, Ken Blanchard and others we’ve also discovered a couple other tips directly from producers we’ve worked with. Here are our favorites:

TIP 1: Don’t pretend you know the producer. Don’t establish casual familiarity when there is none. Don’t pretend as though the producer knows you personally and will therefore approve your pitch. And don’t take advantage of relationships you may have with producers, even ones that date back years, by pitching everything and the bath water to them.

TIP 2: Keep your pitches as succinct as possible. Get it down to 30 seconds. Too often people think pitches need to be lengthy and cover every possible aspect of the book or author’s expertise. If you’re one of them, you might be surprised to find that producers think you’re wasting too much of their valuable time. A producer or writer will love it when you get to the point in the first sentence of your call or very first paragraph of your short email.