Gaining the media’s attention takes more than just issuing a press release. In fact, a press release rarely results in any media attention for you or your book. You must learn how to pitch media for your book promotion to get results for your book sales and your brand building.
That’s not to say a press release isn’t helpful or valuable for marketing. It can generate high-value links back to your website, but it’s not going to land you that podcast appearance or TV interview.
If you’re wondering how to master media pitching that will help you with your book marketing, stick around; this article is for you. And, if you want Book Launchers to help you learn how to pitch yourself and your book, we have a brand new course called ‘Book Marketing Magic Live’ that will give you massive support and momentum with your pitching.
4 Steps to a Successful Media Pitching for Book Promotion
Your book can be a stepping stone to incredible and influential media appearances if you know how to leverage it to get there.
At Book Launchers, we don’t worry about creating one single press release for you to send out across all media outlets in hopes of getting a bite of interest. Why? Because that doesn’t work.
Instead, our marketing team crafts targeted short pitches specific to each outlet and specific to exactly what you and your book can offer that outlet’s audience.
Here’s how you can replicate the media pitching that we do for our authors.
Step#1: Don’t Miss Out on Good Research
You need to find potential media outlets that may be interested in what you can contribute. So, put on your research cap because the first step is conducting research and lots of it.
You’ll want a list of relevant, active, and niche-driven media contacts that publish content within your area of expertise.
Those will bring you more value and success than a giant list of thousands of generic outlets, or worse, a pre-drafted media list that you buy online.
Please don’t waste money on a media list. Your research should begin with checking out who your audience is listening to, reading, or watching.
We’re talking about newspapers, magazines, blogs, radio and TV stations, and podcasts. The Ingram Insights report can be a great resource for starting out:
See if the outlet publishes content relevant to your book. If so, grab the producer’s contact information, usually found in their bio, social media, or somewhere on the outlet’s website.
Collect all of this into a spreadsheet for easy organization and access.
This way, you can also record when you did outreach, and what the angle was, so you have that in one place when you reach out for a second, third, or fourth time to follow up.
Step#2: Craft a Compelling Pitch
Now that you know the people you’d want to reach out to, it’s time to craft a pitch. And this is not a “one pitch fits all.” Customize your pitch based on who you’re pitching.
Are they magazine journalists, podcast hosts, TV hosts, or book reviewers? What topics do they usually cover?
Your pitch needs to highlight how you and your book can help them in their specific audience. Or how it fits in but stands out a little from what the outlet talks typically about.
That means, yep, more research. So keep your research hat on. But now, instead of who you’re targeting, you’re researching what you’re pitching.
No two outlets are the same, even if they’re within the same genre or cover the same type of topics. Kind of like books, right?
I mean, “Game of Thrones” and “Lord of the Rings” might sound like the same thing if you describe them generically.
But every fantasy fan knows that the two are worlds apart, literally. Westeros is probably pretty far away from Middle Earth. You could say the same for non-fiction books, of course.
There are numerous real estate, financial, or memoir non-fiction out there. But what makes each book unique to the audience you’re trying to appeal to?
If you’ve guessed “a hook,” you’re totally right. A well-crafted hook makes your book and pitch stand out.
Individualized pitches tell the outlet why they should care about you. It tells how you can bring value to their outlet. That’s the hook you need when pitching to each media outlet you’ve got your eye on.
When I was in the real estate space, I built a solid relationship with the editors at the Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine. I had read months and months of their back issues.
I knew the tactical, numerical articles they liked. And I knew some of the topics they hadn’t covered that were within the usual stuff they covered.
I sent a pitch to the editor about two articles I could write and why they were perfect for their magazine. I got invited to write one of them.
That got me set up as a regular contributor to their magazine. I was even on the cover of one or two of their issues. I was also a speaker at their events across Canada for many years in a row.
My pitch stood out because I had done a lot of research, and I had an angle that fits what they liked but was just different enough.
So ask yourself: Self, what’s the most compelling angle of your message that a particular audience needs to hear?
Like how you crafted your hook for your book, a successful media pitch highlights a problem the audience faces and the solution you and your messaging provide.
You could even reference another expert in your space that you saw they covered and say something like:
“I saw that you had Eric Brotman featured in Issue 32. He did a great job sharing why retirement can be a new phase of your life versus the end of work. My strategies for choosing a low-cost country to live this new phase of your life could be the perfect angle for your audience. Complete with my detailed research on the three best places in the world to retire to, I can offer tips to make it work with health insurance, finance, and family.”
That’s just an example that I kind of made up. That would be all I would say, along with a one or two-sentence bio about myself.
Getting a successful pitch takes time, and you have to do this research if you want results.
Devote time diving into the outlet’s website and social media. Scroll their past content, and figure out how your stuff can help their audience by solving a problem or adding value to their audience’s life.
When the media contact at that outlet reads your pitch, it should be specific and targeted.
Your contact must see you did the work and took the time to research who they are, their audience, and what they’re looking to give them.
If you present a strong enough hook, they should be able to see just how they can show it to their audience right off the bat.
Bonus tip: Don’t start the pitch off by saying that you’re a big fan if you’re not legitimately a big fan.
The other day, I spoke with a podcaster who says he gets about 40 pitches a week and almost all start off that way.
If you’re legitimately a big fan, you better immediately highlight something specific that proves it, like saying, “Your interview with Sally made me cry. It should come with a tear warning.”
So now that you’ve got the angling, craft the pitch. Keep it short, clear, and direct. Your aim should be a snappy subject line under ten words and a pitch of no more than two paragraphs.
And if two paragraphs seem too short to say what you want, then go back to that part where we talked about hook and messaging.
A hook is called a hook for a reason, even in pitching. It should be one or two sentences max.
Step#3: Attach Your Professional Media Kit
You should always attach a professional media kit to your well-crafted, well-researched email. Include your bio, sample speaking topics, book description, and social media links.
We’ve got a great video on media kits that I’ll put at the end of this article. Be sure also to offer to send them a copy of your book, either physical or digital.
Even if they pass on the pitch, you never know what could happen if they decide to pick up your book anyway. So it never hurts to send a copy if your contact people are interested.
Step#4: Wait Patiently for Your Wins
Step four is all about the waiting game. Yeah. After you send out your pitch, patience is most definitely a virtue. Media pitching is not an overnight thing. It can take weeks or even months to hear back from outlets.
It’s important to remember to keep your chin up and don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back right away.
Our team does a round of outreach, then follow-ups. After that, we do another batch of follow-ups and even more follow-ups. The number of times we have a win come in three to six months after the initial pitch would surprise you, but it doesn’t surprise me anymore.
Give it two weeks, and then follow up with another personalized email. Any sooner, and you risk bothering and annoying or getting sent directly to that dreaded spam folder.
The best wins, though, can come from follow-ups. So do check back in after a couple of weeks.
Carefully considering and crafting each pitch you’re sending can be a process, but it’s worth the time and effort.
All that research and writing may mean that you only get to do 20 pitches this month, but that’s okay.
It’s better to do 20 directed pitches with two to four yeses than throwing away your time and money on pitches that will get you nowhere.
Timing is even more important to keep in mind when it comes to media. Podcast hosts often have a backlog of interviews saved and can be months ahead of scheduling.
If you want media appearances to coincide with your book launch or some other event, you have to start pitching weeks or even months in advance.
It’s also worth noting that a pitch sent in mid-December could get lost in the holidays.
You’re probably better to save it for the second week of January. Or get the pitching at the end of November, unless your pitch is specific to something going on in the world.
Bonus Tip: Always Remain Flexible with Your Time
Bonus tip, it helps to be available and flexible with your time. When it comes to TV spots, you’ll often find out the night before that they’ve invited you for the next day.
Sometimes, even speaking opportunities can be short notice. Very often, interview requests come last minute or on a tight deadline.
People have jobs and commitments, but the media does not wait. If you are not ready, they will move on to the next source.
When a good media opportunity comes up, be flexible with your time to take advantage of it.
Now, deciding when to start your marketing can be challenging, especially when it comes to pitching. This video is worth checking out to know when to jump into marketing mode.
If you want to know the answers to 5 frequently asked Book Marketing Questions, that is right here:
Either way, I would love to hang out more. At Book Launchers, we’ve been through this process many times. If you’re interested in getting us over to help you self-publish, set up a call today!