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  • Jerome Cleary

9 Strategies To Get Your Story Covered

Updated: Feb 26

 



1.    Think like a journalist: This is probably the most important and the most difficult. When I say "think like a journalist" what I mean is thinking objectively and not thinking about yourself, your book, or your pitch because those don't matter. The only thing a journalist cares about is "Will this interest my readers or viewers." If you can work using that objectivity, you'll gain greater access to media, both online and off, than you could have ever imagined.

 

2.    Know the rules: When I say rules, I mean not just the rules of your industry but the rules of pitching. When to pitch, who to pitch, how to pitch. A good publicist knows this, updates their information constantly (because media changes, moves, etc.), and lives and dies by these rules. Why? Get a reporter angry and you'll see what I mean. Turn in a story late and see how much media coverage you end up getting. A lot of authors think they are special and different, and the rules don't apply to them. Yes, you are special and different, and yes, the rules still apply to you.

 

3.    Read outside of your market: They say that, eventually, everything ties into everything. This may or may not be true for all industries, but when it comes to promotion, you'd be surprised how much a ripple over there can affect what you're doing here. Reading outside of your market, mostly related to changes affecting other markets, serves a couple of purposes. First, the importance of creativity when you're pitching can't be overstated, and sometimes to be creative, you must look through your world using a different lens. By digging into and outside of your market, you'll be able to gain access to information that could affect your message long-term, or perhaps give your brain enough juice and insight to bring a new set of ideas that will create some great pitches.

 

4.    Google Alerts: You can't possibly follow every thread of discussion around your topic, or know where and when it's being covered, but you do need to stay up on all of it; that's where Google Alerts comes in. Yes, there are more elaborate tracking services, but Google Alerts is a great way to know when and where your topic is being featured. Also important, you'll see who's getting quoted and which media is covering your industry.

 

5.    Understand the importance of local media: Many times, clients want to overlook local media. It's not as glamorous or as big as national media. Well, that may be true but there's gold in your backyard. We love local campaigns and local media loves their regional "celebrities." If you haven't done a local outreach, you should. Additionally, network with local media by going to media events like Press Clubs (which anyone can register for). You never know where this will lead you, and you never know where your local contact may wind up on the media food chain. Years ago, I worked with a producer for a local (small) Los Angeles station. We stayed in touch over the years and now she's one of the head producers at CNN.

 

6.    Local vs. National: Speaking of local publicity -- local media loves a local angle on a national story. If you can hook your book into something that's going on nationally, then I suggest you pitch it to your local market. Good publicity people are always on the lookout for regional tie-ins, they make for great media.

 

7.    Media leads: I subscribe to several media leads services and I scan them, not just for existing clients, but to note trends nationally. Doing a quick scan of leads is a fantastic way to see what's piquing the media’s interest. As you start doing that, you will also find that you're responding to more and more stories because you're starting to see tie-ins that you may not have seen previously (which is helped along by number 3).

 

8.    Realize the importance of a subject line: I know that the topic of subject lines in email pitching has been covered, but I can't state enough how important it is or how much time a good publicist can spend agonizing over it. Don't just willy-nilly point and click your way through your media pitching -- subject lines are extremely significant, and most publicity people I know spend a lot of time crafting, redrafting, editing, and tweaking them. You should, too.

 

9.    It's all about relationships: Once you start getting media, remember that staying in touch with the person who interviewed you is important. Find them on LinkedIn, thank them for the story they did on you and then stay in touch a few times a year. Perhaps you can comment on a story they did or send them a quick update or a copy of your latest book. If you can become a reliable media source for someone, you'll likely always be in their contacts even when they move on. Just like the example I gave above, media can move, and if you're lucky, your information will keep moving with them.


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