Promoting your new book or product? Do you want your local media to talk about your event, business or cause? Here are 4 tips from a writer/radio host who gets pitched to all the time:
1. Never send a press release as an attachment. These get dumped without even opening the email.
2. Take the time to personalize your pitch. In these days when email programs show the first couple of lines of your message, the ones that start with “Hi All!” or “Dear Friends” don’t get opened. If I opened every email that begins in a general way it would take me all day. Most of these generally addressed messages aren’t for books/products that are appropriate for my show/articles in the first place. Quickly demonstrate the ways that your book/product is right for their audience. Although it’s always best to send a personal pitch, your opening doesn’t have to include a name…even something like “Dear Gardening Show Host” would make my cut.
3. Keep it brief. The old show-business maxim applies: always leave them wanting more. Put the most important information up top. Next give three or four attention-grabbing pieces of information. Finally, supply links and contact information. Remember that media types are likely to receive over 100 emails a day, and they need some way of quickly filtering what comes in. Make it easy for them and they’ll be more likely to help you too.
4. Don’t overlook the visuals. Just because you’re pitching something to a radio host doesn’t mean that a powerful image won’t be effective. It’s a visual world, so including an appropriate image or two is another way to snag the recipient’s attention. Again, don’t send this as an attachment, and make sure it’s a picture that is appropriate to the audience you’re pitching to.
Final point especially for new authors and those who are self-publishing. Never tell yourself “If they’re interested they’ll contact me.” Yes, if they stumble on your work you might get a call or email…but don’t assume that others are already aware of your book or product. Send out announcements and press releases. Offer review copies. If you don’t build it, they won’t come.