Are you prepared for the media to call you? If you’re not, you should be. Pitching is great, but if you’re not ready when the call finally comes in, it is really just a wasted effort. Most authors go about their routine of sending press releases, e-mailing pitches or mailing books, but they’re unprepared for the caller that says, “Yes, I’d like to interview you for a story I’m doing.” Most likely the interviewer is calling several people; being prepared will give you a leg up on the competition.
As thorough as you’re being in your pitch to them, you’ll need to be equally thorough when they call you. The first step is to keep a file close at hand with a list of places you’ve pitched and the angle you’ve given them. Most reporters won’t take the time to reconfirm the slant you took or the ideas you offered; having this handy will give the impression of someone who is on top of their media campaign. Taking the time to dig or reconstruct this information is unprofessional and will reflect badly on you.
Next, have all your tip sheets handy. If you didn’t submit tips to the media in your pitch (and even if you did), you’ll want to offer these to the person interviewing you. Its also important to keep up with current events that might add a new twist to your topic. When relevant to your industry, it’s also a good idea to stay up to date with new research that might shed some additional light on your subject matter. Also, keep a list of other experts in your field to help the reporter or producer flesh out a story. If you do your homework, they won’t need to call anyone else, but in case they do, have this information handy, especially if they can offer a different perspective than yours. Remember, it’s the medias job to offer all sides of the story. Keep in mind that this is not just about getting them the information they need, but also ingratiating yourself to the media and becoming their No. 1 contact for this particular topic. Be generous. The more you can help them do their job, the better an interview will go, and the chances are very likely you’ll get called on again.
Be courteous of their time and be aware of their deadlines. If they need to see a copy of your book and they’re local, offer to drop it off. If they aren’t local, do whatever you can to get the book to them on time, even if this means incurring overnight mailing fees. The more you can help them enhance their segment or print piece, the more time or “ink” you might get. Also, if there are pictures or digital files related to your subject matter, make sure you have them handy and can e-mail them with a few clicks of a mouse. It’s tedious and time-consuming to have to scan these first (or have them scanned) before they are in a format that can be quickly transferred from interviewee to the reporter.
I tested these ideas a couple of years ago when the San Diego Union Tribune contacted me to ask me one question about my topic. Because I had everything ready and was able to update them on new developments, this one question turned into a front-page story. When it comes to the media, be a Boy Scout: Be prepared, or be prepared to give up a story to someone who is.
About the author:
Penny C. Sansevieri
The Cliffhanger was published in June of 2000. After a strategic marketing campaign it quickly climbed
the ranks at Amazon.com to the ##1 best selling book in San Diego. Her most recent book: From Book to Bestseller was released in 2005 to rave reviews and is being called the roadmap to publishing success. Penny is a book marketing and media relations specialist. She also coaches authors on projects, manuscripts and marketing plans and instructs a variety of coursing on publishing and promotion. To learn more about her books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.amarketingexpert.comTo subscribe to her free ezine, send a blank email to: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright ã 2005 Penny C. Sansevieri