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on-air5 Tips for Getting Yourself Booked in the Media

 

Doing media interviews is a great way to create brand awareness, direct people to your website, and make sales. It is an opportunity to spread your message to a large audience and it can position you as a thought leader in your specific industry. Many clients ask what our secret is to securing media interviews. The truth is…there is not one specific secret, there are many tricks of the trade.

We interviewed our team of media relations specialists and compiled a list of the best tips and tricks for booking interviews.  Here is what they said:

1. Create a Captivating Pitch & Headline

headline
Successful pitches are topical and newsworthy. They fit in to timely events, and brevity is key (think about newspaper headlines.)

Simply telling your story and/or promoting your product may be your end goal but it is not the best technique when it comes to pitch writing. Pitches like this often have little traction with the media because they come off salesy and flat. A better angle is to pose yourself as an expert giving advice.

“One of the strongest campaigns I’ve worked on was a Valentine’s Day pitch for author, Carew Papritz,” says Alyssa Longo, media relations specialist. “Instead of leading with his book, The Legacy Letters, we posed him as a letter-writing expert and he gave tips for crafting the perfect love note.”

Remember, promoting your material, book, product etc. comes during the interview, not during the pitch.

2. Use Multiple Modes of Communication

communication

Some editors and producers respond best to email, others will accept phone calls, and some are glued to their twitter accounts. Which method of communication is best? Everything! Formatting your message to fit multiple channels of distribution (meaning email, phone, social media, and post) gives you an opportunity to get in front of more people. Create an email version of your pitch that you can easily customize for different outlets or a more general pitch that you can send out to your network via a CRM service like Constant Contact. Have a 15 second elevator pitch already created so you hit the main points immediately when speaking on the phone. Create a flyer in Microsoft Word and print physical mailers to send to your local news station.  Find the reporters on twitter and send them messages.  The idea is to get your message in front of as many people possible.

 

3. Ask the Right Questions

questions

Interacting with the media can be stressful and having good communication is important. Asking the right questions can take you a long way and make the difference between a securing a booking or getting hung up on.

“When I am pitching the media, I always ask for the person’s name, email and ask when is the best time to follow up,” says Andrea Zakel, media relations specialist.

If you are calling a radio station, national TV show, or publishing house you will likely get an operator. If you don’t know who to speak with ask who is in charge of booking media interviews.  If you are calling news stations, ask to speak to someone in the news room.

 

4. Split Test Your Message

split-test

Media feedback is important but a negative response from an outlet doesn’t mean your pitch is bad.  Before changing your angle entirely, try making little changes to your script (for phone pitching) or  headline (email pitching.) Give your pitch a few weeks before changing it up, but if you are not getting the response you want, try a split test that compares different versions of your pitch.  Keep track of which garnered the best response.

 

5. Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up!!

girl-on-phone

Producers, editors and journalists have a lot on their plate.  Don’t assume that they will call you back even if they said they will.

“I start by sending a mass eblast, then I call to follow up by phone.  I also send an individual email immediately following the phone call with a little note at the top recapping what was just said,” says Mickey Dunning, media relations expert.  “You need to make as many touches as possible.”

In order to stay top of mind you need to follow up regularly.

Follow up by phone, follow up by email.  Once a week is not too much.

Want to know what the media will think of your pitch? 

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