Making Yourself Useful to the Media

Beneath the Cover, publishing, marketing, writing a book, platform, gravity wellThe media is still important for you in finding an audience for your book.

Once you’ve learned as much as possible about the key journalists who cover your area of expertise, write a simple email, not self-serving, to the journalist or blogger who has written on that subject. Demonstrate in your email that you have a deep understanding of the subject by expanding on something he or she has written, offering additional information, perhaps, or further perspective. You might even politely disagree or bring up other relevant issues that you believe the writer didn’t address.

If the journalist or blogger doesn’t respond to your email, write another when he or she has written another story that touches on your subject area. (Don’t be too insistent about a lack of response; such a lack is often the result of someone’s being too busy to respond.) This time, you might make a further suggestion or recommendation. Offer the writer some information that might find its way into future stories, or suggest where such information can be found.

Remember: you are not the story. Your goal is to become a source for stories that the journalist or blogger is writing. This way, instead of attempting to sell your story to the journalists the way everyone else has been (by emphasizing how they deserve attention for their ideas), you give something unique and helpful to the writer.

To be a good source, however, you have to be quotable and accessible to the journalists and bloggers. When someone faces a fast-approaching deadline, you want that person to call you for a quick quote. If you are not available when a journalist needs a good source, eventually that writer will find someone else who’s quick to respond to questions. Again, this is about the need of the journalist or blogger not you: but you will benefit from the journalist or bloggers interest in your expertise.

We’ll continue with how to get noticed by journalists in our next few posts.

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