Becoming an author is an incredible accomplishment, but your work isn’t done once you’ve approved the final files for your book. Next on the agenda? Marketing! One of the most crucial aspects of your book promotion strategy is media coverage. Crafting a standout media pitch is the cornerstone of earning media coverage for your book, but what exactly does that entail? Here’s a guide to help you through this process.
Three Vital Components
First, let’s start with a general overview. Creating an exceptional media pitch that helps you stand out among the crowd boils down to three vital components:
Clarity: Your pitch should directly answer the essential questions: Who are you? What’s the essence of your book? How does it address the audience’s needs or problems?
Conciseness: Make it short and sweet. You’ll be sending many pitches, and the people you’re contacting will be reading even more. So keep it brief but impactful.
Personalization: The heart of personalization lies in truly understanding your audience. Imagine you’re making a recommendation to a close friend. You’d tailor it to their interests and preferences, right? Similarly, research the journalist or media outlet you’re pitching to. Find ways to demonstrate that you understand who they are and what resonates with their audience.
Your research will enable you to create all the crucial pieces of an effective pitch, from an alluring “hook” that piques the reader’s interest to a memorable conclusion that prompts action—and everything in between.
Crafting a Successful Hook
Let’s go into more detail about how to grab people right away in the introduction of your pitch. A captivating hook is like the opening scene of a gripping novel—it draws readers in.
When looking for a compelling angle for your media pitch, there are a few different routes you can take. As discussed, the first is establishing relevance to the journalist or outlet you’re pitching to. to find examples of previous content they’ve published that’s similar to your book. Forge that connection by mentioning how much you enjoyed that article as a reader yourself and why others would like to read about your book. It might be as simple as one sentence with a link.
The next strategy won’t always work but will be incredibly effective when it does. Consider the timing of your pitch. Timing is everything in the media landscape. So connect your pitch to timely topics or current events whenever possible. This not only highlights your expertise as an author but shows just how relevant and important your book is. Even if you can’t immediately find anything going on that has to do with your book’s subject matter, don’t give up—dig deep. You might be surprised by the connections you can make.
For example, a self-help book with career strategies may not feel like the hottest topic, as books like this are “evergreen,” or always relevant. However, scroll through LinkedIn for a few minutes. You may come across a new business initiative, an announcement from big platforms like Google or Apple, tips for work-life balance, or an update about new technologies that are constantly evolving, like AI. Any one of these things may pertain to your book, and the quicker you can mention them, the more timely your pitch will become.
Finally, the last strategy is to establish uniqueness. Underscore what sets your book apart from others in the same genre. Whether it’s a unique perspective, extensive research, or a fresh take on a common topic, showcasing what makes your book special can be the key to capturing the media’s attention and securing coverage.
To make your pitch feel like a must-publish, try showing off what makes you or your book different to others in the genre. Maybe you have something quirky on your résumé, such as a job you had that informed your outlook on life. Or maybe your book was written to fill a specific need in the marketplace that nobody else seemed to be covering. You know your book is special, so share why it is.
Any of these methods can result in a hook that grabs readers. But now that you’ve captured their attention, you have to hold it. Let’s talk about what else to include in your pitch.
The Meat of Your Pitch
After your hook, provide a clear statement that shows the value you’ll provide to the audience. Highlight the problems you solve or the key takeaways in your book that would be useful for their audience. Establish yourself as an expert in your field by sharing your relevant credentials and demonstrating how they relate to your book—and to whoever you’re contacting.
These are journalists and media outlets you’re talking to, after all. They want to publish content that generates reads, engagement, and a positive opinion from their readers. They’ll use a discerning eye when evaluating pitches, which means you need to keep it simple. Your book is essential for them to talk about…why?
Here’s a situation that shows how this works: Let’s say you wrote a book about gardening. You should only be pitching to outlets that have something to do with gardening. The New Yorker might be prestigious, but are its readers really your target audience? Instead, research platforms like Southern Living and Homes & Gardens. You’ll immediately have something in common with the readers of these magazines, which you can draw upon when pitching.
Pitching gets easier when the value your book carries for a certain media outlet or journalist is clear and simple. Once you’ve stated your book’s benefit, you can swiftly wrap up. Remember, you want to keep your pitch impactful but concise!
Don’t forget to say your name, the name of your book, and the publication date and include a link to learn more about your upcoming title. You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget these things, but a journalist can’t write an article about your book if they don’t know what it is. Include contact information and let them know that you’re happy to answer any questions they have or provide more resources if needed.
Pitching after your book has already been released is typically not recommended, as the whole point of pitching is to garner anticipation for your book, but if you’re late to the game, the benefit is that you can include positive reviews as well. Mention your book’s ranking on Amazon, share its five-star rating, or even pull a direct quote from a happy reader. These signal to the media outlet or journalist that your book will be a smash hit with their audience.
It’s time to sign off, send, and put on your patient pants. Be prepared to follow up and be persistent—but only after enough time has passed to remain polite. We recommend waiting at least two weeks before sending another email. Keep in mind that media professionals receive dozens of emails a day (if not more) and sometimes won’t respond until months later. When you do follow up, be sure to keep your email concise.
As you start securing media coverage, remember to be a good guest and send a simple thank you afterward. You’ve just added a valuable new contact to your network, so don’t be afraid to connect on social media and continue to follow and interact with them. You never know where a positive relationship can take you in the media world.
A Sample Pitch to Help You Out
Now that we’ve broken down all the core pieces of a successful media pitch, here’s a template you can use to build yours. Of course, your pitch should be tailored to your book and audience, but this example can give you a general idea of how to put these tips into practice.
Dear [first name—get personal],
I loved your recent piece on new gardening tools. I went straight to my local home goods store to pick up the hose you recommended. I pride myself on being a gardening expert, which is why I stay updated with the newest advancements and even wrote a book full of gardening tips and tricks.
My upcoming book, Gardening for All, is an essential read for your audience no matter how experienced they are. I spent time abroad learning how to plant in extreme environments, and I learned strategies that can be applied to the average home garden. These insights make my book a must-read for lovers of [publication name].
Gardening for All will be released on [date]. More information is available [here], and I’m happy to provide additional details if needed. I would love to see my book mentioned in any gardening articles you write.
How Ballast Books Can Help Your PR Efforts
Pitching can feel overwhelming if you’ve never had experience with the media before. That’s why, here at Ballast Books, we take care of media research, pitching, and all sorts of essential PR steps for you. Our marketing team will make your launch smooth and successful with plenty of effort to show for it. Contact us today to hear about how we can help.