It’ s time to dust off your homework skills. You may have thought your homework assignments were long gone. But if you want great media coverage, you have to hit the books—and hit them hard.
What I mean is you have to know your target audience—as well as the right media for your target audience. If you’ re an author and your expertise is sports medicine, it makes little sense to pitch yourself to a media representative that specializes in expecting mothers. It seems self-evident, but you’ d be surprised how many people don’ t get it.
How exactly do you track down the appropriate media?
- Watch TV, read the Internet and find print publications for your area. Take note of the publications—most importantly, the journalists that appear regularly. These are the folks that work your market.
- Find out everything you can about those media reps. Look for their blogs; check out their websites; read their articles; follow them so that you can come across as well-informed when you finally give them your pitch.
- Refine your pitch to suit their target market and media venue. Throw in some flattering phrases that demonstrate how much you know about them. Make it seem like you’ re a real fan. You want to help them. Remember that.
Your message is unique, for sure, but so are the messages and pitches of hundreds of your competitors—those folks who are vying with you for coveted media placements. The media you pitch yourself to have probably heard something similar thousands of times before. In fact, they may have heard it scores of times today!
Here’ s where your research will pay off. By knowing the journalist’ s tastes, target market, and general style, you slant your pitch to them as individuals. When they know you’ ve spent the time researching them, they can’ t help but be impressed and want to hear more.
Don’ t spend an inordinate amount of time talking about them otherwise they’ ll think you’ re nothing more than a flatterer. Just warm the media up enough to make them receptive to what you have to give. Then pitch them on what you’ ve got to offer… and when they respond favorably, you’ ll be glad you took the time to do your homework.