How to Book Media Interviews on Your Own
When we say “media interviews” we are not necessarily talking about television appearances on the big three networks. Though that might happen, it is very unlikely. We mean any and all media; television, radio, newspapers, magazines, podcasts, blogs, and the list goes on. Media interviews are very important for book sales. Media interviews offer authors a chance to reach larger audiences than they have previously. The problem is they can be difficult to get. But, just like everything else in the book promoting process, you CAN do it and it is well worth the effort.
Now you might be thinking, “How can I get an interview myself? I’m no publicist.” Well the good news is you don’t have to be a publicist to get an interview, in fact having a publicist does not guarantee you will get media interviews, or at least not for long. Most publicists run campaigns for their clients, and these campaigns last for 90 to 120 days. That’s it. Publicists want to sell books, and they believe that they can do all they need to in 3-4 months to get those sales, and if they can’t get the sales in that amount of time then they believe the project won’t ever sell. This is not to say that all publicists are this way, and that you shouldn’t look into hiring a publicist, but it is something to keep in mind.
In reality you are the best person to sell your book. You know it better than anyone. You are the expert, so you know best how your book and its message can help people. But, where do you start?
Build relationships with producers. The first thing you need to do is to determine which programs, podcasts, blogs, etc. have the audiences that would benefit from your book. Michael Hyatt suggests that you look at the things you read/watch/listen to. Chances are the media programs that you are interested in will be programs that fit your niche. Start building relationships with the producers and editors of these programs. These people are the gatekeepers to the media programs that they work for, and they don’t want to book someone who is only interested in plugging their book. If you build relationships with these people now, they will be more likely to listen to your pitch when you are ready for an interview.
Determine how your message works on a calendar. A good way to be prepared for a pitch to a producer is to determine what national holidays/events your message could relate to. Producers are all about ratings. Again, they don’t want to book someone who only wants to promote their book, because ratings will drop if that is all a segment consists of. If you can show a producer how your message can help people in their audience demographic, that will help to get you a booking. Even better news, if you can do that and show the producer how they can relate that message to a holiday they will really be interested in booking you. Let’s say for instance that your book is about how to become a more involved father and husband. Father’s Day would be a perfect day to do a segment on your book. Producers are looking for this kind of pitch for a segment.
Write a pitch. You are going to have to contact the producers and editors of the media outlets that you want to get interviews with, which means that you are going to have to write a pitch for them. Usually the best way to contact gatekeepers directly is through email, but keep in mind that they get hundreds of emails every day, so yours needs to stand out. As we mentioned earlier, building relationships with the producers/editors will help your chances with being heard, but your pitch still needs to be good. Here are the five most important things your pitch needs to include:
- Attention grabbing title. If your title is boring, then nobody will read the rest of the pitch. You want to entice the producer to read more.
- A strong opening paragraph. Again, don’t be dry. Producers want to know that you will be a guest that their audience will want to watch or listen to. Offer a compelling statistic about your target audience or an interesting story.
- Short biography. Remember producers and audiences alike want to hear from an expert, so you want to communicate why you are an expert.
- Suggested interview ideas. Producers have a lot on their plates and this is one way to grab their attention and gain their favor. Provide a list of suggested interview questions so that the producer can get a feel for what the segment would be like.
- Contact info. This seems like a no brainer, but sometimes people forget to include this crucial information. A producer is not going to go looking for you. If they like you and want to book you, they need to have your contact information readily available.
Rob Eagar goes into more detail about these must haves in his book [amazon text=How To Sell Your Book Like Wildfire&asin=159963421X].
In this day and age you have to be the author and the book promoter. You cannot rely on someone else to step up and sell your books for you. This may seem scary, and it can be at times, but if you want to help people solve the problem which you have expert knowledge in solving, then you have to get out there and tell them. You are the face of your message and that makes you the best person to sell it to the people who need to hear it.
Which programs do you think your message is most suited for? Share with us in the comments section below.