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How to secure media coverage for your business book

So you’ve written your business book, spent time and money on the production and publication of it (eBook, printed book, audio book), developed a marketing plan, organised your book launch so why is there so little interest in ‘your book’ from the media?

The media, the media . . . just what is the media?

Securing exposure for your business book is vital if you’re going to achieve some or all of the objectives you had for writing your book in the first place. But it’s a really hit and miss affair. Why is this, and what can you do about it?

Here’s some insights on how the media works and how as a business book author, you can engage them and secure media exposure

Not all media is the same

The descriptor ‘media’ is a catch-all that doesn’t actually mean much. Let me use an analogy.

What do you think ‘the Commonwealth of nations’ means? How many countries make up the Commonwealth? Suffice to say the 54 nations in the Commonwealth range from Belize to Nauru, India, Rwanda, Australia and everything in between.

The media landscape is the same.

Daily news media is a completely different beast to monthly business/industry magazines, which are a completely different animal to professional organisation platforms. Add to this a dash of television, radio and podcasts just to add another layer of complexity to your ‘dish’.

Then, sprinkle a good handful of social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Influencers and you’ve got enough channels, platforms and influencers to make an alphabet soup.

Even if you master this meal, you need to get to know who the key journalists, commentators, influencers are, connect with them somehow in a way that they’ll pay attention to you and your book and, perhaps they’ll mention/consult/refer to you/your book.

And, just to make it more challenging, there’s probably tens or hundreds of other business book writers trying to work out the same thing as you are and engaging some of the same media that you are.

4 tips on how to work out what media to target and what to share.

  1. Who and what would your target audience would find credible? These journalists/media outlets are the ones you should target. That said, this does not apply to TV as most people deem TV credible.
  2. Targeting niche media is a good strategy depending on topic and audience.
  3. Today’s media is not tomorrow’s fish and chips wrapper. it’s not here today, gone tomorrow. Once you’ve been in the media you can leverage this across your own website and social media platforms for a long time
  4. Media coverage is one of most powerful forms of content collateral you can build so it’s worth spending some time and effort on building this over time. Media engagement is not simply media around your book launch. Be prepared to work at engaging journos and media outlets over 6–12 months.

How to start your book marketing journey

  1. Make sure you share media exposure on your website homepage, don’t have it hidden on a media page. Use the heading ‘As seen in . . . and then have the logo of the media outlet.
  2. Update your email signature to include ‘As seen in… ‘ and/or use ‘Check out my latest article in …….’ and provide the link. Make it easy for people to access articles, podcast interviews, mentions of your book.
  3. Whenever you are creating a proposal for new business include one or two media clippings in it, again with the logo of the media. This works to showcase your credibility;
  4. Re-post a comment about the coverage across your social media once every two-three months with a slightly different heading. Not all of your connections/followers will have seen your original post so repeat it.

What to say to journalists

Contacting journalists has to be one of the biggest challenges most first-time business book writers face. It’s hard to pick up the phone and pitch yourself to a journo, so my advice is to rethink what and how you engage journalists. What do I mean by this?

Don’t think about pitching yourself or your book, think about the knowledge and insights that are in your book. What’s relevant to that specific journalist’s audience at the point in time? You want to call them and pitch what knowledge/insight you can provide to the topic they report on/write about.

Your book is not the story, it’s the knowledge and insights you have that are relevant to the specific subject. Your book is part of your credibility.

How to contact journalists

There’s a couple of different approaches.

Most journalists have their email on the media outlet website. IF their email is not available you can often find the format of the email from other emails that are and you can then modify that for the journalists you want to contact.

For TV and radio producers, call their network’s reception and ask for the email address of the producer of the XYZ show. Always follow up your pitch, we usually follow up a week later, unless it’s an urgent, timely story.

Most journalists say they prefer email over phone call but you can still try to pick the phone to follow up. Just make sure you ask if they have a minute that you can run something by them and have a short, clear and concise pitch about what your insight is, why it could be relevant to their audience now.

If they ask for a follow up email make is clear with a short intro, 4 dot points and the takeout message for the audience.

The headline of your email should be strong and ‘click-baity’. Think about the headline the journo would write . . . and use this. To create this ALWAYS have the audience in mind.

So what are your angles/pitch

Presuming you’ve written and/or published your book every chapter is a story angle. You might even have key sections within each chapter that could become a angle for a story. For example if you’ve got 12 chapters in your book there’s 12 topics.

But, it’s important to take the focus away from you and think about the audience and what’s most relevant to them. If you do this, it’s more than likely that your pitch will resonate with the journalists covering your subject area.

Eight quick insights about media and business books

The key lessons I’ve learned about securing media coverage for business books over the years are as follows.

  1. News is news, it’s ‘super current’ news of interest to the news channel demographic. Your book launch is not news… unless your book links with a newsworthy topic, but that’s like winning lotto.
  2. Newspapers, radio and television have a humungous amount of hours of content to fill. If you understand what a specific channel is interested in and have developed a relationship with the key people in that media, when your topic comes up and you’ve been diligent in your engagement you’ll be top of mind. Don’t just send one email, make one phone call, keep trying to connect until such time as you get a No.
  3. Your book is not the most important event/thing in the world. Don’t pitch it that way. In fact, don’t pitch your book. Pitch the link to a current news item/trend, three insights/research/interpretation you have followed by action steps the reader, viewer, listener can take…and one of these is NOT to buy your book.
  4. Know your audience, where and how they are accessing the news and information that they are interested in. That way you can focus your attention, time and money where it’s going to have the most impact. It might do your ego good to be on the front page (or 3rd or 4th page) of your local newspaper but that’s unlikely to result in more sales of your book.
  5. If you’re not sure what you are doing or aren’t interested in putting the time and legwork in to engage the right media contract someone to do this for you and brief them thoroughly. You want results not activity so be clear about what results you are looking for and the timeframe you are expecting them. This said, be very realistic about what these results are.
  6. Don’t get disheartened if journalists/producers don’t respond, they may have just missed your email/message. Follow up twice. If they are interested they will call you back. If you don’t get a response after a couple of weeks try waiting a month or so, changing the headline and re-approaching on a related, relevant topic.
  7. Put the headline in the subject matter of email and the top of your pitch/press release. Headlines are extremely important, it might be the only thing the journalists initially looks at.
  8. Try contacting journalists via LinkedIn. Some, not all journos are on LinkedIn. If they are contact them early, get familiar with what they’re writing about and engage them. Don’t start spruiking you/your book at the get go. The more personalised you can make it the better.

If you’ve written and/or published a business book that’s not getting any traction contact me now (my website link). It might be the time for you to reset, re-energise and re-launch your book

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Jaqui Lane

Jaqui Lane

Business book writing, publishing and marketing adviser; business book self publishing expert; business historian (26 books); commentator on global business