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BONUS FREEBIE: Do you want to know what the media is looking for and how to give it to them? Check out my free three-part video course How to Be a Media Magnet for my expert tips on how to become a pro at pitching and getting booked.
Think you’re ready to be a media star?
Take the ultimate media-readiness challenge. It’s the one thing that you absolutely, no exceptions, must be able to do in order to kill it on TV or in print.
Be able to explain what you do and why it matters — to a fifth grader.
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If you find yourself singing Adele’s “Hello” to producers and editors, and all you hear back is Beyonce’s “Sorry,” it might be time to step up your seduction. Here are three tips to woo the media this year.
Don’t Be Desperate: Swipe Right AND Left
Don’t be that person who swipes right on anything with a pulse. A quick perusal of someone’s profile may not tell you whether someone is your soulmate, but it can certainly help you find a real connection—and rule out the red flags.
The same goes for your match with the media: Know the person receiving your pitch and their work. What kinds of stories do they love? Do they tend to gravitate toward a certain style? They will know when you haven’t done your homework—and it will make them want to “ghost” on you fast.
Get to know the person receiving your pitch by checking out their social media presence. Do they engage their followers? See if you can strike up a light conversation over a tweet or post. Are they attending networking events? Try to meet them in person. (Warning: Coming on too strong is disastrous in love and in media. Definitely keep it light).
But also ask yourself: Are they a good match for ME? While it may be tempting to throw yourself at every reporter, producer, booker or editor who comes your way, that plan can backfire in the long run. If all goes according to plan, this is the start of something ongoing—better to be single than entangled in a bad romance.
Make Yourself Irresistible
If you want to get rejected by the hot girl, ramble on about her looks while you ask her out. Likewise, the media knows it’s sexy—and it doesn’t want you to use it for its body.
Another surefire way to get rejected? Toot your own horn so much, you compose a symphony to your greatness. Confidence is hot, but narcissism is a real turn-off.
The key to being irresistible is simple: Be a giver, not a taker. If you want to woo the media, you’ve got to sell yourself as an attentive partner. Always link your pitch back to the audience: Why should those people care? How can you help them? How will your expertise transform their life? Show the editor or producer that you get what they do and you’re here to offer your help—not to use their platform, love ‘em and leave ‘em.
Sweep Them Off Their Feet
Picture this: You’ve just cancelled a date because you caught a monster flu. You’re a little bummed, but you were only lukewarm about the date in the first place. Thirty minutes later, the doorbell rings. You open the door and find a care package of chicken noodle soup, emergenc-C, tea, and a “Get Well Soon” card from your date. And just like that, things start heating up.
If you want to sweep the media off its feet, be the producer or editor’s hero. Don’t just figure out what they need—give it to them when they need it most.
The media needs pieces that link back to the top trending hashtags. If you’re a parenting expert, the Grammys would be the perfect moment to pitch a story on how celebrity feminists like Beyonce are changing the way our culture views motherhood. If you’re a constitutional lawyer, start drafting that pitch on what will happen next with Trump’s expanded travel ban. Do the producer or editor’s work for them—they’ll thank you for it.
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Kate has a background in media as a journalist who has written for national magazines including Real Simple, Parents, and Martha Stewart’s Whole Living.
Now as an author and podcast host she’s tasked with getting the word out about her expertise. Here’s how she did it:
Making the Connection..
Kate lives in Providence, RI, and she heard of a new morning show that she thought might be looking for pitches. She posted in a local networking group to see if anyone had a contact, and a connection suggested reaching out to a producer over social media.
People who work in media often have their email address in their bio — and that’s because they want you to pitch them.
“That’s one thing that we have to just tell ourselves is that we’re actually helping people do their jobs by pitching them,” Kate says.
Make your pitch timely.
One of the elements of a well-written pitch is the “hook.” Why is this relevant right now?
Kate took this into consideration when she planned out her pitch. When Kate thinks of a pitch, she connects her ideas to current events or holidays.
“I think I just Googled ‘crazy national holidays’,” Kate says of one pitch. “There were all these wacky days like Flip Flop Day and Hotdog Day. I noticed that there was Make a Difference Day was coming up, which perfectly aligned with How to Be a Better Person.”
By connecting your pitch to an upcoming event, producers feel more urgency when considering your idea. “Not only might they like that idea, but they’re going to need to act on it because that day’s coming up,” Kate says.
Reuse and recycle.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they start to pitch media is that they think they have to create completely new or different material for a pitch. Nope! Use all your content to feed your blog, your book, your podcast, your pitches. They all go hand in hand. You will taylor the ideas for each outlet but your ideas are your ideas.
Kate’s lightbulb moment happened when she realized she didn’t need to be creating totally separate blog posts and pitches. She made a Google Drive account for organizing her ideas and realized that she had lots of great material that could be adapted and updated.
“I found old pitches that I had written and blog posts that I had written and just stuff that I thought might be useful in a lot of different ways,” Kate says. “And I can go in there and really slice and dice.”
That doesn’t mean you should use the same posts and pitches over and over. Like Kate says, it’s important to customize your content and pitches to the outlet you’re pitching.