When it comes to book publicity, KNOW YOUR NICHE, MAKE YOUR PITCH!
In the book publicity world in which we book publicists “play”, trying to generate media exposure for clients is often a difficult challenge. There is no shortage of experts and authors who are competing for the same space, be it in print, television, radio or online. We have no doubt, if given the opportunity, that most our authors can do a tremendous job of impressing the media with their insight and knowledge, but in order to get them there, we need to be on point with our pitches. In acting as their mouthpiece, and trying to open the media gates, it is essential for our authors to help us help them.
Find your Focus
When discussing this with our authors, especially those who are looking to use their book and the media coverage it might yield as a means to broaden their brand and platform, we try to get them as focused as possible. To do this, we ask a few questions:
- Who do you want to be known as?
- Why should be people consider you as the right expert source?
- What is your value proposition?
- What are your “bold statements”?
For many, the answers seems simple, yet as the conversation develops and we start peeling away the layers, they (and we) often realize that they are entering crowded waters because the answer is too broad. These questions should be answered in a few sentences at most, not paragraphs.
Know your niche
It is incredibly important that authors have a deep understanding of their niche expertise and where it adds value (the niche within the niche). It’s great to have a broad understanding of a given topic (i.e. personal finance, health, human behavior) but there are a lot of experts who have that same scope of understanding, and in many cases, with bigger platforms. Instead, the focus should be taking an area (or a few) within the niche and honing in on that angle to create opportunities. Rather than being all things to all people, find something that you can really dig your heels into as an expert and establish that first.
Sizzle is good, substance is better
While how you say it does make an impact, it’s what you say that is most important. Make sure your message and outreach ties in with your initiatives (selling books, creating new business opportunities, laying the foundation for more speaking, populating your brand) and then run with it. It is also important to know your audience. While everyone wants to be in The NY Times or USA Today, it is often the more niche-related outlets that will have an impact on your goals. !
Once you have done the good work in your “tightened-up” niche and developed a level media credibility, it will open doors to cast that wider net most experts are hoping for. So, the next time you engage in a book publicity or promotional effort, “know your niche, then make your pitch!