To sell your book or product, you have to do whatever it takes to create a buzz. As a public relations professional, the best thing I can do for my clients is stay current with my media connections so that I can pitch their topics. A resource I’ve clued into is the National Publicity Summit in New York City. I attend this event to meet media once or twice a year and have gotten clients booked on Fox News, CNBC, NPR and in a number of national magazines as a result It’s not an inexpensive event, but I have found that it’s an efficient use of my time and money.
Here’s what I’ve learned about how to make the most of attending the National Publicity Summit:
- Change your PR mindset right now. Become a news-junky and learn to tie in current events to your own topic. Get magazines like O, The Oprah Magazine or Woman’s Day, watch shows like Good Morning America. Study how they present their stories and guests and think about how you could fit into their format.
- Wear fantastically comfortable shoes. You’ll be standing a lot over those three days and you want to be happy when you pitch the media.
- Develop one-sheeters to give to the media you meet. These are one page documents, printed in color and represent your pitch, show ideas and contact information. The Summit staff assist you on creating this ahead of time. At the end of your pitch time you hand the media person your business card and I recommend stapling this to your one-sheeter.
- Develop more than one pitch or story idea. I have found that when I’m pitching the media, not every idea will fly. When I come to the Summit armed with a variety of show possibilities, this lets me easily get into a positive conversation with the media. If they don’t like my first idea, I try a backup.
- Be yourself. Be authentic and have open, frank conversations with the media. The media are looking for real people who will represent their areas of expertise and who their audiences can relate to.
- Look your best. The media attend the Summit time and again because not only do the get to not only hear pitches, but they also get an idea about how you might look on TV. I know that a lot of Summit folks get advice from image consultants.
- Go lean, but not mean! You spend three days pitching the media and the last thing you want is to be weighed down by too much stuff like bags, briefcases, boxes, etc. Just bring enough books, one-sheets and business cards for the immediate appointments at hand.
- Take the pressure off the immediate “hit” and focus on building a relationship with the media. Think strategically and long-term. You probably have more than one book you’re going to promote in the future. Sure, you want to appear on their show or in their magazine, but think about the media as people doing their jobs. How would you build a personal relationship with an important person in your life? Treat the media the same as you would a respected colleague. If you get the media to like you, they will follow your career and continue to work with you as long as you have a good story. As a direct result of the Summit, I can call ABC’s The View and pitch them anytime. That’s priceless.
- Come to the Summit open to what may happen with your fellow attendees. I’ve gone to these events thinking that I’d just go for specific goals with the media. But, because I had put myself “out there,” I’d get into conversations with other attendees as we waited in line and from that, I’ve gotten new clients, joint venture partners and other strategic alliances. The attendees going to this event are the superstar authors of tomorrow.
The bottom line: You need the media to get the word out about your book. In the book marketing and public relations business, I know that you have to connect with the media before they will “buy” what you are pitching. The allows that connection to be made.
I’m such a fan of the National Publicity Summit that I am now an affiliate for it. If you are interested in attending please check out this link.