One of the mantras of the online marketing world is that if you want to get something noticed, you need an offline and an online marketing plan. Because each type of marketing is more powerful when used with the other type.
Bloggers are generous with advice about how to get mentioned on blogs, but what about the other way around? How do individuals — bloggers and nonbloggers — get mentioned in print?
We all need to get ourselves noticed for what we are doing. Sometimes you will promote yourself as an employee, sometimes as a consultant, sometimes it’ll be a product idea you have. Also, today job hunting is a lifestyle, not an event, and you are always on a publicity campaign for yourself (via CM Access). So advice for bloggers about how to get into print applies to the nonblogging careerist as well.
Here are six tips for getting yourself into the mainstream print media:
1. Don’t pitch yourself, pitch an idea.
Bloggers get popular by infusing their personality into their information, but the mainstream media doesn’t care about your personality as much as your ideas. (This might be why it’s so hard for many mainstream journalists to become bloggers. But it’s also why bloggers are so annoying to many mainstream journalists.)
Also, most articles in print are not about bloggers. If you want to get into the majority of articles, you need to pitch yourself as an expert on an idea. The blog is secondary -it’s like an author’s book. The book or blog is not the news, the ideas are.
2. Pitch an idea with the print audience in mind.
Your idea needs to appeal to the hundreds of thousands of readers of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, not the 40,000 readers of your blog. So for newspapers, pitch broad. If you wrote a gardening blog, for example, broad would be ten winter gardening trends.
Magazines are more niche-oriented, but it’s their niche, not yours. An angle for Self magazine is how gardening gets you in shape. And you, the gardening blogger, can be quoted as an expert. An article in Maxim would be how to have sex in a garden. You can still be quoted as the gardening expert – like, don’t do it near rose bushes.
The trick is to pitch a topic that gets the media outlet excited. So you really have to know what they have written about before in your area so you don’t sound redundant.
3. Tailor the idea to the journalist.
Here’s something print journalists and bloggers have in common: They love when you do the heavy lifting for them. And like bloggers, sometimes if you write a pitch well, a print journalist will run the pitch almost verbatim, (even in the New York Times).
Also like bloggers, print journalists have an area they write about, and you need to pitch ideas that are in their area. For example, I write about careers, but not all career stories are right for me; I almost never write topics that are geared toward someone over 60, but people pitch me those topics all the time. (Those ideas are perfect for AARP magazine, which, by the way, has an enormous readership.)
4. Sign up for Profnet.
This service costs a few hundred dollars, but it’s worth it if you really want offline publicity. Journalists go to this site to ask for specific information from a specific type of person. If you meet those criteria, you can send the journalist a pitch via email and if you really are a match, the journalist will contact you. Profnet is a key tool in most publicists’ toolboxes and it’s accessible to anyone (who can pay).
5. Answer questions strategically.
Just because you get an interview doesn’t mean you’ll be in the piece the journalist is writing. You need to give a useful quote.
You will not get a treatise into the San Francisco Chronicle, so when they call, don’t spew one. Give succinct summaries of big ideas because that’s what’s quotable. If the reporter asks for more information after that, then give it.
On a broad topic – like what are the new snowboarding trends? – have three main points. On a narrow topic – like snowboarders break a lot of bones – give a snappy quote that supports the journalist’s point of view, if you can. The person who gives the journalist the key quote is the last person to be cut.
6. Be available.
A lot of people want to be quoted in the paper. And you are probably not the only person who would be appropriate. So respond to an interview inquiry quickly, and be available when the journalist needs to talk. Unlike bloggers, print journalists answer to someone else’s schedule. They are on deadline. Help them and they’ll love you.
This is, indeed, a lot of work, but remember that viral marketing isn’t only online. When a print journalist sees you quoted in one print publication, she is more likely to write about you in her publication.
Conversely, if you gave an interview and you’re not in the article, you did a bad job in the interview and probably won’t get a call from that journalist again. But keep working at it. I have found that the people who give the most interviews are the best at doing them.
And when I interview someone who is great at giving an interview, I realize that this skill is really about talking in a way that makes people feel engaged — a skill anyone can use at any time in their career.