Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fatal Flaw #2: Saturating contacts

Making the most of the author-publicist relationship

In our continuing series on Fatal Flaws, we want to examine a commonly-held misbelief today: saturating contacts. What exactly do I mean by that?

Some authors think that if their publicist simply got his or her name out to the media, every single day, then surely the media would respond! I mean, how could CNN, The Today Show or Oprah ignore daily email reminders that you are THE definitive source on the economy/presidential elections/peregrine falcons?

Easy: those emails will never see the light of day. Why? Our media contacts will stop reading our emails, or answering our phone calls for that matter, if we're grating on their last nerve.

Asking your publicist to contact the same media contacts over and over again with breathless pitches about your expertise does two very bad things:

1. It threatens your publicist's relationship with her media contacts.

The reason why you, the author, have hired a publicist is because of her ability to create relationships with the media. She wants to help these people do their job - report the news - as much as she wants to help you get exposure. So don't ask her to contact the national top morning shows every day, or even every week, with new spins on your credentials. This hurts, rather than helps the cause. What the media wants from us are key sources at key times, and it's timing, rather than spamming, that will ultimately garner you media bookings.

2. It closes off other really cool publicity opportunities.
If you ask your publicist to constantly call/email the same type of media contacts - let's say, lifestyle editors at the top ten news dailies - then that's time she could have spent contacting other media outlets and journalists who don't know your name yet. Case in point: a parenting expert we worked with here at P&P wrote us a contributed article on airplane travel with kids. Sure, we could have pitched that to family editors, who likely get similar pitches all the time. Instead, we tried travel editors - and got that story placed in the New York Daily News. The lesson here? Trust your publicist to know where your main media potential is - she'll keep following up with those contacts, don't you worry - but always help her think of new and different shows, publications, editors, etc. that might want to hear your message too.

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