Hundreds. Possibly 1000s. That’s the number of press releases that tsunami their way into a journalist’s inbox every.single.day.
So if you emailed your press release about your book on string theory to every hack in the country, don’t be surprised if you don’t get a response.
Content marketing for authors
However, if you pitched an article (or story) idea to an editor on 10 ways people encounter string theory while cooking, or the Brexit effect on string theory, you’ll probably get a better response (yes, it’s low-brow, but at least your email got clicked).
When your article is published, your bio could link out to your book, website or social media profile. You get the visibility that you want for your product and the newspaper or magazine finds another way to feed the content beast – their readers’ never-ending demand for fresh content.
It’s a win-win for both parties and it is called content marketing. It is a way of promoting your products or services to your target buyers by educating them with free, valuable content.
How to start
Before you start firing off article ideas to journalists, take a step back and ask yourself one question:
So what? Why should anyone care about this?
Doing that will help you focus your efforts and hone your messaging when writing to the journalist or editor. After, use below to pitch the idea to said journalist.
1. Activate interest with your subject headline
An example is: Article Idea: 10 Useless Facts about Cooking and String Theory
Yes, it’s a silly header, but the objective is to get the journalist/editor to click through (there’s a lot to be said for clickbait). If you’re pitching to a national newspaper, chances are that their science sections need some content anyway.
If you’re pitching to a consumer magazine, make your subject matter relatable to their general audience.
And if you’re pitching to an industry publication, your audience are your peers, so write for an already educated audience on your subject matter.
2. Work on your top line
Once you get the journalist to click open your email, the next is the top line. This is the first two lines that come up in your emails, and in essence, should summarise your article idea. Here’s an example:
10 Useless Facts About Cooking and String Theory is an irreverent, yet insightful look at the wonder of string theory and its place in probably the most important place in the home – the kitchen.
3. Explain why would the publication’s readers would be interested in this
I believe Trivia’s readers would be interested in this, because it is a fun way to communicate the wonder of string theory and its place to our lives, in an accessible way, to a general audience.
4. Why you are qualified to write about this
I am a string physicist. In my day time I lecture at Roehamption university. I’ve also written a few books on string theory.
You can also find out about me on my website www.stringtheorymadeinteresting.com
I hope the article idea is of interest and I look forward to hearing from you.
5. Tailor your pitch to the publication
The key to content marketing success is making your content relevant to your target audience. You wouldn’t send the exact pitch you sent to the editor of Vogue to the editor of String Theory Quarterly (STR).
The editor of Vogue might be interested in how a fashion designer was inspired by science for their current collection, while the editor of STR will be more interested in your latest research findings and how it informed your new book.
So tailor your article/story idea accordingly and make sure you have your article ready to go.
Over to you? Have you had any success with content marketing?