We here at EMSI gain media exposure for our clients by “celebritizing” them. That is, we get them in print, on TV and radio, and develop social media followers for them, by showcasing their expertise as it relates to their product or book.
We make those promises with confidence, but some new clients are dubious. They admit they can’t even begin to imagine how their book or product can relate to a newsworthy event, issue or trend. That’s when I tell them, “Trust me, we’ve been doing this for 22 years. You may not be able to imagine it, but our Creative Team sure can.”
Recently, we had a client who’d written a novel that was going to serve as a marketing vehicle for his business. He chose a multi-media campaign that included radio and TV, so we needed a pitch that would entice show hosts to interview the author about an issue relevant to his book.
With creativity, research and knowledge of trending news topics, Russ Handler, one of our campaign managers, quickly pulled together a brilliant pitch. I thought his experience would give you an idea of the steps you can take to celebritize yourself – even if, at the moment, you think there’s no way your product or book has news relevance.
I asked Russ to write up a case study for you, and he put together this enlightening piece:
Finding Our Clients’ Inner Celebrity is like Putting Together a Puzzle
My job, along with the Creative Team, is to turn our client’s core message into an effective pitch that will attract the attention of the TV and radio show hosts and producers we serve.
Many times our clients have little idea about how their message might translate into a good show segment. They may have a book or product, a service or foundation, and they may know exactly what they want to say … such as, “Buy my book; it’s a great summer read.” But will that get them booked on TV? Probably not, unless they’re Oprah or Elton John.
Instead, they need a newsworthy topic, and the expertise to talk about it, that relates to their message. How do we put that puzzle together? I’ll use an example of a current client who is enjoying a successful campaign.
This novelist wrote a book about a guy who has a computer software program that promises to fulfill his deepest wishes. The guy opens the program and is soon hurtling into the adventure of a lifetime. It’s a tech-related fantasy about the down side of technology.
OK, so you’re asking, “What would Fox News’ Sheppard Smith do with that?”
Yup, that was the first piece of the puzzle.
The next step for us was to consider how this book might tie into the news or popular culture. We talked about trends and issues involving technology and realized the hot topic of technology addiction might be a good fit.
Some research turned up compelling statistics:
A third of Americans say they’d rather give up sex than their cell phones, according to a recent survey by Telenav. Forty percent of iPhone users said they’d rather give up their toothbrush for a week than their iPhone. One in five said they’d prefer going without shoes for a week than their cell phones.
Another study found that 61 percent of responders felt addicted to the Internet. Yet another found that people check their smart phones 34 times a day, because it has become a compulsion.
How many times did you check your phone today?
Those surveys served as additional pieces for our puzzle. Now we had a hook and a great connection: Just like the protagonist in the novel, people can’t resist the urge to be connected, even at the expense of their mental health and physical wellbeing.
But could our client speak to this? I noted on his resume that he received his bachelor’s in Social Relations from an Ivy League school. Social Relations? What’s that? I dug around a bit and learned that it focuses on psychology, culture and social behavior! Bingo!
Now I had all my pieces lined up: A newsworthy phenomenon, a book that relates to it, and an author with great credentials.
The puzzle was almost complete – a pitch was born.
Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone?
Expert Says Technology is Keeping Us from Meaningful Personal ‘Connections’
A social relations expert says email, text messaging, Facebook and other “social” media have become, for many, an obsession that leads to social isolation…”
That pitch has landed our client on Fox News, local TV shows in top markets and some powerhouse radio stations.
Some of our puzzles are more challenging than others, but that’s when it gets really fun. Just like the people who check their cell phone a million times a day, to us it’s an obsession.
Listen to talk radio, watch TV talk shows, read newspapers and magazines, and explore Facebook, Twitter and other social media to see what topics are hot and how they’re presented.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The best way to reach consumers is through the news media. But to get what you want, you’ve got to give journalists what they need – good content.
I’m off to watch my client on TV!