If you want the world to take you seriously as an author, stop talking about your book and start showing that you know your stuff. When you focus on your expertise—instead of your book—people stop rolling their eyes and start paying attention. In Part One and Part Two of my recent series, I suggest that authors identify popular, timely, or trending media topics that they can tie into when making their pitch.
If you want to be considered as a guest or a feature interview, pitch a topic or angle that you can discuss as an authority on your subject.
So, how do you come up with an intriguing hook? If you’re having trouble taking your eyes off your book, here are three tools that can help. They’re free, they’re online, and they’re easy to use. Spend a few minutes with these tools and you should find dozens of solid ideas to discuss as an expert.
Topic Tool #1 – Blog Topic Generators
Although created to suggest what you can write for your blog, blog topic generators will also offer interesting and trending topics for an author interview. As a bonus, the clickable topics work as compelling subject lines to convince that media contact to open your email.
There are several blog topic generators available online. To find one, go to your search engine of choice and type in the words “blog topic generator.” You’ll find links to dozens of options.
Plug in relevant words from your subject and these tools will spit out several (or dozens) of ideas. Let’s say, for example, that I’m an expert on domestic cats. If I go to Fat Joe’s Blog Post Title Idea Generator [https://fatjoe.co/blog-title-generator] and type in the word “cats,” the site will offer ideas like...
- 11 Ways to Completely Ruin Your Cats
- 10 Things Most People Don't Know About Cats
- How to Sell Cats to a Skeptic
These results work as is, or can spark a new idea. For example, instead of “How to Sell Cats to a Skeptic,” I might spin that into, “How to Convince Your [Spouse/Roommate/Parents] to Let You Bring Home a Cat.”
Topic Tool #2 – Quora
One way to come up with an engaging hook is to build it around questions people have about your subject. But how can you find out what they want to know?
Enter Quora [https://www.quora.com], a website where users can ask or answer questions on pretty much any subject. What’s great about Quora is that these questions aren’t asked in a vacuum—somebody in the world really wants to know.
Go to the site and type in search terms. You don’t have to answer the questions here. You don’t even have to create an account.
As you scroll through the results, you’ll see what questions are being asked about your subject. One of these may lead to a great angle to pitch to that media outlet.
For example, if I choose the topic “cats (domestic),” users are asking…
- Is it okay to leave my cats alone for one week?
- Do cats get emotionally attached to their owners like dogs?
- How do you discipline a cat without hitting him?
Maybe one of these questions is just what you need to create a media pitch. Or the list may inspire you to go in an entirely different direction.
Topic Tool #3 – Google Autocomplete
Another place to find out what people want to know is Google’s main search page [https://www.google.com]. When you do a search, have you noticed how Google offers prompts? That’s Google’s Autocomplete in action.
As you type letters into the search box, Google pulls from previous searches to guess what you may want. Given that Google is the #1 search engine, it’s chock-full of data from millions of searches.
If you’re using your regular browser, the results probably include data from your own web history. To remove yourself from the equation, open a browser you don’t normally use so Google won’t recognize you. Then your results should pull solely from what the crowd’s searching for.
For your purposes, this tool is helpful because it can dig deep into long-tail keywords and phrases that make your topic more specific. For example, instead of simply the word “cats,” I may type in “How to get cats to” …
The suggestions include:
- How to get cats to stop biting
- How to get cats to get along
- How to get cats to like you
With Autocomplete, you can discover a range of ideas.
What Are You Going to Do Now?
You are more than your book—you’re an authority, you’re a teacher, you’re a storyteller. If you’re having trouble talking about your expertise instead of your book, the three tools I shared in this article should give you a comprehensive list of topics to discuss as an expert.
In my upcoming posts, I will be delving deeper into ways that fiction writers can pitch their authority, stories and point of view by aligning with popular, timely or trending media topics. Stay tuned...
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