Welcome back to our series about creating a bunch of different news ideas to capture the interest of the media. In each installment, I’m outlining how you can easily create multiple discussion topics to make us want to know more about your book. Today we're going to learn how to use a seasonal story to connect with media coverage.
(Missed one of the previous articles? In Part One, I revealed why having a number of discussion starters makes your book promotion so much easier. Part Two shared practical examples of relevant story angles. In Part Three, I outlined how you can leverage breaking news to draw attention to your book.)
So now, let's look at how connecting your book to a seasonal news angle will grease the wheels of your book promotion.
What’s a Seasonal Story Pitch?
In the previous column, we talked about pitching an angle that was “timely”—something that your audience is already talking about. The trick is that you can’t plan ahead because you’re jumping onto breaking news while it’s still hot.
A seasonal story is also timely—but the difference here is that these are angles you can plan ahead for! These are angles based on conversations that you know your audience will be having in the future. This can include holidays, public events, and the like.
There are those holidays that might jump to mind immediately. They’re like anchors on your calendar. But the important thing to understand is that there are loads of seasonal story ideas you can latch onto!
Examples of Seasonal Editorial Coverage
An author and ambassador for the Asthma & Allergy Foundation, Robin Wilson took advantage of spring cleaning to talk about her expertise. “Spring cleaning” isn’t even a particular day—but it does come every year. It was easy for her to look ahead on her calendar and plan ahead to put in a seasonal pitch.
I’ve used this example in this column before, but I’m using it again because I love it so much: Eliza Knight is a historical romance author who writes about pirates. She took advantage of Talk Like a Pirate Day for this list of five “favorite fictional pirates,” which includes pirate characters from movies and books. Her own book is mentioned at the top and featured again at the end of the article. So even though Talk Like a Pirate Day is not a “holiday” (I think the banks are still open), it’s a fun event people like to talk about. Since it takes place every September 19, the author could plan for it.
Poetry Panel Discussion
National Poetry Month comes—you guessed it—every year. (In April, if you must know.) This panel discussion featuring poets and experts took place at Stonybrook University in Stonybrook, New York. This isn’t a “day” either, but a whole month they were able to plan ahead for.
Types of Seasonal News
Here are some examples of what I mean by “seasonal story topics.” These all happen at regular intervals so you can look on your calendar and plan ahead. You might also consider events that don’t repeat but you know they’re coming—like tying into the release of a movie or some one-time event that was announced ahead of time:
- Religious observances
- Bank holidays
- Hallmark moments
- Awards ceremonies
- Sporting events
- School events
- Special days for specific demographic groups
- Annual events in your field or genre
- Trade events in your field
Do’s & Don’ts for Pitching Seasonal Story Topics
When sending a media pitch with a seasonal angle…
DON’T wait until the last minute for a seasonal pitch. Depending on the kind of media, they can be working way ahead of that next issue or that next episode. Be prepared to pitch a seasonal story idea up to 90 days ahead of when that episode or issue comes out
DO find appropriate ways to connect your expertise to upcoming events. If you want the media to take your pitch seriously, there should be a strong connection between that seasonal event and your field of expertise or your book’s theme. (Please don’t pitch “My book makes a great Christmas gift!”). And make sure your topic aligns with your author brand.
DON’T overlook less competitive seasonal topics and events. There are hundreds of special days and conferences and events every year. When in doubt—there are authors who invented their own day and pitched that.
What Are You Going To Do Now?
Look ahead on your 2020 calendar. What seasonal events or special days are coming up that your target readers will care about? Can you think of a way to connect those to your book, and create a compelling seasonal story pitch to send to the media?
Share your examples—or questions—below!
Next in our series, we’ll look at how using visual ideas can attract media attention. See you next month!
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