News & Highlights

From Nardi Media

Insider Tips: How Authors Can Get Media Attention

We recently announced our partnership with Lucinda Literary, a powerhouse literary firm that brings print publicity, online marketing, and speaking/events expertise for authors. Lucinda Blumenfeld is Founder and Principal of Lucinda Literary, and she asked me to share my broadcast publicity insights on her blog, including lessons I've gleaned from what really sells books to how authors can approach media themselves. Having worked on national news desks for nearly a decade, that valuable time and experience has transferred over to the world of media relations, successfully booking authors for television, radio, and podcast interviews. Lucinda put together some great questions for me. Read on for my answers!
LL: What are the challenges authors face in getting booked on radio/television?
 AB: One of the main challenges that authors face is making the pitch relevant to the news cycle. We can overcome this challenge by using recent data, statistics, and research on the subject that was written about about to make the pitch buzzier and more relevant to the news cycle. Producers and reporters are fact-driven, so if we can present them with facts that tie in news of the day/week/month, and use the author and book as a jumping off point for a conversation about it — we usually see traction. I always try to use numbers, data, demographics, and more, to tie in a pitch. Sometimes the pitch is not just about the book itself – but where the author grew up, where he/she is based, and more. There is so much we can work with and that’s the best part about the process!
LL: What can authors do to make themselves more attractive media candidates, and get a producer’s interest or attention? What are the most important “ingredients” to include in one’s pitch?

AB: The approach to pitching radio and television varies, as well as the particular show you are pitching. Know who you are pitching and what the show has covered recently. Remember that a producer/reporter will do research on you, so it’s your job to do research on their show. What has been covered recently? Any pieces or segments that you liked or stood out to you? Is there a connection to your book or subject matter?

Another important factor is the pitch itself. You can and should specify and tailor a press advisory based off what a show covers. I usually never work with one generic press advisory. If you give a broad blanket advisory to every single national radio and television show, you won’t see results. But if you can tailor press advisories to specifically what a show covers (health, finance, etc), you’ll see results.

The most important ingredients to a broadcast pitch: Pre-existing video of the author(s) in an interview setting, street credibility (ie prior media placements in print, online, TV, radio), a pitch tailored specifically to what the show covers or has been covering, and making it newsworthy using recent statistics and data.

LL: What kind of interviews are most effective? Does it always need to be a national media hit to cause an impact?
AB: Obviously a national television or radio hit creates a big buzz and a wide range of exposure, but don’t discount the local radio stations, especially NPR affiliates. People who listen to NPR read books. I’ve had book authors do local interviews with NPR affiliates around the country, and they’ll see their book sales and Amazon ratings increase just from one radio interview alone.
There is also a huge added bonus to television and radio in today’s media world: online exposure. Nearly every television and radio segment now gets published online – which is a whole new audience reached!
LL: Describe an author(s) success story.
 AB: We recently worked with two co-authors on a non-fiction sports book. The story had a very local tie to it, so my advice was to start small and start local. This builds up credibility and exposure before we pitch to national media — and it worked. This formula almost always works. We booked two local NPR stations were the story was based, as well as several local television outlets, and from there, the book’s broadcast publicity picked up steam. We were then able to secure some major broadcast bookings and placements, including NPR’s All Things Considered and CBS This Morning. The book also had a religious component to it, and we were able to place the authors on Christian radio stations, as well as a big interview on The Eternal World Television Network, the largest Catholic television channel in the world. It was a huge publicity success story with the right media strategy and approach.
LL: Booking your clients on podcasts is a large and important part of your business. Can you explain to those who aren’t familiar what a podcast interview entails, and the unsung benefits they can have for authors?

AB: Podcasts are very new and continue to grow quickly and provide a great way for authors to continue to build exposure and credibility. However, it’s important to do research each podcast we pitch and monitor the number of subscribers. Some podcasts have an enormous following (in the millions), and it would be worthy of an author’s time to get placed on the show. I rely on Stitcher.com to monitor the top-ranked podcasts, which they conveniently separate by topics. Podcast interviews usually last much longer than television and radio interviews, which is great. Additionally, they get placed online – so there is the added exposure component as well. I know my book authors have seen their sales increase just by doing a few podcasts — so I always urge to have us pitch them!

tracy-mccubbin

Tracy Mccubbin

AUTHOR, MAKING SPACE, CLUTTER FREE

"The biggest piece of advice a first-time author is given is to “hire your own publicist,” but what they don’t tell you is to “hire your own Ashley.”  Looking back, I don’t know how I could have released my book without Ashley & her team.  We started working together before the book was published.  First local TV and small blogs and as I got more seasoned and the book got closer to coming, she booked me appearances on bigger and bigger outlets. 

susan

Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D.

New York Times Best Selling Author of Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free

"The biggest piece of advice a first-time author is given is to “hire your own publicist,” but what they don’t tell you is to “hire your own Ashley.”  Looking back, I don’t know how I could have released my book without Ashley & her team.  We started working together before the book was published.  First local TV and small blogs and as I got more seasoned and the book got closer to coming, she booked me appearances on bigger and bigger outlets. 

susan-m

Susan McGinnis

Correspondent, CBS Newspath

“I am so pleased that Ashley is embarking on this new venture. For many years she has shined as an outstanding booker and producer at CBS News and at start-ups including Clean Skies News.  She was my first hire at Clean Skies, and was the shining star among the pack. She has always had  tremendous dedication to her work, and an untiring ability to accomplish whatever faces her, letting no obstacle stand in the way of an outstanding product.  She consistently goes above and beyond expectations, and never takes “no” as an answer, and never settles for less than outstanding. I would hire Ashley again. And again. And again.”

jennifer

Jennifer Oko

Partner, Mad Squid Media

“Ashley and I have worked together is a few different capacities, including CBS News, energyNOW!. I cannot say enough good things about her. Ashley is smart, thorough, quick, creative, and incredibly hard working. Most importantly, to be a successful media liaison and guest booker, relationships are everything. Ashley is a genuinely lovely person, and she wins the respect and trust of everyone she works with. She is the first person I call whenever I need a guest booker or segment producer.”

margaret

Margaret Ryan

Energy Journalist & Analyst

“Ashley Bernardi is a dynamic professional who consistently produces excellent results.  In my three years working with Ashley as the head booker at Clean Skies News/EnergyNOW!, I never saw her fail to complete a job she had been assigned – and complete it admirably. Ashley is creative, energetic and goal-oriented, a true team player who works congenially with other professionals but can also be relied on to execute an assignment on her own. Ashley is the person I wanted on my team when I faced a challenging assignment!”

hardy

Hardy Spire

Senior Producer, CNN’s Reliable Sources. Former General Manager at CleanSkies News and Senior Producer at CBS News.

“Ashley Bernardi has every rare quality in a TV producer — aggressiveness, insight, creativity, a strong work ethic, and pure charm.  She has all this plus she’s a kind and positive person.  And she has great contacts!”

silvio

Silvio Marcacci

Principal, Marcacci Communications

“Ashley is hands down the best media trainer I’ve ever worked with, and she uses her considerable producing experience to make clients feel at ease and ready to learn. In addition, her ability to book clients on television and radio interviews is quite impressive – be ready for hours of interviews if you’re working with her!”

mary

Mary Jordan

Washington Post National Correspondent and Founding Editor of Washington Post Live

“There is nothing Ashley Bernardi cannot do when it comes to media.  She books top people for TV shows and national conferences and knows the business inside out. I worked closely with Ashley at the Washington Post  and she is not only savvy, but great to be around. She is the always cheerful, smart voice on the other end of the phone who persuades busy people to drop everything they are doing and do what Ashley tells them.”

scott

Scott Behson, PhD

best-selling author of The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed at Work and at Home

“I was a relatively unknown first-time author and Ashley was fantastic in getting my name out there, and ultimately booking me on national TV and radio, as well as major podcasts. She also provided top-notch media training and was always a great listener and advisor. Finally, she was on top of everything and we communicated constantly. I couldn’t have been happier about her efforts on behalf of my book launch!”

ron

Ron Friedman, Ph.D

author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace

“Ashley Bernardi is extraordinary at her job in every way. Smart, strategic and relentlessly energetic, Ashley is someone I’d want on my team in any public relations campaign.”