How to Use Breaking News to Buzz Your Book – Eight Strategies

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Washington PostIt seems that these days, more than ever, the news is never-ending. There is always some hot story the media is running with.

Currently we’ve got an eye to the Winter Olympics and the recent terrorism in Russia, then there’s the Target security breach (which will have long-term legs, given the extended effects of this issue) and of course always a favorite, the pop-culture stuff like the Kanye-Kim Christmas gifts (that purse, really?)

What happens if there’s breaking news that you can comment on? Have you ever watched a story and thought, “Wait, I could add to this conversation.” So, do you just sit by and hope someone will call you? No! You take action. But how?

Well, first, it’s important to get into the conversation. Especially if it’s on your topic or within your area of expertise.

If you can lend insight to a subject that’s being widely discussed on social media, covered on television or hotly debated on your favorite cable talk show, then it might be worth getting yourself out there.

Stop the Presses! Here are a few tips to hook your story to the latest breaking news topic:

1)   Blog on it

If you have a blog that has any kind of a readership, and even if you don’t, be sure to blog on it.

A blog is a great place to share your opinion on the subject and even (when appropriate) offer a solution.

2)   Twitter

The first thing you should be doing (even before you start blogging) is hopping on Twitter and joining the conversation via the hashtag (or hashtags) that are being used. You can find these easily by doing a search.

Posting to the hashtags, maybe even referencing your post, could be a great way to drive consumer and media interest to your topic and your blog. Keep in mind that the media is on Twitter and they just might find you!

3)   Blog comment

Don’t have an active blog? Or want to enhance your current post with some additional fodder? Then why not head to some high-traffic blogs that are discussing this topic and start posting your viewpoint? You never know where it could take you.

At the very least, you could get some traffic back to your site.

4)   Share your blog post

If you blog on this, you need to share it, so be sure to add links to this on all your social sites and use the hashtag(s) identified with this story to help pull more eyes to your post.

5)   Contact your local media
One of the best ways to get local media interested in you is to offer them a local angle on a national story.

Let’s say we’re addressing the fear of traveling to the Winter Olympics, or perhaps protecting yourself against ID theft, these are both good stories to spin locally if you have the expertise.

6)   Contact national media

If you have a subject that’s drawing national attention and your message is significant or different enough to pitch to a national show, then get out there and start pitching. Remember: with so many shows on the air all competing for audience attention they’re all looking for a new and different angle.

Be sure you have a strong subject line, especially if it’s a major news story because you know they’re getting a lot of pitches and you’ll need to stand out.

7)   Make sure you’re getting HARO 

HARO is a newsletter that arrives as often as three times a day and it’s packed with media leads. If there’s a hot story there will be a media person on HARO looking for someone to comment on it.

8)   Get Media Alerts

Make sure you *always* have your keywords in alert systems like or (we used to use Google alerts but they’ve been dwindling in their effectiveness). You want to be aware of who’s saying what about your topic.

Also, during non-breaking news times this is a good way to get to know media that covers your story and network with them, so that when a breaking story hits, they already know you.

Breaking news doesn’t have to leave you, your story, or your book in the dust. So often authors tell me they see “experts” on TV and they feel they can do better. Well, now’s your chance.

The next time a breaking news topic hits the airwaves, jump on it. You just never know what could happen!

photo credit: One Way Stock via photopin cc

Penny Sansevieri
Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She is the author of twelve books, including How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon and Red Hot Internet Publicity.
Penny Sansevieri
Penny Sansevieri
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  1. Great advice. I’ve actually done this with non-news related topic with success. I’m going to join in on the conversation for future blog posts and see where it takes me.

  2. Love this post, Penny.
    David Meerman Scott coined the term “newsjacking” which says it beautifully. It’s a great way for authors to get attention for their books.