Keeping It Simple

When pitching a story idea to journalists, simplify.

In the past few weeks I’ve been talking to Christian journalists. It’s always a joy, but not always easy.

And the biggest reminder and takeaway: keep it simple. One primary message, one compelling angle, but just one.

They can always ask for more info and many times they do.

I’ve been talking to them more than usual because it’s NRB preparation time and I’ve been one of probably hundreds of PR people all busily trying to interest this tribe into interviewing and helping to publicize their books, ministries, and causes. All in just a few days.

It’s a microcosm of the interactions that go on 24/7 in the news industry as everyone competes to be noticed.

There’s a lot more to it, but in order to get a chance to engage a journalist and interest them in your book or cause, you have to catch their interest and stand out among the rest of the noise. I’m guilty of getting this wrong quite often but this time of year I can feel my skills resharpening.

Also please remember that primary message needs to be what serves other people, not you.

If your cause is human trafficking or child poverty, no problem. But if you are really seeking to build a business or mostly just want to hit the best seller list, you need an angle that is not self-serving in order to succeed. So for Christian media (and some general media) one aimed at being helpful to other people is a good way to go. There are other types of news angles of course but none of them is “buy my book.”

Forgive me if that’s a little too blunt but today I’m in a hurry because NRB is finally here. I’m traveling this weekend to Dallas for the 2021 NRB Convention, aka National Religious Broadcasters Convention – now rebranding as the largest gathering of Christian communicators, spanning traditional radio, TV and print plus various versions of online publications, podcasts, social media—and churches.

Those of you paying attention may have already figured out how much I love being a part of this tradeshow and taking authors there with me.

After the debacle that was 2020, I think people are going to be more thrilled than cautious to finally whip off the masks and greet one another.

Next week I’ll be back with photos taken at NRB and maybe some new things I learned. Then soon I’ll have more info about Buoyancy’s planned participation in another event of interest to Christian authors – the Christian Product Expo sponsored by the Christian Retail Association (August 2021).

Originally sent as an email to the Buoyancy community on June 18, 2021.
Joni Sullivan Baker
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