Seven Ways to Jump on Breaking News and Get You (and Your Book) into the Conversation

by | Aug 3, 2009 | Book Marketing Basics

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Is it just me or does it seem like there’s more breaking news than ever? In recent weeks we’ve seen numerous stories with everything ranging from Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett passing away to Sarah Palin’s surprising resignation. What happens if there’s breaking news that you can comment on? Do you just sit by and hope someone will call you? No way! You take action. So how do you do that? Well, first off, 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 covered on television or hotly debated on your favorite cable talk show, then it might be worth getting yourself out there. Here are a few tips to hook your story on 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) Bookmark your blog post. You can do this through sites like DIGG, Delicious, StumbleUpon, and Indian Pad. Bookmarking is a way of adding links to your blog post and sharing it with the world. It’s a simple process of getting to these sites, creating an account and listing your blog post. All in all, it takes about 10 minutes per post to set this up. Well worth it as it will help to drive traffic and interest to your message.

2) Syndicate an article: after you’ve done the blog post, write an article (perhaps with a slightly different take or stance) and syndicate it through sites like or If the topic has legs, it’s likely the media will be talking about it for weeks so having some content out there could be helpful to your message and a way to get their attention.

3) 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. So let’s say we’re addressing the deaths of two major pop icons, and you have written a book on historic figures. Would either of these two people be considered “historic” per se? Well, that’s debatable and perhaps a good subject for a segment. When does someone or something become historic, and how do locals feel about this? There’s your local angle.

4) 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. The only thing they can say is no, and if you’re right for the topic and you’ve pitched effectively, you’re likely to get a yes.

5) 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.

6) Get Google Alerts: make sure you *always* have your keywords in Google Alerts so you can 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 start networking with them, so that when a breaking story hits, they already know you.

7) Twitter on it: While it’s hard sometimes to separate conversations on Twitter, there’s a great system to separate out topics by using a hashtag (#) – it’s as simple as finding the big story and creating a hashtag for it, so for Farrah Fawcett it might have been #farrah. Start a hashtag which helps to identify your story, or search the hashtags on Twitter to find out what hashtag your topic is being categorized under, then start twittering on it. Direct folks to your blog, to other sites covering this, direct them to anything that will tie into this topic. The media is on Twitter and they just might find 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.


  1. Susan Burnash

    This is a great article. I would like to link to it from my Purple Duck University Blog.

    We will be updating our blog after a brief haitus and this info is applicable to many kinds of businesses beyond authors.

    Wonderful work!

    Susan Burnash

    Purple Duck Marketing

  2. Irving Karchmar

    And always leave intelligent comments where you can, with your book’s website. You never know who will click on it 🙂

  3. Penny

    Isn’t that the truth! Engage, engage, engage — get out there and communicate on blogs, great idea!

  4. Mary Jane Hurley Brant

    In my early days I was a legal secretary and loved it. Years of college and grad school turned me into a psychotherapist with a specialty in grief which I practiced for 29 years. Oh, did I mention that I wrote a book? Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance Press published my book, When Every Day Matters, last October. Sarah believes it will be the classic on the grief journey and finding hope again.

    But a message that helps won’t do anything for anyone without a platform and this is where Penny Sansevieri’s Red Hot Internet Publicity helped me become a pretty good marketer, my now new adventure! Her book makes it clear, fun and exciting to be an internet marketer. As time permits I implement every idea she suggests whether in her book, on her site or at her conferences.

    Get the book, get on board my friends. Penny will make you a star!

  5. Penny

    Hey Mary Jane – WOW what an endorsement. Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed the book. I love your work – Gratefully, Penny


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