Once during my early years in PR, I called the food editor of a prominent Chicago newspaper and pitched a story about the benefits of preparing and eating wild game. I went on and on about the subject until the editor politely interrupted with the following question:
“What’s the hook?”
“Um. Excuse me?” I replied
“What’s the hook?” she repeated.
I quickly got off the phone and consulted my boss, a PR whiz, for an explanation of what that question meant. I had never heard the word “hook” used in that context before.
“What she means,” my boss explained, “is to give her a reason why a story about wild game recipes is particularly interesting or relevant right now at this particular time.”
Is there a news connection? (i.e. duck discovered to be healthier than chicken in national health studies); A travel connection (i.e. new resort opens for hunting and cooking game); or perhaps a link to an upcoming holiday or event.
“Well next month is November,” I thought. “Maybe readers are sick of cooking the traditional turkey and might prefer a succulent pheasant, duck, or partridge instead. I have some original recipes to offer– definitely more exciting than your average turkey and gravy fare.
I called the editor back and re-worked the pitch. She was delighted with the Thanksgiving “hook” and a cover story ran the following week.
If you’re looking for timely hooks for promoting your book, check out these fun holidays and events, organized by month, in Chase’s Book of Events.