You’re watching television and you see an interview with one of your competitors. You click to read an article and someone else in your industry is being quoted. You clinch your teeth. Your body tenses up. You’re filled with frustration because after all, you know much more about the industry than they do. The difference is, they know how to play the game of getting booked in the media.
Whether you are an author, entrepreneur or expert, being a regularly featured guest expert in the media is one of the biggest credibility builders for your brand. It’s an implied endorsement that tells people you are smart, trustworthy and a true expert in your field. The perception is if the media turns to you for insights, you must know what you are talking about.
Unlike advertising or social media that is available to anyone, again, the media is only open to those who know how the game works.
Here are six tips to help you get the media coverage you deserve.
Be an expert
If you watch any of the big national television shows (and even smaller ones), you see one interview after another with experts, people who are there to shed light on a topic. Where most people go wrong is they make their pitch a very self-serving advertisement about them, their book or business. Publicity is the opposite of advertising. It’s not about you. It’s about being the expert voice and educating the audience.
Tie your message into the news of the day
One of the best ways to generate media coverage is to tie your message to current events. What hot topics are happening in your area of expertise that the media will be covering? Offer yourself as a source to comment on these current events. If it’s a breaking news story in your industry, the key is to act quickly. When news breaks, the media needs sources. If they can’t find you when they need you, they will find someone else.
One of my clients is an airline consultancy. So, maybe the story of the day is about holiday travel, rising oil prices or an incident involving an airplane. As soon as we catch wind of it, we are out there pitching them to offer perspective on what is going on.
Create new angles
You can’t just sit around waiting for news to happen, so it’s imperative that you also create your own story angles to approach journalists with. What trends are you noticing? What are some big myths or misconceptions around your industry that you can speak about? Do you have a list of do’s and don’ts that would make for a good story? When it comes to creating story angles, be unique, fresh and stay away from the same old topics that have been covered over and over already.
What most people don’t realize about many magazines and online news outlets is that they are always looking for informative and original articles to use from outside contributors (Just like this one!). Write an informative article on a topic in your area of expertise full of useful tips and ideas, and then offer the article to magazine and online editors. They usually won’t pay you for it, but make sure to include a short bio with a link back to your webpage that will run at the end of the article. This is a fantastic way to get your name out there and be seen as an expert.
Know how to write for the media
One of the key skills you need to work with the media is being a strong writer and more importantly, writing for the audience you are going after. Local television news, for example, is written on a third-grade level. Keep it simple and stay away from industry jargon. On the other hand, let’s say you are a financial advisor pitching an industry publication or CNBC, for example, then of course it is acceptable to write on a higher level and speak the language of the audience. Either way, always triple check for errors.
Don’t give up
Publicity is a process that takes time and is often filled with rejection of your ideas from reporters, editors and producers. Unfortunately, I see so many people who throw in the towel too quickly. Even I have days where journalists aren’t biting on my pitches, but that’s just part of the game. Keep pitching! Just because you don’t get any interest on the first few tries, don’t give up. Change your pitch, find a new angle or say something different and keep at it. It takes time and persistence.
You know you are an expert in your field. Isn’t it time you let the world know it, too? With a little practice, creativity and persistence, you can be seen as more credible, become the “go-to” expert and be synonymous with your industry. There’s a reason Bill Gates said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on PR.”
Bruce Serbin is a former TV news journalist and an eight-time national award-winning publicist who specializes in creating national media campaigns for authors, entrepreneurs and experts. He is founder of Serbin Media, Inc., and author of the book “30 Reasons The Media is Ignoring You.” www.serbinmedia.com