Difficult Times Call For Sensitivity When Pitching The Media

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The first half of 2020 has provided us with some unusual times.
For months, a handful of extraordinary events have dominated the news cycle. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the major culprit, but more recently protests across the nation took center stage.
So, when two of our News & Experts team members – Miguel Casellas-Gil and Ashley Pontius – participated in a recent webinar, it was no surprise that they fielded variations of this question: Should publicity efforts be put on hold until the world returns to something more approximating normal?
The short answer: No.
This is actually a good time to step forward to share your expertise and build credibility for both your personal and professional brands. You just need to do it the right way, and that’s one of the things Miguel and Ashley talked about during the webinar.
But, because these can be sensitive topics, you need to be similarly sensitive in your approach to pitching yourself to the media. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you do so:
  • Figure out where you fit in. Yes, news has been dominated in recent months by a limited number of topics, but these topics are huge and touch so many aspects of our lives. The media have approached these issues from different angles, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. There are health angles, business angles, economic angles, legal angles, homelife angles, and many others.  And that’s where you come in, whether you are an attorney, a financial professional, a doctor, a psychologist, a corporate consultant or some other profession. No matter what you do, there is a place for you in the conversation. Our team keeps track of the news every day, looking for ways to connect our clients to what’s happening, and you should do the same for yourself. At the same time, though, don’t force a connection. If you try to wedge yourself in where there’s no logical relation to your expertise, it will appear as though you’re trying to take advantage of what’s happening. Instead, find the best and right fit for you.
  • Focus on your expertise, not the controversy. These are polarizing times, with nearly everything taking on political overtones. But, unless politics is your message, it’s best to avoid getting snared into the controversies. Here’s an example of this in action: One of our clients who coaches business executives recently had the opportunity to comment for an article about Facebook employees who staged a walkout when CEO Mark Zuckerberg declined to address posts from President Trump that some people viewed as inflammatory. That’s potentially a political minefield, right? Initially, the client submitted comments that touched on politics, even though she said she didn’t want to get political. We explained that the reporter just wanted her advice to Zuckerberg for addressing his employees’ concerns and there was no need to address those controversies.  We helped her edit her comments so that they focused on her message and her expertise.
If you want to hear the other insights offered by Miguel and Ashley on the webinar, you can check it out at: https://vimeo.com/426021715
As we go through these difficult times, remember that you can continue to pitch yourself to the media and comment on the news and trends of the day; you just need to do so with empathy and sensitivity.
A little thoughtfulness and care can go a long way in helping you accomplish your goals!
Tactfully yours!
P.S. If you want professional advice on getting the most out of your publicity efforts, give us a call at 727-443-7115 or simply reply to this email.
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