Getting Media Opportunities – Without Being Opportunistic – In The Time Of Coronavirus

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COVID-19 has changed the daily lives of you, me and people around the globe, and also has raised questions about whether people should continue to promote their personal and business brands during these difficult times.

With those very questions in mind, I was asked recently to participate as a panelist in a webinar titled “Authority Marketing in a COVID-19 World” where we shared insights with CEOs, professionals and others about what they should – and should not – be doing.

Also on the webinar were Adam Witty, founder and CEO of Advantage/ForbesBooks, and Rusty Shelton, publisher of ForbesBooks and senior marketing strategist for Advantage/ForbesBooks.

The webinar proved a great success, and I thought it might be helpful to share with you some of the key points we discussed because they are relevant to leaders in almost every industry.

One of the first things I mentioned in the webinar is that, while flipping through my local newspaper, I came across one small item that particularly resonated with me because it applies directly to what my team and I do every day as we reach out to the media on behalf of our clients.

The article reported that, according to Nielsen, these are good days for radio and TV news talk programs, which are reaching more people than they have in years. That increase in media consumption is because (a) people are stuck at home unable to engage in their normal activities and (b) everyone is hungry for the latest local, national and international news on the pandemic. So, when someone asks me whether they should continue their PR efforts during this time, my answer is yes, but with the understanding that it needs to be done in a thoughtful way.

There is a window of opportunity to engage with the media and their larger-than-normal audience if you have knowledge to share with the American public about this latest chapter in their lives. What knowledge might that be? Well, clearly those in the medical professions can speak to the virus and the efforts to care for people and bring it under control.

But the coronavirus is affecting us in such a widespread way that experts in all areas of life have something valuable to offer. One unusual example: We have a client who is a pitching coach and consultant for a number of Major League Baseball organizations. Our team secured interviews for him on numerous TV and radio sports shows offering advice on how athletes of all ages can continue to train and stay in shape when their sports have been brought to a halt.

Of course, making use of this opportunity doesn’t mean you should be opportunistic. You don’t want to approach it in an exploitative way because that would quickly backfire. But, if you have something valuable to share with the media’s readers, viewers and listeners, they will want to hear from you.

As you reach out, keep in mind some of the things the media is looking for:

  • Credentialed experts. Your credentials are going to play a key role in grabbing the media’s attention. As I mentioned earlier, people in the medical professions are an obvious fit right now, but they aren’t the only ones who can offer their expertise. Businesses are feeling a significant impact so a business consultant could speak to those issues. Financial professionals can speak to what’s happening with people’s retirement plans. Human resources experts could discuss issues related to the workforce. A supply-chain expert could talk about the problems stores face in getting products on the shelves. Think about what your credentials are and how they relate to some aspect of what’s happening now.
  • Quality content. It’s one thing to have expertise; it’s another to be able to make use of that expertise to provide the media with useful content. To be successful, you need to give well thought out answers to the media’s questions. Unless you supply information that they see as valuable to their audiences, your responses aren’t going to get published. As an example, we have two clients in the same field who are experiencing markedly different results because of this. One actually has better credentials, but is seeing less success because his responses simply aren’t as thoughtful and informative as the other person’s.
  • A timely response. People in the media are often on tight deadlines. In many cases, they need to talk with you now; not tomorrow, not next week. It’s their schedule, not yours, that counts. If you don’t get back to them in a timely fashion, they will find another expert who will.

If you would like to learn more on this topic, the webinar is available at:

One other thing I would add: Yes, what’s happening in the news right now provides an opportunity for you to engage with the media to build your personal and business brands. But there’s something more going on here as well.

You have valuable expertise and information that can really help people. Across the globe there is so much fear, misinformation, and lack of information. You can help fill that information void.

If you do, I am confident the rewards will come back to you in so many ways.

Stay healthy!


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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