One piece of PR advice that I have shared with clients over the years is that they need to take advantage of every media opportunity they possibly can no matter how big or small.
Why? Because the media follow the media – or in more generic terms, one thing leads to another!
Here’s what I mean: Members of the media routinely check what topics other members of the media are reporting about and who they are using as sources. If they see that some other media outlet has made use of your expertise, they are more likely to view you as credible and someone they might want to turn to as an authority on your subject.
Just within the last week we experienced a terrific example of this phenomenon when one of our EMSI clients wrote an opinion piece we got published in the New York Daily News.
After the piece appeared, our client was sitting down to dinner with his wife when his cellphone rang.
On the line was someone from MSNBC, calling to check on whether he might be available to be interviewed for the network’s “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” show.
The reason he made their list of potential guests: Someone at MSNBC had seen that New York Daily News article. One thing had led to another!
So with that in mind, what are some steps you can take to improve the chances of getting the media to follow the media that’s following you? Here are a few:
- Be prepared to say “Yes!” to interview requests. You’re right! I’m back to the advice I opened this piece with, but it’s an important bit of advice. The first step for a good publicity campaign is to get on the playing field. If you aren’t in the game, then nothing is going to happen. In my experience, the people who have some of the best publicity campaigns are those willing to snatch every opportunity that arises, from the local weekly newspaper to major broadcast operations. Momentum can’t build if you don’t get the ball rolling and keep it rolling.
- Be willing to step outside your core message. Often, much to our frustration, clients turn down media interview requests because they don’t see the reporter’s angle as the right fit for them. These clients have specific messages they want to push, and though they are qualified to discuss the topic the reporter is calling about, they view doing so as getting “off message” or being outside their comfort zone. So they pass. I think that’s a mistake. Not only do they miss out on another opportunity to get their name out there, but with a little skill they can steer the interview toward what it is they really want to say.
- Link your topic to current events. This one might be the most important of all! At EMSI, we regularly follow what’s happening in the news to see if we can tie a client’s message to something that’s trending. Is there a change in Social Security that a financial planner could discuss? Is there new medical research that a doctor could weigh in on? You can do this too by following Google Trends or other online resources that will keep you abreast of what everyone is talking about. Then you can pitch yourself to the media using a breaking news angle. One major reason our client drew the attention of MSNBC is because his New York Daily News article connected his message about branding to the current presidential election.
Another thing worth keeping in mind is you need to stay persistent in your efforts and not expect quick results. Unless you happen to be incredibly lucky, one article is unlikely to do the trick. The more you take advantage of opportunities, the more your name is out there and the better the odds that the larger media operations will take notice.
Of course, when that happens, you better be ready!
Media opportunities don’t knock every day!
P.S. If you need professional help in getting your message out to the media, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 215.