Ready To Get Seen And Heard in The Media?
Getting seen and heard in the media is something so many aspire to, although to be honest it really can feel like a daunting task to achieve.
Today i’m so excited to share the fantastic advice and guest blog from BBC Radio Presenter, PR and media expert Gemma Ray on how to do just that …read on…
Stand In The Spotlight And Put Yourself Forward
I virtually ‘met’ Sarah after she bought my book, Self Discipline: a how-to guide to conquer procrastination and achieve your goals in 10 steps. She signed up to my mailing list and then joined a 12 week self discipline mastermind I ran on Facebook. I have loved watching Sarah work so diligently and focus on her goals. It has been extremely inspiring to watch. Especially as she is a busy business owner and mum of two.
Thanks to a friendship formed on Facebook, Sarah asked if I’d guest write for her blog. Even though I’ve written a book, that was very much a passion project and my expertise lies in PR and marketing. I am also a BBC Radio Presenter so I get to sit on the other side of the media and know what us journalists look for in a business story.
So with Sarah’s Light Up Your Brand business message about learning to light up your business sales, I thought I’d share my top tips for standing in the spotlight and putting yourself forward in your local media.
1. Who is your local media?
Get to know them and support them! Whether it’s radio, local TV, magazines or newspapers – ﬁnd out who your local media are. Get copies of free local commercial community magazines and newspapers from supermarkets and other community venues like leisure centres. Take note of the following and if you want to take this step further and save time on future PR campaigns, as you do this research start to compile a spreadsheet with relevant contacts and phone numbers/email addresses.
- Who is the editor or the chief features editor/reporter. Take a note of the journalist names in the article. Find them on Twitter and LinkedIn. Do a little stalk. What sectors are they interested in?
- What regular features are in these magazines? Are there interviews with business owners? Industry speciﬁc sections that might relate to your business? Event guides and listings that your business events could go into?
- Look at the websites of all these publications. Are they busy and populated regularly with stories? Take note of the journalist names again. Those populating websites may be online speciﬁc. Do they replicate stories in print and online?
- Enquire about advertising. Rates for local newspaper websites can be really competitive, great for SEO if they’re busy websites and good for exposure. You can work with a journalist for relatively small fees to create a piece of content that is an advertorial and with clicks through to your business
Depending on your line of business, you may wish to take out an advert on the local radio or TV. You might want to look at outdoor advertising in your local area on billboards, bus stops and prominent locations with high footfall or passing traﬃc. The more advertising you buy, the less you pay.
With radio advertising, you can choose to pay for a straight advert where you control all the copy and the sound of it, or you may choose to partner with the radio station on a promotional campaign that is endorsed by the presenters and becomes part of the programming.lists from all over the world request for business owners to give their opinion on diﬀerent articles.
2. Search the #journorequest hashtag On twitter journalists from all over the world request for business owners to give their opinion on diﬀerent articles. Many use the #journorequest hashtag. Follow it and check it regularly. I advise checking ﬁrst thing in the morning, lunch and teatime if you can. The trick is to act fast and when you check it regularly, there’s not too much to go through but you might strike gold. Depending on if the subject matter is relevant and if you’re conﬁdent enough, many of these will involve a fee and potential photo shoot. Just be wary that issues that may be very personal could be aired for all to read! So select your pitches wisely. Take note of how the journalist has asked to be contacted and give them as much information as possible.
3. Create a one page bio for yourself and your business My show on BBC Radio Lancashire features real people who have overcome adversity and have a great story to tell. I recently appealed for guests to speak on the show for the next quarter and was astounded at the poor quality of responses I got from potential guests.
- Don’t just sent people a link to a page. It’s lazy. Respond properly with a quick round up of yourself, what you can talk about and why you’re a good person to feature. Follow that up with the 1 page bio of yourself.
Ideally include the following in your one page bio:
- A recent picture of you. If you’re going to send this oﬀ to the TV and they’re expecting a blonde 30 year old ﬂawless woman but a greying 50 year old turns up that’s not good. Don’t catﬁsh! I know we all look better in our proﬁle pics but make sure the one on your bio reﬂects who you are but looks like you!
- Links to any video content of you speaking. YouTube links of you talking at your desk is ﬁne. Or links to a podcast recording. You might even want to record a quick hello message and your story that you can share with journalists.
When I’m looking to secure guests I need to know they can articulate themselves well. I need to know how they sound. There is a wonderful person I admire in business very much. To read their story on paper you’d be like “YES we HAVE to get them in!” But watch a video of this person and you’re tearing your hair out trying to understand what they say. That’s a no from a presenter perspective. I can’t have my audience turn oﬀ because a guest is a lazy fast talker and won’t be able to be understood.
- Your website address, any social media links and links to your book or product if you are an author or retailer
- Link to an electronic press kit, if you have one. This should contain images of you and your business where possible, press releases or press cuttings, any marketing material and client testimonials/case studies
4. Realise it might not be all about you I have this phrase I like to use in PR. It’s WSAGAS (pronounced “Wass-ah-gass”!) It stands for;
Why Should Anyone Give A Shit?
It’s great that you’ve got a new programme launching at an early bird price.
It’s fab that you’re running a competition.
But why should anyone give a shit? The media aren’t there to be your free sales executives and give you free airtime and column inches. You need to ﬁnd the story that people will give a shit about.
Got over almost becoming homeless and your kids living oﬀ Smart Price beans for a year to build a six ﬁgure business? That’s a story.
Got a client who has achieved XX, XX and XX?
That’s the story.
Got a sentence to add to a really good piece of journalism about something in your ﬁeld of expertise? Great, go do it.
If you’re not paying for advertorial, the content might not necessarily be all about you. For example in the case of your clients being featured in the media. You’ll be lucky to get one single mention. That’s completely normal. That’s not the point of PR though. It’s about bragging rights and kudos and credibility. Changed a client’s life and put them forward for a story then only got a mere two words in about you? It’s still valuable. Even without the mention of you! You take that article and you splash it bloody everywhere for people to see and know it was your doing and your work.
5. Get on the phone and be a human There’s nothing worse than someone who blanket email bombs a whole news department with their latest business breakthrough must-print story.
Here’s what happens when you do this…
The email gets sent to a whole department.
Sarah picks it up on a Monday and decides it looks quite interesting. She does a bit of digging and research and pops it in her diary to follow up with on the Wednesday because she’s out the oﬃce tomorrow.
On the Tuesday Kim (who has a Monday oﬀ) has been sent the same email. It’s sent via BCC of course so she’s got no clue the rest of the sodding oﬃce have got it too. She goes on her own little research journey.
Two people each working on the same thing. Who runs with the story? Who did the better research? It just causes problems.
Don’t be lazy and carpet bomb with an email. Be bespoke. Be personal.
Start with a phone call. If you’ve done your research and completed point 1, you’ll know exactly who to talk to. Call that journalist, run the story by them, ask them if it is of interest. If it is, follow up with the email with the press release and all relevant links, pics and details IMMEDIATELY. If they say it isn’t of interest ask who would be the right person to speak to or if there is a way to rework the angle so that it ﬁts with their objectives.
Always include an image in the email and label it properly with what and who it is. If more than one person, label it Left to Right… and the names of everyone in order as they appear on the photo. This is important for photo archives and pulling up images in the future.
Always copy your press release from the word doc or PDF and paste into the body of your email along with attaching a document. If a journalist is out an about it might be easier to read rather than downloading a document.
Wait an hour or two and follow up again with a phone call to ask what they thought and if they need anything else or would like to interview you.
6. React quickly Breaking news on TV about an international egg shortage and you’re a chicken farmer? Get on the phone to your local TV, radio and newspaper journalists and let them know you’re available for interview.
OK that’s a crap example, I know there’s no chicken farmers reading this but you know what I mean! If you’re talking about a news article to others and you’re passionate about it, it relates to your business or you personally and you have something worthwhile to say – get onto your local press.
Get ready to drop everything if this is the track you go down. Film crews and radio broadcasters could be at your door within the hour. Be prepared for them to move your furniture around to get the best shot! Don’t wear stripes or anything too busy, brush your hair, paint your lipstick on and get ready for your close up!
You might also be asked to travel to your nearest studio. Say yes! Don’t ﬂap. Don’t ask too many needy “I’m nervous” questions. Try not to let the nerves show otherwise they might cut you short. Deep breaths. Nobody is gonna die. You’re just getting your 15 mins of fame and you’ll be amazed at how the exposure can positively impact your business.