Imagine this. You’re sitting in the green room at Fox News or MSNBC. You are being prepped by the producer. Your heart is racing. Your palms are sweating. You make the walk down the long hallway to the live studio. You get the cue that you are two minutes away from going on the national television news. And you’re live.
That experience is something that many business owners dream of. Just one time on set can change a person’s life forever. I know what you are thinking. What are the chances that I could be one of those people? I say that it’s very much possible, but it’s a long road and a lot of work.
You can not expect to appear on the national news if you do not have a solid portfolio. By that I mean if you want to be an expert, you better have an arsenal of blogs, video blogs and a strong social media following. The media wants an expert who is constantly sharing content in their industry and stands out above their competition. It’s all about written and video content distribution.
When you are writing or doing video blogs, include other business leaders. They will be thrilled that you included them and will be inclined to share your content.
Use multiple platforms to share you information. LinkedIn, Medium, Facebook, Twitter, Facebook Live’s, Youtube, Vimeo, Instagram, and Snapchat. Plus, find industry related publications that you can be a contributing writer for. This is all a lot of work, but not only will it help establish you as a subject matter expert to the media, but you are bound to get new clients out of it too.
You will want to start establishing relationships with your local media. Not only will you get local press, but you are getting experience in speaking to the media. The more you appear in the media, the more the public and the national news outlets will see you as an expert. It’s all about baby steps.
Follow the News
Make it a priority to check the news and topics in your industry every morning, afternoon and evening. When there is a trending topic the news is going to cover it.
For example, after the Presidential election, the news looked at all angles. They were talking to business owners about how Donald Trump will help their businesses. If you are a financial advisor, they would want to talk to you about why the market is down after the election and what the country can expect moving forward.
When there are news stories that you can speak on, this is your opportunity to be the expert in the public’s eye.
It’s all about the pitch. Once you are established, have some media experience under your belt, it’s time to pitch the big dogs. First, find out who the producers are for the major media outlets that you want to be on. It takes some time and investigating, but the contacts are out there.
If there is a news story that you can add your expertise to, it’s time to reach out to the media. But, you have to do it fast. If they are talking about it today, you must get to them today. The news cycle is fast.
When you are writing your pitch talk about the news story and how you can add value to it. Introduce yourself and write a couple of bullet points about what you can talk about. But think like their viewers. Why should the audience care? How does it affect them? Do you have something unique to add? Remember, it’s not about your company, it’s about the value you as the expert can add to the story.
Keep the pitch short and to the point. Email producers individually and come up with a catchy subject line.
Don’t stop with email. Use social media to your advantage. Tweet and Facebook the media outlet and the reporters who have been covering the story. You will get to them faster on social than through emails.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Getting national news coverage takes time. A lot of time. You could send a hundred pitches out to thousands of producers and get no response. But, it only takes one.
If you do get the call to appear on the national news, keep in mind that news is constantly changing. Don’t get discouraged if your interview gets postponed or even canceled. Just keep plugging away and you will get your moment to shine.
Alison Podworski has always been fascinated by the news; watching it, reporting it and now pitching it. Alison began her career in the television news industry right out of college in New York and quickly moved up in the Springfield, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island television markets. She covered everything from the September 11th terrorist attacks to Presidential campaigns. Alison later transitioned into the marketing and public relations side by working with clients in industries from banking and insurance to medicine. Alison also worked with ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover Suffield, CT edition in planning the cast and crew after party. Through hard work and experience in the news industry, Alison garnered national, regional and local press for clients. In 2014, Alison opened Alison May Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm specializing in PR and social media. Through her experience in the news industry and corporate world, Alison continues to garner national, regional and local press for clients. A native of Western Massachusetts, Alison lives locally with her husband and three beautiful young girls.