Photo Credit: Joanne McCall
Creating a media mindset is like preparing for any other important project, whether it’s getting ready to climb up a mountain (nice metaphor, don’t you think?), preparing for a vacation, taking on a new client, or getting yourself organized. To be successful, you have to prepare for it. When it comes to media, preparing your mind for the upcoming work ahead increases your chance of success many times over. Let’s take a look at some important media mindset tips, including:
Media Mindset #1: Realize you’ll have to make time.
How often during the day do you comment to yourself and others about how busy you are? And how often do you hear others say it about their own lives? Everyone is too busy. If you have a mission and you’re ambitious, the demands on your time and attention can seem endless, not only with regard to business, but family obligations and friends, not to mention your own hobbies and interests. In fact, “I’m so busy” is heard so often it’s become cliche and is no longer a good excuse. But I digress…If you’re ready to embark on a media book campaign of any kind, you have to make time for it and in your mind you must be ready for what will be required of you.
Media Mindset #2: Be ready.
Being ready for media is a little like showing your house when you’re trying to sell it. You never know when the next request will come in or what it will require, so you have to be ready for anything.
Your publicist will help with the development of your key messages, create and write the press kit, create and do the pitching, book the interviews, pull together whatever pieces are required, and let you know the details. However, even though she is doing those things for you, it doesn’t mean there is less for you to do, which brings us to…
Media Mindset #3: Busy = Success.
If I’m doing my job well, you will be busy. Not all the time because the opportunities tend to come in waves, but there will be times when the wave is crashing in. As I pitch and land media opportunities for you, I will be coming to you for content. It might be in the form of a guest blog post or article, or perhaps an email interview in the form of a Q&A. You are the content expert, and therefore, you will be called upon as the expert and thought leader.
You’re embarking on a media campaign for your book, and that means it will take some of your time and attention. It’s important to remember that if you’re busy, the campaign is successful. Reframe it that way in your mind. Avoid becoming irritated when you’re called upon to create something. Remember, you want this attention and visibility and it will serve you for a long time to come.
Media Mindset #4: It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel like it.
That may sound harsh, but that’s simply the way it is. There will be times when you just don’t feel like doing an interview or writing an article. Maybe an interview is coming up in 10 minutes and you’re upset about something else. Or, you’re overwhelmed with stuff to do and now you have to write an article for some outlet. The truth is, it really doesn’t matter if we feel like doing something or not. You know you’re going to do it because you’re invested in this, so the time to prepare your mind is now. Make it easier on yourself and adopt a good attitude right now.
Media Mindset #5: Fire up your imagination and write your brilliant ideas down.
Rather than succumbing to overwhelm when you’re getting a lot of requests from media, begin right now, this very minute, to write down your ideas as they pop up in your mind. I suggest creating a folder or using OneNote or EverNote to capture them. Ideas might include article titles, blog post themes and topics, particular pitches that tie into the news of the day or the calendar, etc. Put all of them in one place so that when you’re looking for content ideas, you have a wealth of great possibilities just waiting for you. It’s very comforting and inspiring to open a file and see tons of your own great ideas just waiting for you. “Which one shall I write about today?” And then write about what excites you or speaks to the culture at this point in time.
Media Mindset #6: Have a good attitude.
There will be unexpected surprises and occasionally unexpected disappointments. That’s the nature of life, and certainly of media. You may be ready for a television or online camera appearance with a big outlet and suddenly there’s breaking news and you get bumped. It happens. You may be interviewed for a story in the New York Times or some other major media brand, and for some reason they cut you out of the story. I know it’s unfair, but it does happen and you should be aware of these somewhat rare possibilities. It isn’t the end of the world, although at the moment it may feel like it, but you will recover. It stings, but your very best bet is to be nice and gracious and ask if you can reschedule and come back another time–next week, perhaps? Or you can offer suggestions for a follow up story. What doesn’t work is to show anger or irritation. A little disappointment is OK, but graciousness is the key. No one wants to bump you, but it’s most likely out of their hands. It’s better all the way around if you take it like a good sport and help them get through it too by offering to come back, or whatever makes sense given the particular situation.
Media Mindset #7: Open your mind.
Don’t get all hung up on the size of the outlet or whether or not you and your friends have heard of it or not. This tip is important for a couple of reasons. First, if your goal is top-tier media, they often need to see that you’re getting coverage in secondary and tertiary tiers in order to feel comfortable approaching you as an expert. Second, because of the explosion of media due to the digital landscape, more and more media outlets are very niche driven. Just by the fact alone that the audience is niche means they’re going to be smaller than the big brands. However, very often the audience is much more involved in your particular content and therefore they’re often more action-oriented. You may get many more conversions, i.e., customers buying your book, in the niche outlets than in the top-tier ones. It seems counter intuitive, but I assure you this is often the case.
Media Mindset #8: Get media trained.
If you know me at all, you know that I harp on this one constantly. There is no room in our world today for you to be less than crystal clear about what your message is, what your soundbites are, and how you are able to move and influence others. That does not come naturally to anyone. Get media trained. It will help you in ways you truly can not imagine right now.
Media Mindset #9: Beware of the temptation to always want more.
If I’m honest, this is a tough one for me. I can graph this behavior because I have seen it happen so many times over the years. I think it’s safe to say it’s part of the human condition, but it’s something to watch out for. I have had stories in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal only to get a call within minutes asking, “What’s next?!! What’s going to be bigger??!!” When you are successful, give yourself and your publicist some time to relish and enjoy that accomplishment before beginning the climb up that next mountain. Even the best athletes require a little breathing and recovery time before tackling the next big goal. It’s good for authors too!
Media Mindset #10: Take time to celebrate.
This goes hand in hand with the last mindset tip. Every time you capture an interview, a feature, a review, a mention, or whatever, take a moment to take it in and celebrate. After all, success without fulfillment and enjoyment along the way is the biggest failure of all. Really. What is success if you don’t enjoy it? Still it is striking how many people really have not taken this to heart…yet.
Media Mindset #11: Your publicist is not your virtual assistant.
When it comes to media and doing interviews, there are a lot of details to keep track of. There are many strategies for staying organized so find one that works for you. One idea is to have a Google calendar that you and your publicist share so it’s clear when you are available, and what your scheduled commitments are. Store details so they’re immediately at your fingertips. Don’t be scrambling at the last minute before an interview for call-in details and other tidbits of information you need. You won’t be at your best for the show.
If you have a personal assistant to take care of all those details and manage you, then that’s fine, but your publicist will not be able to manage you at that level. She’ll make sure you have all the details, but it’s up to you to show up. Her job is to continue to find additional media opportunities for you and your book.
Adopting a media mindset will help you not only during your book campaign, but any time you’re going after coverage and visibility.
To your success!
P.S. I have a speaker page that isn’t live on my website yet. It’s still being tweaked. I am open to suggestions from you, however, so if you have any comments, please let me know. It’s right here.