When your goal is to become a Media Darling, you must create campaigns to go after Earned Media coverage. After you have pitched an idea, there is a process that takes place which looks like this: They may decide it’s not for them and respond with “no,” or they may ghost you, or they may come back and say, “yes,” and tell you that they’re interested in doing a story.
The media person spends the time between your pitching your idea and their affirmative response doing a search on you and taking a look at your online presence.
Here is what they are looking for:
Other media: Have you been interviewed or featured in other news outlets? If so, this tells the media person that you’ve already jumped through some hoops, you’re credible, and other media professionals have found you worthy of saying yes to. You have experience.
Suggestion: Because you know they’re going to look, have media logos and links to your stories on your website and be sure they’re easy to find. Include a link to your Media Room in your initial pitch.
Thought leadership: This is a phrase that is terribly overused, but basically you want to be sure that your website, blog, social and other channels clearly share your voice. What do you say, how are you unique, and how do you demonstrate your expertise?
Suggestion: Be sure that your brand is consistent across all channels including your voice. Be sure you’re able to express how you’re unique from all the other experts out there that they could interview instead.
Followers and fans: They want to know you’re going to share an interview or piece with others, so that they, too, can increase their reach. Having a huge following isn’t always essential. I have seen top-tier media do interviews with people who have a very modest following, but the potential interviewees have a unique and interesting perspective that media believes their audience will love. Having a big following of engaged people does say something about you, your book, and its message however.
Suggestion: Building an audience and a fan base never stops. Keep at it.
Engagement: Engaged fans talk to each other. Engaged fans share. Engaged fans say positive things (not always, but often). Engaged fans buy. Plus, the media wants to be sure you have legitimate followers and you didn’t go through the process of trying to buy an audience.
Suggestion: Do your best to have a community that talks to one another and to you. It’s up to you to demonstrate this and get involved with your own community.
That’s what media is looking for when deciding if they want to interview you.
Below are 5 things to have in place when becoming a Media Darling:
- Start building up your body of thought leadership content. Whether the vehicle you choose is a blog, podcast, your video channel, or something else, make sure you have a unique voice that you are expressing well.
- Create a strong bio. I recommend two bios: One is a shorter bio that a host would read to introduce you on the show. You get to create that, so put some thought into it. A longer bio also includes information about your experience, your education, and some personal facts to round you out as an individual.
- Professional headshot. While it’s true we live in a day and age where everyone is a photographer and even phone cameras are excellent, it is still worth it to get a professional headshot. You want photos with a high resolution and a lower resolution; one that is very professional looking while another can be a bit more casual for those media opportunities where that would be more appropriate.
- Create your Media Room on your site. Your Media Room is where the media goes to get the elements they need to plan a story or segment. Photos, bios, interview questions and topics, and links to other interviews are all important to have.
- Make sure your brand is visually consistent. I mentioned this before and it’s worth mentioning again. Consistency is everything. It’s too easy to end up all over the place with no one really knowing who you are and what you stand for. Make sure it’s obvious and consistent.
And finally, here are some of the many places where you want to be visible online with a consistent brand (visual, message, voice) and consistent activity:
- Email list
- Landing page/opt-in offer
- Profiles on social networks
- Engagement on social media
Don’t leave these things to chance. Now that you know the media is going to look at your digital footprint when you pitch them, there really is no excuse not to be ready. Follow the suggestions above and you’ll be well on your way to becoming that Media Darling. If you already have many of these suggestions in place, then see how much more you can improve what you have. We can always do and be better.
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