Have you noticed stories in the media and wondered why the journalist interviewed that expert and not you, when you work in a similar field? Having a solid media profile can do amazing things for your business, but not everyone gets on television or radio, or has their story told in newspapers or magazines.
So, what’s the secret to getting in the media? Sometimes it’s being in the right place at the right time, but mostly it’s through having a great story angle. The last thing a journalist wants to give you is a free ad. That’s not their job. Their role is to present interesting stories for their audience. If you can come up with an awesome idea for a story angle, you’re a long way towards getting the media interested in you.
The angle is the hook that turns your material from dry information or marketing material into something readers/viewers/listeners will want to be a part of. It’s the special element to make the journalist think; “Wow, I can’t afford not to cover this!” They can immediately see how the idea could make a compelling story.
What types of angles do journalists look for? They particularly seek out issues that are controversial, with a hint of scandal or sensation. You’ll notice when you look at the media, it’s the controversial stories that get the biggest run.
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “I don’t want my business to be controversial!” I’m not suggesting you go out and do something outrageous just to get into the media. There are ways to be mildly controversial and get the media’s interest without compromising your values and brand. Here are a few inside tips to follow:
- Link your story to a topical issue. Consider the time of year and what people are concerned about, and identify areas where your expertise or product fits in. For example, if it’s high school exam time and there’s discussion about expectations on young people to perform – and that happens to be an area you speak or write about – you could offer the media some comments about the impacts of teen pressures. Or, if finance is your game it might be about managing money in the lead-up to the holiday season when everyone’s being urged to spend. If you’re a wellness expert, the best time to approach the media might be after a major festive season when people are thinking about detoxing and losing weight.
- Link your information to an existing story. If a story is already “hot” in the media and it’s linked to your expertise, don’t be afraid to invoke what I call the “power of the pounce”. Pick up the phone to a relevant media outlet and let them know you’re an expert in that field and could add new insights to the story. The media loves to get the edge over their competition by finding new elements to a story that’s already attracting attention.
- Produce the facts. Find some fascinating data or do your own research that links to a topical issue. If you can come up with a “first” that relates to a so-hot-right-now subject, you’re likely to attract interest.
There’s so much more, but these inside tips are a start to get you into the media. Remember, think about it from the journalist’s point of view. Find them an interesting story, and you’ll get promoted at the same time.
Dr Neryl East
Dr Neryl East is an authority on reputation, and how you and your team can stand out for the right reasons in today’s reputation-driven economy.