Media exposure can elevate you and your business to new levels. It puts your message in front of a larger audience in a way that is more educational than an advertisement and establishes you as an expert and thought leader in your industry.
So how do you get these media-exposure opportunities? Here are three proven ways.
1. Establish a baseline and start local.
If you haven’t had any media exposure before, then your local press can be a great place to start for several reasons.
First, it allows you to tout your business as a local point of industry, even if you service a national or international market. Media outlets are always looking for great local businesses and startups to feature in market reports, the business section and for local news segments, so don’t overlook this close-to-home option.
The second reason local press can be great is that it gives you a chance to have some real-world media training but at a smaller, lower-stakes level. If you haven’t been on camera before or haven’t been interviewed for the paper, this can act as good public-speaking training. You might think you have a knack for speaking but could find out firsthand that you don’t when on the air.
Learning how to speak and behave on camera is a skill that the best media professionals spend years perfecting. By getting exposure in your local area you’ll have a chance to practice and observe, then critique and improve upon your local media appearances or interviews so you can be adequately prepared for more media opportunities down the line.
Finally, the third reason local-media exposure can be great is that it can help you build a baseline of media coverage you can use to pitch yourself to larger outlets. When you reach out to producers, editors or radio stations for interviews, you’ll be able to rattle off a list of radio shows, news outlets, trade magazines, local publications and online outlets you and your business have already been featured in.
Many national media outlets will want this kind of experience before they consider booking you. Don’t overlook the value and exposure that local media can provide. To get targeted exposure, start building your baseline in your local area.
2. Podcasts are media, too.
Popular podcasts can be a great media-exposure tool for you and your business. In fact, they can be some of the best outlets, as podcast listeners are loyal and devoted and you’ll have anywhere from 15 to 30 to even 60 minutes to discuss yourself, your brand and your startup with the podcast host. By comparison, most news segments are 90 seconds and most magazine or online interviews are usually around 600 words.
You won’t be competing with other breaking news or stories, it will just be you and the host.
Related: How to Do PR on the Cheap
How do you approach podcast hosts to be on a show? First, you should listen to full episodes and do some research to ensure you’re a good fit. Don’t try to shoehorn yourself into a popular podcast that has nothing to do with your business. Podcast hosts are very protective of their audiences and subject matter.
Second, almost every podcast out there has submission or contact information on their websites to pitch the host to appear on their shows. Try to tie what you do or who you are into subject matter and similar podcast shows to demonstrate what value you’ll bring to the audience and why you’ll be a good fit. Remember, it’s all about the show, not you!
Finally, send a sincere but brief and well-organized email pitching yourself. It’s appropriate to follow up a few times until you get a definitive answer. Podcasts can be a great outlet for targeted media coverage if you line it up right.
3. For news coverage, pitch yourself as the expert.
The biggest mistake that entrepreneurs make when trying to get media coverage is to pitch themselves and their companies as the story. Very rarely are you or what you’re doing going to be interesting enough to be featured alone. That may sound harsh, but the reality is that you still have a lot to offer as a commentator to media outlets. You just have to pitch your expertise instead.
You already follow and keep on top of the latest breaking news, trends and business stories, so capitalize on those subjects and pitch yourself to the media as a qualified expert to debate or comment on trending news items. This can be as broad as pitching yourself as an entrepreneur who can speak on the growing popular trend of entrepreneurship or you can narrow it down and pitch yourself as an expert to talk on certain industries.
Be creative and really look for stories you can speak on, whether it's startups and diversity, the gender inequality of tech, global market fears over China, etc. Summarize your experience into a brief email and pitch the editors and producers of your intended media outlets, or use that summary as a script and call the news desk or producers if you aren’t receiving a response.
By utilizing all or a combination of these techniques, you can get more media exposure for your business. Just make sure you take the time to do your research and ensure the media outlet you’re going for is a match to the type of audience you seek.