One of the most credible ways to build your personal brand is through gaining publicity coverage in the mainstream media. As posted in my blog last week, word of mouth and editorial coverage is powerful when it comes to promoting you.
If a client or prospect sees a story about you on the television, in a newspaper or magazine or hears an interview on radio, it creates awareness and perhaps new business leads.
Even though the mainstream media landscape has changed, it is still a major influential medium that can help reinforce your personal brand and message.
You may believe being super active on social media is enough. And it is effective building a profile through LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. It is a vital part of personal brand building and can be very rewarding. Combine that with mainstream media like press, radio and television and you can boost your brand exponentially.
However simply writing and issuing a media release to a selected group of journalists and editors is not enough. You do need to follow up.
You will probably find that the most challenging part of your business building is picking up the phone and actually talking to prospects and even clients. Personal brand building particularly when trying to gain media coverage is similar, as you are often approaching someone you don’t know to write story about you. That self-promotion can feel quite uncomfortable.
One aspect that can help is realising that they need your story just as much as you need them. Journalists and editors need to find information and stories to fill their magazines, news reports, radio talk back programs and online content. So think of it as doing them a favour. If you don’t follow up, you will more likely be ignored and nothing at all will come if it.
You will find it hard to get through to people on the phone and email can work but do try and call. Get to your point quickly. Everyone is time poor and some people can be curt and seemingly unfriendly. Don’t let that deter you – they are just doing their job and don’t want to have others waste their time.
Here are a few tips to follow up journalists with your story idea.
- Call to see if they received the release on xxx sent on xxx and if there is anything further you may need.
- If they say they did not receive it, check the right email and send again.
- Again if they say they did not receive it, they may want you to say what it is about – have a brief sentence/main points of media release ready to discuss.
- If they did receive it, see if they might like a photo or ask if you can provide any further information.
- Try and get talking so you’re on the way to building rapport but don’t get too pushy.
If you get talking find ways to perhaps get further information such as:
- What kinds of story angles are you currently looking for? Make sure you read and observe their angles in their stories so you are aware of their speciality.
- How do you prefer to receive information? (e-mail, phone)
- What kind of data do you find helpful? (surveys, stats, case studies).
- When do you like to be contacted? (early morning, late afternoon)
- How can I be of help to you in developing a story?
Learn more about your "hook" and personal brand with the free video series, NOOK, LOOK, HOOK 3 Steps to Build a Stand Out Personal Brand.
Sue Currie is a speaker and the author of IMPRESSario, Present and Promote the Star Within You. She is recognised as a leading authority on personal branding to boost image, profile, brand and business. Through her image management and profile building programs, workshops, consulting, keynote and online presentations, Sue helps businesses and entrepreneurs position and present an influential professional brand.