Leverage ALL your expertise to get media coverage
When clients come to me and say they want to be seen as a thought leader or expert in their field, I always ask them, “An expert in what?” They seem to think it’s an odd question because I should know automatically that they want to be an expert in whatever their business is. A marketer wants to be seen as an expert in marketing, a shoe salesperson wants to be seen as an expert in shoes, a massage therapist wants to be seen as an expert in making people feel better physically.
But expertise goes deeper than what you can often see at first glance.
Massage therapists, for example, need to find a location where they can set up their tables. They need to choose a good appointment-booking software. They may have to hire staff for their reception.
All of these activities took time and effort, which has resulted in them having expertise in many different areas. Maybe not the skill that comes with 10,000 hours; but enough of knowledge to be able to share their lessons with other business owners.
What that means is that you can leverage many different areas of knowledge that you have to access media coverage.
This is important when the stories that media are looking for do not align with the expertise you might have to offer.
Let’s say, for example, the marketing director wants to be known by small businesses and seeks to gain coverage in a business medium. What if that medium has already done stories on marketing and is not interested? Many business operators will just throw up their hands and say that it’s tough luck.
But what if that same marketing expert works from home and has two young kids that they have to look after? Maybe there’s a story there around the lessons they learned managing their home business in a way that is successful; and they have lessons they can pass on to other home-based businesses?
By pitching several different ideas based on different areas of knowledge that have transferable lessons for other entrepreneurs, business media might be interested. That’s why it’s important to set down a list of ALL the different areas of expertise that you have.
Then, when pitching the idea of an article or a column to a business publication, you can pitch an idea around your primary expertise (e.g., marketing) but you must also include in the same pitch other ideas that the editor might be interested in.
A good idea is to have somebody sit down with you and interview you as if you are applying to an employment agency. Their job is to draw out everything you know, without judgment.
The key here is to understand that you can never know what’s coming up on an editor’s or a producer’s plate. Pitching one idea is like throwing one arrow at a target. If you miss, you miss. You have a better chance of hitting your target if you send five arrows in that direction.
Even if the recipient of the email does not see potential in any of the ideas you pitch in one email, they will get a better understanding of the scope of your knowledge and you stand a higher chance of them returning to you at a later date.
If you don’t get a response from the first email, resend an email once a month changing two or three of the ideas. Once a month is not considered harassment, and most editors of producers will reward the persistence at some point with a response. At that point, you’ve got your foot in the door and the start of a beautiful friendship.