Media appearances can build impressive credibility that will help grow your speaking business.
I know what you’re thinking — getting booked on TV or other media sounds even more challenging than booking well-paid keynote gigs.
But that’s not necessarily true! You can generate media coverage to help you become a sought after professional speaker and trusted expert source.
During this year’s National Speakers Association Winter Workshop, Bruce Serbin and Eric Rittmeyer hosted a breakout session that went into deep detail about how to grow your speaking business through the media, including how to deliver an amazing TV interview and what mistakes to avoid when working with journalists.
While this blog post can’t go into all the details that were shared during that valuable breakout session, we are going to outline some of the most important details, courtesy of Bruce Serbin, (former TV News Journalist and 8-time National Award-Winning Publicist).
Leveraging Media Coverage Tip #1: Be An Authoritative Source
The media is always looking for people to weigh in on hot topics. According to Serbin, the primary reason most speakers can’t generate media coverage is because they erroneously use the opportunity to make it all about them.
You don’t want to make every media appearance a pitch about you. That’s a surefire way to lose interest, fast! The media is looking for insights and actionable items that can help their readers and viewers. So, instead of talking about yourself, what you want to do is focus on a particular topic and position yourself as an authority on that topic.
A great way to start is to create content and informative articles on the topic of your choice. You can pitch it to different media sources and online outlets or even just post it to your own website or social media. You may not always get paid for these contributions, but if you include a bio and link to your website you will build credibility in the space, raise awareness about yourself, and attract more opportunities.
This approach goes hand-in-hand with establishing your expert platform. For any article bio, or whenever you pitch yourself to the media, you’ll always want to include one or two things that verifies you as an expert source. Consider these questions to think about what your expert platform(s) can be:
- Did you get an advanced degree in the topic?
- Did you write a book on the subject?
- Did you start a company related to the topic?
- Have you given X number of speeches on the topic?
Leveraging Media Coverage Tip #2: Look for New Angles
Just because you don’t get any interest from media sources in your first few tries does not mean you should give up. If that keeps happening to you, look for a different angle.
If your message is the same as the majority of messages out there, the media won’t have any reason to focus on you. But if you continue to look for fresh perspectives and pitch new ideas, you will eventually break through.
So always be looking for fresh angles to every topic, even if your position is controversial!
You don’t want to be afraid to say something different or bold, but you need to be fully prepared to back up your perspective. You NEVER want to make statements you can’t deliver on or back up, as that will damage your credibility (and that damage can and will follow your career!).
Leveraging Media Coverage Tip #3: Make Current Events Your Focus
Hands down, one of the best ways to get more media coverage is to tie your message to current events. When something happens, the media is looking for contributing articles and expert comments. If you’ve already established yourself as an authority in the space, the media will want to hear what you have to say!
So, what innovative practices, hot topics, or controversies are happening in your area of expertise? The key is to pay attention! With any breaking news, everyone in the media is trying to act as quickly as possible. And if they can’t find you (or don’t know about you) to ask you to comment, they will find someone else.
Remember, leveraging media coverage to grow your speaking business is a process that takes time and persistence. Serbin warns us that media publicity is often filled with rejections…the important thing is to not give up.
Look for new ways to present or pitch your message, find current events that you can provide valuable commentary on, and keep focusing on building out your expertise. If you keep on keeping on with these tips, you will be able to leverage media coverage to book more keynotes.