Listen….I am soooo exhausted!!
My team and I just hosted our first ever virtual media lime with our Caribbean partners. For the non-West Indians among us, ‘lime’ is a local slang which means social gathering or ‘to hang out’.
Honestly, nothing beats a ‘Trini lime’ complete with good food, good soca music and good old fashioned fun but unfortunately we couldn’t this year with the pandemic BUTTT I did promise that once I became ‘Kardashian rich’ I’d be using my private jet to fly each and every one of them to Trinidad for an epic beach lime. I should note here that although I do consider myself fabulously rich, there is a distinct difference between ‘rich’ and ‘Kardashian rich’ and I’ve given myself three years tops to achieve Kim K status.
Seriously though, I must say the event was very well attended and my team and I loved the fact that we could give back, particularly to celebrate the media for all their hard work. They’ve really helped us and our clients get exposure for our brands and this has translated to massive engagement and sales.
Trust and believe, working in the media can be a thankless job sometimes…….I should know, I used to be a journalist myself!!
Yeah!! I used to be the one that had to find the stories, interview people and get it all to the editor before press time. The internet was in its infancy then (think I just gave away my age); There was no Google so we had to find transport, make calls or rely on our sources to give us the info we needed. We’d get so many requests and meet such tight deadlines to ensure that we highlight the best of the best………but now, for some reason, the media is taken for granted and overlooked for the glamor and glitter of digital. Don’t get me wrong, digital has its place, but nothing helps you stand out more than seeing your face on television or in the press. Think about it, if you had to do business with someone would you be impressed with them from a FB live or would they stand out to you more if you saw them in The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times?
That’s why I do what I do and vow to help my media partners understand how precious they are and I encourage entrepreneurs and business owners to do the same. The media can be your best friend because you’ll need them to highlight your business which will ultimately build trust with your audience, promote your events or programs and you’ll definitely want them on your side if ever you get yourself in hot water.
Now, you don’t have to go all out like me by hosting an ‘lime’, but there are some simple things you can do to help form a long lasting relationship with the press:
Firstly: Understand & Respect the reality of their job
Most journalists these days write for multiple media and are generally bombarded with press releases or information that are not relevant or don’t respect their time.. You need to understand and take this into consideration when you’re interacting with them. Your job is to make their work life easier. My team and I created a simple downloadable with handy tools and apps they can use to help them make their jobs simpler and much more effective.….. You, on the other hand, can simply share information in such a way that there is no need for constant back and forth, so for example, if you’re sending a request or pitching to the media, be sure to include all relevant information and attach high resolution pictures that are labeled properly. It saves them the headache and they’ll love you for it.
Secondly: Be Helpful and Share Information
It’s quite ok to reach out to them from time to time with stories or information that they can use. It doesn’t always have to be about you and your business and what’s going on with your company…….. but share something newsworthy, useful or insightful that they can run with. This will definitely put you on their radar because you’re making their job a hell of a lot easier.. I’d also encourage you to find journalists and the media they write for on Twitter. Lots of media persons use this platform to get their news and sources so be sure to comment regularly, tweet, retweet and give your views on topics they post about……you’ll definitely get seen.
Next: Tailor your Pitches
Pitching is an art form and once you’ve taken the time to get to know the journalist, the media and the types of stories they cover, you can now tailor your pitch to suit. Think about it, you’re not going to pitch the newest development in technology to someone who covers sports……right? Remember it’s about their audience and what you can bring to the table that will inspire, motivate and educate their readers and listeners. Spend time on stories tailored to particular journalists or news outlets, rather than ‘spray and pray’ tactics.
And Lastly: Be Findable
Now that you’ve done such a stellar job understanding, researching and pitching, please make sure they can find you. I cannot tell you how many times I see pitches with no contact information. Include your phone number in your pitches, put your email addresses and websites in your online profiles and bios. Also, consider having a media section on your website with places you’ve been featured and ways they can contact you if they’d like to interview you. Make sure this page is updated regularly as you gain more and more exposure.
Sounds pretty easy right?
It takes time but you’ll get there and when you do it’ll all be worth it.
Listen, I’m actually working on a masterclass designed to help entrepreneurs like get more strategic with their pitches. I’ve realized that while many business owners crave the recognition that the press can give, they get stuck on knowing what to say and who to say it to……does this sound like you? If so great!!
I’ll be going over what you should put in your pitches, who to connect with and even giving you a few templates to help you get started. If you’re at least a little bit interested in attending, stay glued to my social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter….which ever suits you) or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll share the details with you once they’re available.