What do Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, and Sheryl Sandberg all have in common? When they speak, the media listens. They’re thought leaders and generally looked upon favorably – and as a result, have become media “darlings.” But it didn’t happen overnight. Endearing yourself to the media takes time, along with careful strategizing and intentional actions.
Follow these eight steps to get started on your journey to becoming respected, heard and reverberated out into the world as a media darling.
1. Begin with the End in Mind
If you want to build a solid reputation as a media darling, you’ll need to establish what you want your brand to represent. So, begin with the end in mind to chart your path. Take Sheryl Sandberg as an example. Sandberg radiates women’s career empowerment in everything she does, from TED talks to interviews, books and public awareness campaigns. Follow Sandberg’s lead and think about what kind of media darling you want to be. Once you decide, everything you do should reflect it – your website, your content and your media presence.
2. Build a Personal Brand
With the end in mind, it’s time to start building your personal brand. How? By articulating who you are, what you do and how you do it with content marketing. Make educational and informative content to share on any and all media channels, such as your social accounts or website. Think both bite-sized (e.g. video clips, infographics) and long-form (e.g. white papers, blogs), providing content that can help reporters understand you, your expertise, and your industry better.
3. Get Out and Speak
Crafting compelling content is a start, but you also need to ensure that people actually see it! Speaking at events that matter in your industry is one of the best ways to get your name into the public eye – and in front of journalists. Trade shows, workshops and conferences abound for every industry, drawing colleagues and reporters alike. Do your research and invest some time to track down where the key players in your industry gather, then get your name out there!
4. Provide Informational Interviews
You've nailed your speaking gigs and gathered an online following...now what? It's time to actively engage with the media. Research relevant reporters and offer to walk them through your industry, trends, directions and how your company is contributing to making things happen- without expecting an article. Informational interviews position you as a reliable resource for second (and third, and fourth) interviews down the road and cement you as a go-to contact for valuable beat writers.
5. Make it Newsworthy
Once you've secured that first interview, you need to make it memorable. The easiest way? Tie your company to bigger trends and current events. Positioning yourself with a wider context makes it easier, and more natural, for reporters to include you in their stories. And the more often you get mentioned, the better. Even small quotes in big picture articles add up to name recognition over time!
6. Perspective is Everything
"All publicity is good publicity"- except when it's not. While catchy, this oft-quoted saying doesn't necessarily provide the best advice. Instead, remember that perspective (and perception) is everything. Think about how you frame your answers during interviews, keeping them positive when possible. Be factual, but tactful. Is your company's automation process taking away jobs? Perhaps, but it could also be moving workers into more skilled positions while improving efficiency. Which answer would you rather have printed?
7. Take Notes and Follow Up
Journalists typically do the question-asking during interviews, but you can use the opportunity to ask them some questions, too. Show interest in reporters’ work and inquire about plans for future stories. After all, if they’ve covered your industry once, there’s a good chance they’ll do it again. Take notes on any relevant upcoming articles, add their timeline to your calendar, and make sure to follow up and offer to help closer to the story deadline.
8. Become a Relationship Broker
Media relationships aren't just about providing interviews for reporters- they're also about facilitating connections. As an industry insider, you have a network of experienced, insightful colleagues with plenty of knowledge to share. Become a link between reporters and other experts who can help them out with a story, quote or information on specific subject areas. This simple gesture will take your relationships to the next level.
So, if you aspire to take yourself and your business forward in small or big ways, then focus on these eight steps to become a media darling. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll reap the rewards.