Media Relations 101

Media Relations 101

Looking to tap into media relations, leverage publicity and press to increase attention around your business? This blog is for you!

Why Publicity?

Here are 4 potentially reasons: 

  1. Because it gives you and your business credibility,
  2. Because it raises public perception, positioning you as a thought leader,
  3. Because it’s a less expensive and time consuming way to gain visibility, and
  4. Because it unlocks opportunities in your business, perhaps opening doors for you with people who would find you specifically through the media.

Media Goals

So now that you know why you might want publicity, let’s talk about some possible goals you might have with publicity:

  1. Maybe you want to get clients as a service-based business, coach or consultant. → If this is your goal, you might want more long-form media like podcasts so that you can use that time to build a know, like a trust factor. This will produce much more credibility for you than a quote. 
  2. Maybe you want to get a book deal or high-profile speaking gig. → If this is your goal, you might want to focus on national publications, where typically publishers and event planners are looking. So, think glossy magazines, television morning shows, NPR, top newspapers, etc. 
  3. Maybe you want to sell physical products → If this is your goal, you might want to look for gift guides or product round ups, or business owner features. You might also want to connect with influencers, which are the influential people who show up on social media with large followings. This is slightly outside of the scope of PR, because you may need to pay for this, and I won’t dive too much into influencer marketing today.
  4. Maybe you want to become a paid freelance writer → This is where you pitch yourself as a content creator in your field. Instead of being the subject matter of the story, you would be the subject matter expert. You’ll see examples of this on Forbes, Inc. and other entrepreneur magazines and publications.

So, the first part in media relations is getting clear on your goals. 

Building a Portfolio

There’s a PR technique called Stacking, where you work your way up through various media levels. You start with niche audiences (like podcasts and guest blogs) and work your way up from there. 

You want to do this Stacking technique because larger publications or TV channels will want to see your reel. They’ll want to see how you operate as a guest. If you haven’t racked up these local, smaller appearances, you won’t have anything to showcase. So, you’ll want to build up your portfolio from the ground up. 

So how do you start stacking? Well, you start making press connections, and you want to make sure you do the following tactics in order to accomplish this:

  1. Be discoverable. This just means: don’t be invisible. Are people (particularly those in media) able to find you online? Are they able to know exactly what it is that you do and how to reach you? 
  2. Research. This means building your media wish list. I’ve talked about this before: Twitter is a PR goldmine. Everyone in the media is on it, so start there.
  3. Think about “What is in it for them?” The #1 complaint from press is that people ask them for things but offer nothing in return. The press needs people watching their shows, so how does your feature or story or content benefit their audience?
  4. Connect with people in the media, and look at it like a courtship. This goes beyond just researching media. You want to follow, like, share their content. Give feedback and reviews. You want to slowly build a relationship so that they know who you are and how they can work with you.

Headline Worthy Plotlines

Now, after you build the relationship and when you’re ready to make your pitch, you want to think about how you can become “headline-worthy.” And listen to me when I say this: everyone has interesting stories to tell. Yes, even you! And I’m going to give you a few ways to brainstorm those stories through the following plot lines. 

  1. Plotline #1: Overcoming the monster – This kind of story is where the main character sets out to defeat the villain. So, if this applies to you, what monster were you facing and how did you overcome it?
  2. Plotline #2: The heroic quest – This is where the main character sets out on a quest to find or do something and hit roadblocks along the way. This is basic entrepreneurship, so think about your quest and if it’s headline-worthy.
  3. Plotline #3: Renewal – This is the come-back story – business takes a hit, pivoted, made a comeback.
  4. Plotline #4: Rags to riches story – This is the classic cinderella story.
  5. Plotline #5: Origin – This one is interesting because no two origins are alike. Think about how you got started and the most pivotal moments.

Does this help you think about media relations differently? I hope it does. PR seems like something that only experts and publicists can do, but it’s not true at all. I’ve been able to secure placements on TV news stations and high profile publications for my clients, and I did it with zero experience.

5-Part Pitching Email Template:

Part 1: Subject line: Begin your pitch with a clear and compelling subject line that captures your story idea.

Part 2: Opening: Always open your pitch with a concise introduction of who you are and how you serve. This should be 25 words max.

Part 3: Get Personal: You want to include something personal to let the reader know you’ve done the research.

Part 4: Story Idea: After your introduction & personalization, give them your story idea in no more than 2 paragraphs. And you can use bullet points to break this up if necessary.

Part 5: Closing: This is just a simple, but clear, call to action or question, such as “Would you be interested in having me on as a guest?” with your contact info included.

And so how do you tap into media relationship from a soulpreneur standpoint? This one is very easy and it’s really about being as authentic as possible. Find media outlets and people that truly resonate with you, and don’t just select ones that are easy to get placed in or with. You want them to really vibe the way you do. And again, whatever you put out there, always do it from the heart. 

Need more help? Check out my 1:1, group and self-study offerings: