Positioning oneself as a trustworthy expert is paramount and ongoing for B2B professional service providers. Everything we can do to establish credibility and stand out in a crowded marketplace can add to billable hours, our reason for being. “The media,” meaning television, radio, magazines, newspapers, industry journals, podcasts and blogs, help us spread the word about our expertise to a wide audience.
Persuading media gatekeepers—editors and producers—to invite you to give a quote or become a featured player in a magazine or newspaper article, become a guest on a podcast, television, or radio broadcast, or write an article for a journal is not easy. Many of your peers are vying to do the same.
Therefore, you must find ways to separate yourself from the pack and showcase your potential appeal and relevance to audiences. Below are a few ways to make that happen. When reaching out to journalists, editors or producers, I suggest that you call first. Learn the name of the appropriate editor for your business category before contacting a magazine or newspaper. Read a half dozen or so of his/her items and find out what s/he has written before you try to pitch your story. If the response is positive, only then will you send your one-sheet bio and photo.
Help A Reporter Out will send to your inbox a boatload of emails every week, but you could obtain a few requests for quotes in exchange for the inconvenience. HARO gives Freelancers and other independent business owners real opportunities to build credibility through media exposure. One will also learn how to build relationships with print and online media gatekeepers. You can eventually claim the title of expert and have the article clippings to prove it.
Social media and content marketing
If you’ve got 5,000 or more social media followers on at least one platform, or an impressive number of newsletter followers or blog subscribers, media outlets will pay attention. Present your stats to the media gatekeeper when you get him/her on the phone and remember to include that info on the one-sheet bio that you’ll send, along with your photo, to media outlets. Those with large social media and online followings know that your big following can boost their viewers/readers/listeners and that translates into additional advertising dollars. It is a pathway to the short list of potential interview candidates.
Write a book
The barrier to enter the realm of book authors has dropped precipitously with the rise of self-publishing and cheaper printing costs. Investigate self-publishing houses both local and national. Find a topic and title that will grab your business’s target market and you’re on your way to becoming an author.
No matter what anyone tells you, hire an independent content editor to ensure the continuity and flow of your story and also hire a copy editor or proofreader to eliminate grammatical and spelling errors. Your book is part of your brand, so it must represent you well. You will be judged. A ball park budget for a 150 page book could be about $5000. Write it off as a business expense, since your book is marketing collateral.
Make lots of money
If at least once in the past five years your business has grossed $1,000,000 (or close to it), then go ahead a lay claim to the fact that you’ve built a million-dollar business. OK, so maybe you’ve grossed only half of that and it’s too much of a stretch to put yourself into the million dollar category. But if indisputably you’ve created a very lucrative business, then speak up. Media outlets will want you to tell their readers/viewers/listeners how you did it and how they can do it, too.
And the winner is…
Formal recognition of your success as an independent business professional is very powerful. Nominate yourself for a chamber of commerce award, neighborhood business association, professional association, or any other business award that is presented somewhere. If you win even third prize, then spread the word by adding the photo of you accepting the award to your preferred social media platforms and send a press release and photo to the business editor of local newspapers. Add this information also to your one-sheet.
Judge a business award
About five or six years ago, I was invited to judge The Stevie Awards/ Women in Business category. That I’m qualified to judge the expertise of my peers has impressed a couple of decision-makers. There are many business awards being doled out. Join a professional association and get yourself on the awards committee. Add the judging duty to your LinkedIn page and media one-sheet.
Thanks for reading,
Photograph: In 1955 Dr. Joyce Brothers, pictured with Boxing Commissioner Eddie Egan (her big question was about boxing), became the only female grand prize winner on “The $64,000 Question” (1955-1958). Brothers parlayed the win into a long and lucrative television career, which began in 1958 with a show on which she dispensed advice. She went on to take guest roles in dozens of TV shows and appearances on talk shows.