Friday, September 9, 2016
How Does The News Media Perceive You?
How do you think the news media perceives you and your message? What litmus test do they employ to discern fairly quickly if not prematurely, whether to give you further consideration? Why – and how -- do some people break through to the media while others with arguably better credentials or books languish?
It starts with this:
· Perception – of you by the media.
· Packaging -- how things are presented or appear.
· Timing -- when you pitch them.
· Branding -- name recognition or affiliation.
· Competition – what else has gotten to the media that competes with you.
Yes, the topic is important – as well as your credentials and the substance of what you offer – but they need to be sold on you and marketed to. They need you to connect the dots for them. They shouldn’t have to think – just listen, see, and be guided by you. Don’t ask them to draw conclusions, dream, or know anything about you. Assume they know nothing about you.
The media has a critical laser pointed at anyone that comes to them. They are rightfully suspicious of lobbyists, publicists, businesses – and really anyone that has a financial interest in getting media coverage. They also are leery of egomaniacs, amateurs, crazies, and those who act as if they are so unique or new when in fact they are remarkably not.
The media likes to believe it’s getting a scoop or covering some trending topic in a fresh way. It likes it when it covers people or organizations that have huge social media followings. They like to mingle with celebrities, star athletes, big-shot politicians, maverick CEOs and best-selling authors. They like to be with those who are validated by such people and powers.
The media wants to know:
· What is it that you have to say?
· Why this message now?
· Why should they listen to you?
· How do you or your message compare to all other solicitations or things and people they are aware of?
How will they perceive you? It won’t necessarily be the way you perceive yourself. Remember, they know nothing of your past, passion, personality or views. Before they click on links or research you, they need something to draw them in. What is it about you that should make them give a shit? Ok, now tell them that.
The packaging needs to be clear, simple and attractive. Short and sweet. Throw in a catchy subject line/headline. Use an inviting visual. No long videos. No 12 links. No long pitches. Get to the freaking point – and do it with style.
Timing is everything, from the times of day, day in the week and point in the month that you reach out. Context of timing is vital. If it’s National Autism Month, contact them before that month, otherwise some media outlets have planned out their schedules already. Always look to tie into anniversaries, holidays, and the calendar. Timing a pitch to respond to something in the news is key as well.
Presenting your credentials goes a long way to the media determining whether to talk to you or not. What’s the most important and relevant thing about who you are as it relates to the specific message that you are pushing now? Is it your job, degree or something else?
Remember, the media is overwhelmed with solicitations, they are understaffed and under deadline, and they need to answer to market pressures relating to ratings, circulation, views, and advertising. If you can find a way to make yourself seem relevant, important, timely, convenient, and appealing to their followers – readers – viewers – listeners you will get far. Start by asking how the media views you and then adjust accordingly.
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