Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with @womenrecharged. Aprille Franks-Hunt is an author, speaker, life & business advisor, as well as a multi-faceted business professional, who walked away from a successful career to pursue her passion of inspiring women beyond motivation. Aprille is the Creator/CEO of Women Recharged, a powerful movement designed to spread the global message of transformation through Aprille’s compelling LIVE, LEARN, and THRIVE mantra. For more information, visit aprillefranks.com.
SmallBizLady: How does having a solid brand play a part in getting media attention?
Aprille Franks-Hunt: When a “source” makes it easy for the media showcase their work and gain access – that’s a win-win-win. Delivering great solid content and being polished is a huge part of getting asked to come back. This doesn’t mean you can’t get coverage if you are just getting started, but the better you are at delivering a message, the more you will stand out.
SmallBizLady: Is gaining media coverage really about who you know?
Aprille Franks-Hunt: It’s not all about who you know, BUT if you know someone, of course that helps. Everything you do begins with your “warm market”. The people closest to you usually know what you’re up to first. The media is no different. Learning to leverage those relationships so that it’s a win-win for you both is what’s important.
SmallBizLady: What’s the distinction between publicity and advertising?
Aprille Franks-Hunt: Advertising is what you pay for. Publicity is what you gain access to for free – oftentimes with the same outlets. For instance, you can do a local segment on a TV show for 3 minutes as a subject matter expert for free or you can pay for a 60 second commercial to advertise on the same channel during the same time slot. In my opinion, you must have components of both.
SmallBizLady: Does the outlet matter?
Aprille Franks-Hunt: Knowing what to pitch to which outlet is imperative. Make sure it makes sense for the outlet first – watch the show, listen to the segments, and read the latest issues! Another thing is to go outside of what you normally would tune into. There may be outlets that fit your audience that you are unaware of, but would be a great fit. Do your research.
SmallBizLady: What’s considered a “good” or “#mediaworthy” story?
Aprille Franks-Hunt: While you may in fact have the best product or service in the world, so does everyone else who wants to be on TV, or in a national printed publication. A good story must be current and relevant to the outlet, first. Is not about what you’re selling as much as it is about what you know and how what you know connects with that outlets audience. The media wants your knowledge, not necessarily your product.
SmallBizLady: Should entrepreneurs connect with local media outlets before going for the national outlets?
Aprille Franks-Hunt: Yes! I love to say, “Grow local!” I think instinctively entrepreneurs want to skip their backyards and go straight for the big boys. But you have to ask yourself are you ready for the big time yet. For example, do you have enough product in inventory? Do you have a way to capture leads on your website to handle traffic and does your website have enough bandwidth to handle a sudden influx of web traffic? Not to mention being polished. Your local market may be a bit more forgiving than a national outlet.
SmallBizLady: There’s so much competition out there, how does someone stand out to get media attention?
Aprille Franks-Hunt: You have to be respectfully relentless if you want to stand out. Your pitch and angle can’t sound like everyone else’s. There has to be something interesting about what you have to offer. If you want to stand out, STAND OUT. No one playing it safe makes it big.
SmallBizLady: Who is the right contact person at any outlet to get booked?
Aprille Franks-Hunt: Knowing who to direct your pitch to is as important as the pitch itself. It would be similar to sending your resume to the janitor of a major corporation and you’re applying for an executive position. You are pitching to people, not companies. Reporters, writers, and journalists get hundreds of pitches each day, it’s important that you make connections with them directly. So, you must do your research! Make sure you are a “fan” of the outlet you are pitching. If it’s a printed publication, most times their email addresses are public as are their twitter handles. If it’s a TV show, find out who the Executive Producer of that show is – then email them your pitch.
SmallBizLady: How can someone find out what the media is looking for?
Aprille Franks-Hunt: One of my favorite FREE resources for finding out what the media is looking for today is a site called, Helpareporter.com or HARO for short. HARO is a service where various media outlets post queries looking for sources for their stories/segments. It’s free to subscribe and I’ve personally had national success using the outlet. I recommend it for those who want to #DIY their own PR!
SmallBizLady: What do entrepreneurs need to know about crafting a #mediaworthy pitch?
Aprille Franks-Hunt: My favorite question! Here are five things to take into consideration when crafting a pitch for the media:
- Wrap your pitch around trendy topics/disasters – timing is key!
- Subject lines: Think TMZ…no boring: “Subject: How to be successful” email headlines
- No attachments in your email, consider using hyperlinks
- Less is more, don’t be too wordy, 100 -150 words works: Headline >bullets> close!
- Be consistent & patient – the majority of your pitches won’t get a response – but some will.
SmallBizLady: After someone has landed the media outlet they desired, how do they keep the momentum?
Aprille Franks-Hunt: Leveraging the opportunity is where most people fizzle. While each media opportunity you land is a boost in credibility for your brand – the expectation that being on TV or in a magazine is going to change your life overnight isn’t realistic. One should be prepared to capture the moment via video clips, testimonials from the show host, reporter or producer, capture screen shots, and then add them to your website. They can also be used in pitches to other outlets. You should also build content around your media opps by blogging about them or emailing snippets to your email list.
SmallBizLady: How did you land your first television appearance?
Aprille Franks-Hunt: A lady who was helping me sent an email to the show host for me to be a guest. Just days before I was to appear, the guest co-host was unavailable and they asked could I fill that spot for the day. Of course I said yes – that one show turned into me co-hosting 35 shows in one year with my own segment. I even hosted two shows myself while the host was on maternity leave. You never know what will happen, you just have to put yourself out there and be ready for what’s to come!
“Buzz Definition Displays Public Attention Or Popularity” courtesy of Stuart Miles / www.freedigitalphotos.net
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