Celebrities & The Media
Guest Post By Victoria Greene
It’s fair to say that America is a fairly divided place right now, with wildly differing ideas about what’s right and wrong. Whatever your views, our blundering, boastful President does seem to have mastered one thing, and that’s showmanship. As he appoints more than a few questionable characters to office, many of us remain distracted by the latest inflammatory statements he’s made on Twitter, or by what’s going on with Celebrity Apprentice. As intelligent entrepreneurs and business owners, here are 8 lessons we can learn from his strengths and weaknesses when it comes to courting publicity.
PR is rooted in positive relationships
Most CEOs respect PR, or at least understand its function. Whatever their feelings towards it, they accept that in positions of high power or visibility, it is necessary. For better or worse, Trump is not most CEOs.
Donald has yet to realize that at the root of PR is a carefully tended network of positive relationships, built on clear and transparent communication. He mistakenly considers himself an ‘expert’ PR person, despite his total lack of tact, sensitivity, or awareness. Let’s not forget, he appointed a hedge fund manager to run his communications office.
For the life of him, Trump cannot seem to hold on to a PR chief, and the reason is quite simple – no self-respecting, professional PR person wants to work for a boss who thinks he can do better, and who will publicly shame you for trying to do your job.
How to apply: Dale Carnegie says in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People: “If You Want to Gather Honey, Don’t Kick Over the Beehive”. In other words, an aggressive approach will get you nowhere. He also says that “Winning friends begins with friendliness” – another simple yet oft forgotten pearl of wisdom. Take a look at this list of the 100 Most Trusted People in America. They are well-liked, charismatic, and many of them are actors. Interestingly, none of them are TV bullies.
Sometimes you need to take an unconventional approach
Some believe that Richard Nixon lost the 1960 presidential race due to his poor TV presence, compared to JFK, who understood the power of the medium. Trump is, of course, no stranger to television, having perhaps more experience with it than any other presidential candidate in history. Throughout his election campaign, he consistently eschewed conventional politics in favor of sensationalism and sound bites, in contrast to Hillary’s more measured approach.
What’s more, while Clinton worked to secure votes across all demographics, Trump lasered in on a specific target audience – white, working class men who had been feeling less represented under the previous Democrat government. In marketing we are often advised to ‘find our niche’, and it seems that the same could be true of politics.
How to apply: There are lots of ways to get unconventional with PR, though it’s no guarantee that just because your campaign is unconventional, it will be a success. From publicity stunts and viral videos, to riding trends and putting out crowdsourcing content, the internet has made it much easier to be imaginative. Check out these Timeless Creative PR Ideas.
If you fake it, you’ll probably get found out
Earlier in Trump’s career, several New York reporters spoke with a John Miller or a John Barron – two supposed PR men who sounded suspiciously like Trump himself. Miller and Barron were particularly insightful, sharing detailed explanations for Trump’s actions and love life, all the while presenting him in the most favorable light possible. You can read the full transcript of one of John Miller’s interviews here.
Of course, these strangely forthcoming sources were none other than Trump himself, and if you read or listen to the interviews, it is startlingly, ridiculously apparent. At one point, he even forgets to speak in the third person. The lesson here? It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: don’t pose as your own publicist and expect to get away with it. Oh – and the tan isn’t real either.
How to apply: It’s fairly straightforward really – just be honest and authentic about who you are and what you do. If you don’t fake it in the first place, you don’t get found out. Lance Armstrong was a celebrated road racing cyclist who many people admired, until the doping scandal came out. Likewise, Tonya Harding was a famous figure skater, whose career was left in tatters after she hired a thug to break her rival’s leg. The public hates a cheater, so keep your record squeaky clean.
You must be willing to listen to advice
PR professionals are much like counselors. Their job is to advise the client on the most effective approach to communications, if they want to achieve certain goals. They are a valuable asset to the team, and a smart client will realize the importance of listening to their advice, even if they end up taking a slightly different course of action. A sensible business owner will involve their PR person in all big-picture discussions.
The thing about Trump is, he really doesn’t want anyone’s advice. He wants to do his own thing and he thinks he’s got PR sussed. When Spicer worked at the White House, he griped about his limited access to the President, yet was still blamed when things went wrong.
How to apply: Benjamin Franklin said that “wise men don’t need advice – fools won’t take it”. If you’re attempting to navigate the choppy waters of publicity, it’s better to do it with a legitimate expert at your side. Part of a PR practitioner’s role is to train their clients to effectively face the media, as well as making their client’s reputation as strong as possible. Ultimately, they help to keep you focused and moving towards your goals – with the force of the media on side.
The celebrity phenomenon
Whether your feelings towards Trump are mild or extreme, it can’t be denied that he is something of a sensation. For better or worse (and likely worse), we’ve never had a figure quite like him on America’s political stage. We now live firmly in a culture of celebrity, and Trump – a longstanding TV star and populist bigmouth – is known by everyone. It shouldn’t really come into the equation when you’re running for President – yet it does.
Why? Because with their deity-like status, we listen to what celebrities have to say. So in 21st century America, should we be surprised that a celebrity has managed to become President? It’s wall-to-wall (pun intended) publicity, be it good or bad. Whether you love or despise Trump, he remains a popular topic of conversation – and that’s just what he wants.
How to apply: So how can you find ways to keep people interested in you? To enjoy the kind of engagement that Trump gets online and in the media, it’s all about being engaging and having a stance or opinion that people relate to. Today’s consumers are discerning about which brands deserve their time and attention. Don’t be afraid to start discussions, and fan the flames to keep them going. Experiment to find out what resonates with your audience, and mix up your timing, language, and use of imagery.
He tells it like (he thinks) it is
Trump doesn’t speak the political tongue. Everybody knows that – just look at his Twitter feed. Instead, he seems to say whatever comes into his head, without much of a filter to speak of. Agree with him or not, you always get the jist of what he’s saying. Some politicians do themselves a disservice when they speak in political jargon, alienating the less articulate voters.
Honestly counts for something in PR, even – or especially – if that honesty is controversial. Trump’s followers love him for his willingness to tackle any subject, in particular those that more seasoned politicians dance around.
Why is this so appealing? Because we value people who give us perspective on things that matter in our culture. In other words, we love someone with a strong opinion. And Trump – well, he is big orange hot air balloon of opinions.
How to apply: We want your perspective on what matters to you and why it’s important to your audience. Your strong opinion about a topic you care about sets you apart from your competitors who may have a different take – and sets you up as a thought leader. News shows are made up of people proffering different opinions on a topic then backing those opinions with facts, research, or other evidence.
Pick an enemy (or several)
Branding experts will often tell you to identify an enemy and position against them. That enemy doesn’t have to be a person, it could be a system, a state of the world, an injustice, or an opinion. The world’s top brands all have distinct enemies – and Trump is a brand too.
At this point, Trump has made many enemies, and he has a habit of calling them out and going after them. Choosing an enemy gives your campaign a focus – it’s the classic scenario of ‘us vs. them’ that galvanizes large groups of people into action. It’s a great tactic for businesses. Is it a good one for politics? It’s certainly been successful at getting Trump into office, but as to the effects on society and the world, it all starts to feel like a dark and dangerous road.
How to apply: So every brand or personality needs an enemy, but that doesn’t have to be a competitor. It could just as easily be an idea. A nutritionist might position processed food corporations as ‘the enemy’. A pro web designer might frame DIY website builders as ‘the enemy’. For an artisan coffee shop, it might be instant coffee. Whether it’s a belief, an assumption, or a rival business, every beloved brand has something to push against and rally behind.
If you don’t have the instinct for it, leave it to the professionals
Anthony Scaramucci has said that Trump has ‘excellent public relations instincts’. So is that true? He certainly represents something different, and something different – especially in politics – is pretty irresistible. But I would argue that overall, Trump’s PR instincts are fumbling at best, and volatile at worst. And they appear to be getting worse. His weeklong assault on his own attorney general in July was apparently ‘all his idea’. Good one.
Trump is used to the selective media exposure granted by his TV lifestyle, but as President, you are on show 24/7. PR decisions are more critical than ever. The best bosses understand their own strengths and weaknesses, but Trump’s inflated view of himself means he won’t listen to others. From a PR perspective, it will be interesting to see where his ego leads him over the course of his time in office.
Trump famously exaggerates, but if you’re looking to implement his tactics into your own business PR campaign, maybe think twice. Exaggeration and dishonesty are no way to do business – and you will be found out eventually. If you’re trying to get more media attention for your business, here are some good guidelines. What we can take away from his success is the importance of picking an enemy, leveraging social channels, being true to yourself, and being memorable. But we can also learn to become better listeners, better bosses, and better people.
Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer.
Vicky is a freelance writer and ecommerce marketing consultant. She loves following politics and drawing lessons that can be beneficial in other areas. In her spare time, Vicky shares her knowledge by writing for a variety of digital publications.
As a high school student in Palo Alto, California, I was irrepressibly curious and constantly looking for strange and exciting new experiences to try out. And if those “strange and exciting” adventures meant that I could make a little extra money on the side? Even better!
That’s how I wound up sitting in a laboratory with a guy in a white lab coat who explained that he was conducting an important scientific experiment. I was going to be compensated for my time and, so it seemed, helping to further a scientific discovery. This was great!
“There’s a man sitting in another room, on the other side of this wall,” Mr. White Coat explained to me. “This man is taking a test and if he answers a question incorrectly, you must give him an electric shock.”
Mr. White Coat shocks me the 15 volts to show me how it feels. Ow! I jerk in my seat. Tolerable, but definitely painful.
“Remember,” Mr. White Coat reminds me. “If the test subject gets the wrong answer, you shock him.”
The test begins. The man taking the test gets a string of wrong answers. I shock him. Wrong answer. I shock him again.
With each progressive shock, the man on the other side of the wall — the man I am shocking — begins to yelp, then cry out, then scream. It sounds like the pain is becoming unbearable. I glance up at Mr. White Coat and he urges me to keep going. After the third shock, the man on the other side of the wall SCREAMS out, “Stop! Please! STOP! Let me out!” and starts pounding frantically on the wall. I yank back my hands and stand up.
“This experiment is over. I won’t shock him any more. He’s screaming. It obviously hurts.”
Sternly, he urges me to sit down and continue. “You agreed to this experiment so you have to finish it.”
“No, forget it, I won’t do it,” I tell him. I gather my things and prepare to leave. Mr. White Coat puts his hand on my shoulder to stop me and says,
Photo Credit: Death to stock photo Experimenter The Movie
“The man on the other side of the wall is also participating in the experiment. He wasn’t really being shocked. You weren’t hurting him. He was just pretending. He wasn’t the test subject. YOU are.”
You can imagine, my teenage jaw fell right down to the floor. I was stunned and also relieved.
He went on to explain that he and his colleagues were conducting an experiment to see how people obey orders and respond to “authority figures.”
The results were pretty troubling.
Many of the people controlling the “shock” button kept shocking, and shocking, and shocking, and shocking…up to 450 volts (“Danger: severe shock”) despite horrible screams and pleas coming from beyond the wall.
According to The Atlantic Magazine, in one variation of the experiment, 65% of the people shocked the other person to “death.” (Not really, of course, because the actor was just pretending. But they didn’t know that.)
When asked, “Why did you do that? Why did you keep administering the shock?” most people would respond with some variation of, “The guy in the white coat told me to do it!”
Pretty staggering, right? As this experiment, first conducted by Stanley Milgram — which went on to become a famous, historic experiment, and is now a Hollywood movie called Experimenter — demonstrates, most people do not question authority. If someone who appears to wearing some kind of “uniform” doles out an instruction, most people simply obey.
I was one of the few people who wouldn’t obey. Why? Because I won’t be bullied into hurting somebody, even if I’m told that I “must.” (“Must” is not a word that I like and I do not like being told what to do.) But I do know that it comes from my family, who has always taught me to stand up for what I believe no matter what. And to be kind and to help others who are in distress.
So this non-conformist attitude came from the example of my upbringing. As far as I can remember, I’ve always been wired that way — and it definitely carries through to my work today.
Photo Credit: Death to Stock Photo Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~ The Dalai Lama
When a client said to me, “My publisher wants to put out a press release that doesn’t accurately represent my work and the content of my book and I don’t feel right about it, but don’t feel like I can say anything. After all, they know best.” I told my client, “Don’t go against your own moral compass. Let’s come up with a new strategy and present it to them.” That’s what we did and it was readily accepted.
Or when another client said to me, “A sales expert told me I had to use his coaching model to get clients, but those aren’t the people I really want to work with,” I told my client, “Then stop that. We can find another way that reaches the people you resonate with.” I helped her get her first $10,000 client for a new program we devised. She was elated and said, “You turned my world upside down. What you have really opened my eyes to is another level of living. One to which I have aspired, but my only model was ‘become a guru.’ (shudder) Not only are you helping me, you are modeling a way of thinking that uplifts my spirit.”
When I see someone doing something that’s painful, unethical, ineffective, or that just “doesn’t feel right” for whatever reason, I urge them to speak up. I urge them to stop. I urge them to trust their instincts, rather than blindly trusting “The Man in the White Coat.”
Your “speaking up” story can be anything you want. Stopping a person from beating their dog. Telling a teacher that you DO in fact have singing skills. A time when you spoke up in a meeting and suggested something totally opposite to the common group think.
Speak up for what is right
By speaking up and choosing to behave differently than your peers, you could transform your industry, change your customer’s lives, or (who knows?) even save someone’s life.
When you feel the urge to speak up or defy the “orders” you’ve been given, do it.
With very, very few exceptions, you will not regret it.
Can you think of a time when you spoke up and it changed your life or someone else’s life? I want to hear your story.
Here’s how to share:
- Head over to Instagram (download the app here to sign up if you don’t already have an account).
Once you’re logged into Instagram, follow me and then post a photo plus some text. For the text, briefly tell a story about a time in your life when you chose to speak up—where you were, what you said, and what happened next.
Include this hashtag somewhere in your text: #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp and tag me @susanharrow
Guidelines: please keep your story brief. 250 words or less. Think: “sound bite sized.” Also, please keep your story G-rated and appropriate for kids and teens to read. Extra credit for concise stories!
Please do your Instagram post by November 24 and encourage friends to participate, too!
Not on Instagram? No problem. Do the same thing on Facebook. Please “like” my page and remember to use the hashtag #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp and to tag me @susanharrow.
Prizes for everyone
Every single person who shares a story on Instagram or Facebook receives my E-book Girl On Fire—which shows you how to speak up in 10 of life’s trickiest scenarios—just for participating!
Here’s how to get that prize (and be entered in the contest for the grand prize):
Go to Instagram or Facebook.
- On Instagram follow me and then tag EITHER the photo OR the text using @susanharrow.
- Post your story and image. NOTE: Make sure that you own the rights to the image or have creative commons commercial use rights. All submissions must have an image as well as text. Need some photo inspiration? Go here.
- Use the hashtag #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp.
- Tag me: @susanharrow.
- Go here to download your prize!
- I’ll announce the grand prize winner on December 9! (I hope it’s you!)
(Note: this is purely an “honor system” situation. No big hoops to jump through. If you posted a story, then go ahead and get your prize! It’s yours for the taking. Enjoy.)
Grand prize for one person
I will also select one story—the one that I feel is the most poignant or had the most impact—and that storyteller will receive the grand prize: My 6 month mentorship program to get prepared for publicity for or to launch your publicity program (Worth $11,500). I’ll announce the grand prize winner on my Instagram account and my Facebook Page on December 9. (Follow me on Instagram at @susanharrow and on Facebook to stay in the loop!)
This will be so fun and inspiring!
Whether you have a story about a huge, life-altering moment—or a small, quiet, everyday act of bravery—I want to see how you decided to speak up.
In submitting a photo and story (The Work) you give me, my publisher, and its licensees and assigns permission to use any and/or all of the material from your post including the photo in all editions and derivations of The Work throughout the World, in all languages and all media, whether now known or hereinafter devised, and in the advertising, publicity, and promotion thereof. Proper credit will be attributed to you in The Work.
In submitting a story with an image/photograph you grant the permission requested above and warrant that the material indicated below does not infringe upon the copyright or other rights of anyone. If you do not control the rights requested by this post in their entirety, please provide me with the name and address of any other party from whom permission is required.
I cannot wait to see your story. Whether it’s a story about a gigantic act of courage — or a small, everyday act of bravery — it all counts and it’s all amazing.
This blog post was inspired by a lovely & very popular book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It’s delightful. You should read it.
Speak your mind. Stand your ground. Sing your song™.
Not getting featured in the media?
Feeling tons of “resistance” whenever you sit down to work on your press kit, pitch or press release?
Can’t seem to “crack the code” on how to get top bloggers, journalists, editors and producers to pay attention to your work?
Frustrated that your replies to HARO, PRLeads and other PR services and don’t get any response?
Feel like, deep down, you “know” what you ought to be doing to take your visibility to the next level… except for some reason, you’re not doing it?
Over the past 25 years of my career, I’ve spent over 130,000 hours (that’s a very conservative estimate) training authors, speakers, coaches, consultants and entrepreneurs to help them get booked in the media and then use that exposure to double or triple their income.
Initially, when I ask, “Why are you having trouble getting press for your business?” One client said she had done literally hundreds of radio shows with little result, but had no idea what she was doing wrong. Many other clients have similar stories. Those are the ones that say that, “publicity doesn’t work.”
Just as typically my clients tend to point towards something “external” (like: “My press release really represent what we do” or: “My website looks dated.”)
Fair enough. I agree: having all of your materials looking sharp is very important. Your presence and what you say when you’re in the spotlight is too.
Presence is equally important as your message Photo Credit: Tim Caynes
But in my experience? If you’re consistently struggling to get your business, book, product, service, cause or mission in the media, or your appearances just don’t have much of an effect, the source of your “blockage” usually boils down to one thing:
In other words: What you BELIEVE about yourself and your ability to serve.
This may sound harsh, but it’s actually a very empowering thing to realize. Because once you’ve identified the harmful attitude that is holding you back, you can take steps to resolve it. Hopefully: once and for all.
Think your attitude is just fine, thank you very much? That may be true.
But it never hurts to do a little self-exploration.
Read on and see if any of the following 7 attitudes sound a bit like… you.
Harmful attitude #1:
“I’m too fat to be on TV. Maybe if I lose 20 pounds first…”
Why you need to change your ‘tude:
It’s been reported that 97% of women have at least one “I hate my body” moment, per day.
Imagine if every woman who thought to herself, “Ugh, I don’t like how I look” allowed those thoughts to STOP her from seeking media opportunities. We would literally have almost ZERO women appearing in the media. What a dismal world that would be!
Harmful weight-related attitudes aren’t just for women, of course. Men can — and do — think these kinds of thoughts, too, but generally, they don’t let that hold them back.
If you feel that you need to drop some weight, for your overall health, go for it. But in the meantime, don’t let “size shame” halt your progress. Not everyone who appears in the media needs to be a rail-thin supermodel. There’s room for all kinds of ideas, personalities and sizes.
Your media role model:
Oprah, of course.
She has publicly battled with her weight for decades. Even at her absolute lowest weight, she wore a size 10! Yet she’s perfectly comfortable talking about health, happiness, wellbeing, and “living your best life” — in front of international audiences. People respect her opinions, completely. If she can do it, why not you?
Harmful attitude #2:
“I’m so boring! My life has been relatively comfortable and easy. I haven’t overcome an extreme adversity, don’t have a rags to riches story, or anything ‘gritty’ to share.”
Why you need to change your ‘tude:
Not everything in the media needs to be “gritty,” “caustic,” “violent” or “dramatic.” And we’ve certainly had our fill of rags to riches stories, haven’t we? You don’t need to have become homeless and lived under a bridge, eaten from garbage cans or swindled out of a fortune by your business partner to get media coverage.
In fact, I would argue that today’s audiences are so bombarded with “drama” that they are delighted for an escape from the madness. (There’s a reason why websites like TheDailyPuppy.com are so popular.)
You don’t need to be rude, crude or rough around the edges in order to get booked in the media. You just need to be yourself.
If the “real you” is a positive person who was blessed with wonderful parents and a joyful childhood, so be it. You still have ideas, tips, strategies and stories to share. You can still be entertaining. You can still be insightful. You can still help people to lead better lives. Suffering is not a pre-requisite for service.
As my friend Alex puts it, you don’t necessarily have to “overcome adversity in order to know stuff.”
Your media role model:
Ellen has built a huge media platform anchored on “traditional values” like kindness and compassion. She consciously steers away from gritty or violent topics.
She’s known for delivering audiences a daily dose of positivity — complete with goofy dancing. That’s who she is and what she does best.
If you are the “Ellen” of your industry, embrace it! Don’t try to change yourself for the spotlight. You will feel awkward, uncomfortable, and struggle to successfully make the “point” that you’re there to make — and audiences will be feeling uncomfortable, right along with you.
Just be you. “You” is what works.
Harmful attitude #3:
“All of this media preparation stuff — like setting up my website — is too hard! I’m terrible with technology.”
Why you need to change your ‘tude:
To quote the folks at this design firm: “If Google can’t find it, it doesn’t exist.”
That’s the reality of our world today.
If you are unwilling to set up a website, participate in social media, and create materials that are quickly searchable (and findable) online — like a backlog of recent press releases stored on your site — you are going to have a tough time getting the kind of media coverage you want.
Your media role model:
At age 93, this actress, activist and product spokeswoman has a vibrant Twitter presence and shows no signs of slowing down with her career, despite her age.
Her manager jokes, “Betty and I have an understanding. I have told her that I have already booked her when she turns 100 and there is no out clause. Betty never backs out of a date.”
Another role model for you:
As a professional Tarot card reader who has been reading cards — full time — for over 25 years, Theresa has a steady stream of “regulars” and could certainly opt to “rest on her laurels.” But that’s not her style.
She is constantly learning new tools, upgrading her website, and experimenting with new ways to connect with audiences around the world (including starting her own podcast). She firmly believes that all business owners need to be tech-savvy, and she even mentors “tech-phobic” entrepreneurs to help them grasp the basics.
Theresa is regularly a go-to expert on Tarot, astrology and spirituality blogs, podcasts and magazines. The secret to her success? Well, as she put it — while talking to a friend of mine — “I ain’t no stale hippie.”
Harmful attitude #4:
“I’m not the world’s most credible expert on this topic. Other people are much more experienced and authoritative than me.”
Why you need to change your ‘tude:
There will always be people who are more highly credentialed than you are. That’s a fact.
“Comparing and despairing” when you size yourself up to your competitors is very counter-productive.
Yes, of course, there are people who might have more degrees, certifications or years of experience than you. But that doesn’t detract from your ability to serve your audience in your way, right now.
The real question is this: Do you have something to share — right now, today — that could help a fellow human solve a problem, get inspired, or lead a better life?
If so, then you’ve got the most important “credential” of all: something of VALUE to share.
Your media role model:
Gabby is one of the world’s most sought-after media commentators in the realm of personal growth and spirituality.
Does she have a PhD in psychology? Nope. (She actually studied “theater” at college). Is she a Nobel Peace Prize winner like The Dalai Lama? Nope. Has she published formal, academic research papers? Nope. Has any of that ever stopped her from pursuing opportunities to write, appear, and get interviewed in the media? NOPE.
She has personal stories to share and insights that she knows will help people.
And share she does. With videos, audios, Ted talks, lectures, meditations, courses, books, products, a spirit junkie app, and stuff she loves. And if that’s not enough you can enroll in the “Get More Gabby” subscription service. Phew!
Harmful attitude #5:
“I just don’t have time for all this stuff! Between running my business, taking care of my clients, and dealing with my family… I don’t have a minute to write press releases, build relationships with journalists, maintain my website, and… ugh!”
Why you need to change your ‘tude:
Life is unquestionably busy. As a business owner, there will always be “something” pulling at your attention.
But if you want to grow to the next level, serve wider audiences, and sell more of your books, products, courses and services (without spending money on advertising), then getting featured in the media needs to be part of your plan.
As Stephen R. Covey, author of the bestselling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People said, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
If getting media coverage is a priority for you (and it should be!) then it must be treated as just that: a priority.
This may mean shutting down lower-priority projects for the time being or learning how to delegate more effectively. (If you’re struggling to stay focused on the action steps that really count, this training program can help you stay on track.)
Your media role model:
He is arguably THE busiest man on planet earth — with an unthinkable level of stress resting upon his shoulders.
Yet he still creates the time to write guest articles for The Huffington Post, contribute exclusive interviews to People magazine, occasionally, even tweet personal notes to his followers, and appear on TV talk shows to discuss his latest thoughts on basketball or a new bill in Congress.
Does he have a team supporting him? Of course. The point, here, is that Obama recognizes the importance of making media coverage a top priority. It’s not something to ignore or neglect. It’s vital to his success as a thought leader.
Harmful attitude #6:
“I’ve never been good at public speaking. It’s just not my thing. I’m going to freeze, blush, giggle, burp, sweat, snort, forget my ‘lines’ and mess this up… somehow. I just know it.”
Why you need to change your ‘tude:
No one wants to watch a “perfect robot” on the air or listen to a “slick and polished” presentation. If you go “off script” during a media appearance, it can often work in your favor. Little flubs can be endearing and humanizing.
This is something I talk about a lot in one of my media training programs, Your Signature Sound Bites. If you’ve got your sound bites down pat — meaning: you’ve chosen a couple of key messages that you really, really want your media audience to remember and “take home” — then it’s pretty tough to mess anything up. Just stick to your sound bites and allow yourself to relax. If you’re too slick? We want to topple you off that perfect pedestal. Be yourself. Quirks, nerves, sweats, burbs and all.
Your media role model:
While appearing on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to promote her latest film — which she produced and starred in — Anne lost her composure and began laughing hysterically. Why? Because the plot of the movie (which deals with a coma victim) is so dreadfully, horrendously sad, it was actually… kind of funny.
Rather than sitting back in horror, fans LOVED it. Multiple media platforms (Vanity Fair, E! Online, US Magazine) shared the now-legendary giggle-clip, using words like “charming” and “adorable” and “utterly endearing” to describe it!
As one journalist put it: “This feels real candid. I don’t know if Anne Hathaway has ever been so likable. This is how you sell a movie, even when it’s a coma movie.”
Harmful attitude #7:
“I don’t deserve to be featured in the media. I’m ordinary. I’m not special.”
Why you need to change your ‘tude:
Let me ask you this:
Has an “ordinary” person ever given you a piece of advice that made your entire week better?
Has an “ordinary” person ever shared a resource with you that saved you tons of time or brought you hours of delight?
Has an “ordinary” friend, colleague or family member ever said something that motivated you to change an unhealthy habit and improve your life?
“Ordinary” people have the power to serve, educate, inform and inspire, just as much as rich, famous “celebrities” or “authorities” do.
If you have something of value to share — whether it’s a product, service, book, mission, cause, or day-changing tip, tool or idea — then you deserve to be in the media.
The brilliant Marianne Williamson had it right when said, “We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”
Your media role model:
This “ordinary” mom from Sumter, South Carolina.
She recorded a video of herself singing her baby to sleep and spontaneously posted it online. When she woke up the next morning, her video had gone viral. After a radio station shared it on Facebook, it got 4 million views. TV stations started calling. She was featured on Good Morning America and the host said that this could be the big break she’s been waiting for to become a singer. This mom became — literally! — an overnight sensation.
Her voice is very pretty, yes, but the real reason that her video touched the hearts of millions of people is that… she is ordinary and heartfelt. There was no artifice in her singing. Just a mom, home, in a dimly lit room, rocking her baby to sleep, singing as if no one was watching.
Moral of the story?
Your “ordinary-ness” can be THE quality that makes you appealing to the media and to audiences, worldwide.
“Ordinary” is not the same as “boring.” You can be totally un-flashy and still wow audiences with your ideas, stories and talents.
Musician Sam Smith who won four Grammy awards last night, said, “I just want to say that before I made this record I was doing everything to try to get my music heard. I tried to lose weight and I was making awful music. It was only until I started to be myself that the music started to flow and the people started to listen.”
Allow yourself to be exactly who you are. We want to see your blemished self. Not a prettified version of someone you think you should be.
How do I get on TV Photo Credit: goMainstream
That’s the approach that will resonate most strongly with audiences — and get the media calling you back.
Getting booked in the media is one thing.
Translating media attention into sales… is another.
Simply getting “interviewed,” “featured,” “quoted” or “mentioned” in the media does NOT guarantee that people are going to actually buy your program, products and services or hire you for speeches or consulting.
To accomplish that, you’ve got to have specific systems and processes in place that turn curious callers or new website visitors into paying customers.
Those systems and processes are exactly what I teach inside my $25 / month training program: The Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul Membership Club.
If you want to learn how to get booked in the media and use publicity to double or triple your income ― while keeping your integrity intact ― this monthly membership club was created for you.
The program is ongoing and you can begin your training any month, any time, and get access to all the goodies immediately. Join us here.
At some point, pretty much every business owner dreams of getting featured in the media.
From a quick one-line mention in a local blog…
to a glamorous booking on The Today Show…
media attention feels amazing!
But in my experience, many people jump the gun and try to get booked in the media before they’re truly ready.
They spend countless hours writing pitches and press releases (or guest posts for online magazines and blogs)… when they don’t even have the basic business essentials (like a website, a mailing list, or enticing product descriptions) in place.
That’s kind of like inviting 500 people to the grand opening of your cake shop… except, oops. You don’t actually have anything to feed them. It’s a huge waste of time and energy for you — and a big disappointment for the people that you want to serve. (“Wait, I thought there was going to be cake!”)
If you’re taking action to get yourself booked in the media… terrific.
But I’d recommend pressing PAUSE until you’ve completed the following checklist — which will help you to determine if you’re actually ready for media exposure or not.
Before you pitch yourself to the media, whether it’s a local blog, a national radio show, an international trade journal, or anything in between…
Make sure that…
1. You have a website.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but even in this day and age, many business owners… don’t! You don’t have to be a computer genius to put together a simple site using About.Me or Squarespace. Both are designed for tech-phobic people. If you can handle Facebook, you can handle these tools, too.
2. Your website clearly states who you are, what you do, and what people should do next… if they want to learn more about you.
You wouldn’t invite people to your home and then slam the door in their face. You’d usher them inside, show them where to hang their coats, and then guide them into the living room and give them snacks. Your website needs to make people feel welcome and show them where to go, first, whether that’s your About page, your Blog, your Shop, or your mailing list. Speaking of which, make sure that…
3. You have a mailing list.
If you made an amazing new friend at a dinner party, you’d ask for their phone number, or email address, right? You wouldn’t want them to slip away… you’d want to stay in touch!
You want to stay in touch with new clients and customers, too. Use a simple platform like MailChimp to put a mailing list sign-up form on your website. Feeling overwhelmed by the technical stuff? Hire a geek on Fiverr or Elance to do it for you. It’s well worth the (minimal) cost.
4. You have a FREE offering, a treat, a surprise, or something for people to enjoy.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a psychologist, a dog trainer, a painter or a politician. Give your new website visitors SOMETHING to read, watch, listen to, think about, or peruse. Give them a reason to stay, explore, and get to know you and your work a bit better. If you don’t have anything for people to dig into to, they won’t stick around for long.
Again, to use the cake shop metaphor, that’s like throwing a grand opening party… and then forgetting to serve up the treats.
5. You have a PAID offering, product, service or book for people to enjoy. (And it’s easy to find.)
The whole point of getting featured in the media is to inspire your audience, make an impact… and, of course, make some money!
If your current products and services are completely confusing, tricky to purchase, poorly described, or buried deep in the belly of your website where they’re nearly impossible to find, that’s a problem.
6. You have a bio — or About page — that shows your credentials — but also reflects your natural voice and personality.
Many business owners agonize over writing a bio, but it doesn’t have to be a dreadful experience. To take some of the pressure off, remember that your bio doesn’t have to say EVERYTHING about you. It just has to share enough information to make your reader feel intrigued and excited about your work. Think: “Coming Attractions.” Not: “Feature Presentation.”
So… how’d you do?
If you passed this pre-media checklist with flying colors, congratulations! Pitching the media will be a smart use of your time, because you’ve already laid the groundwork in advance.
You’re ready to welcome new, curious customers into your website, or blog, or wherever you do business. You’re ready to entertain them, inspire them, and of course… sell your work!
If you didn’t do so hot on this checklist, don’t despair.
Help is on the way. 🙂
Starting in January 2015, I’m swinging open the doors to The Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul™ Membership Club.
Inside this club, you’ll learn how to get booked in the media, but also — and more importantly — how to prepare for your time in the media so that your hard work pays off.
Everything listed in the checklist, above? We’re covering that. And so much more.
The club is just $25 a month.
Because learning how to bring your products, your services and your message to a bigger audience shouldn’t come with a 5-digit price tag.
You can register now and stay as long as you like.
The club is ongoing, and there is absolutely no penalty if you choose to end your membership.
And be sure to check out the charter membership as that will go away before we start.
Learn more and sign up here.
See you in the clubhouse.
Remember that classic scene at the end of the musical Grease, where Sandy struts back onscreen, clad in tight leather pants, with her hair teased up to the sky?
Goodbye, soft-spoken, mousy blondie. There’s a new Sandy in town, and she’s ready to have her moment in the spotlight. She’s here to get what she wants. And men literally topple at her feet.
Published in Ingenue magazine, November 1963, Vol. 5 No. 11
Wouldn’t it be fun to tap into YOUR inner bad girl, too?
It’s not as hard as you might think. And you don’t have to change your whole personality — or even your outfit.
It’s simply a matter of bending the rules and asking for things … a bit differently.
Here are three “bad girl” experiments to try, over the next couple of days.
Do them all, just for kicks. You’ll be stunned at how easy it is to get what you want while serving the greater good … and having WAY more fun.
Published in Calling All Girls magazine, November 1947, Vol. 7 No. 67
Bad Girl Move #1. Make outrageously specific requests.
The next time you’re ordering food at a restaurant, be extravagantly precise.
A woman I know is legendary for making unabashed requests, like this — “I’ll have a turkey club sandwich with Swiss cheese, not cheddar, one half of a pickle, a salad with dressing that’s drizzled, not tossed, and a glass of lemonade in a chilled glass. No ice. And I’d prefer a white straw, not striped. Thank you SO much.” — and amazingly, servers bend over backwards to delight her. Just about every time.
You might think that this sounds annoying. But it’s all about your tone and intent. If you think of the waiter as your personal slave, this won’t work in your favor. If you approach the conversation as an exchange between two creative people who are looking to please each other and make the world a happier place, you’ve got the right idea.
Try this same move at work — with colleagues or clients — and even with your sweetheart, at home.
Use a warm, friendly tone and flash a huge smile.
You’ll be shocked at how often people comply!
Bad Girl Move #2. Buck the system and play a game.
On a conference call with a client that’s going nowhere … fast? They’re droning on and on, looping around the same problem you’ve been hearing about for months … ugh. Boredom abounds.
Stop them and say: “It feels like we’re circling around the same scenario, and we need a fresh solution. Let’s hit pause right there. I have a game I’d like to play. Got a computer or radio handy? You’re going to need some energizing music…and a notebook and pen…”
Shift the mood with a surprising game or challenge. Shock and surprise them — while maintaining a playful, supportive tone. For example, a colleague of mine is a writing teacher who is often asked, “What’s the best way to get writing projects done, faster?” Instead of answering the question directly, she’ll often invite the audience to play a game she calls Tarot-etry –a game where people write mini-poems in sixty seconds flat, inspired by Tarot cards. It’s unexpected and lively, and allows her to make her point – that beautiful writing can happen quickly, when you adopt a playful attitude and stop over-thinking!
Playing “games” can work across lots of different industries, not just “creative” ones like writing. Try saying something like this: “To answer that question, I’d like to tell you a story, and play a little game…” or “Let’s role-play. I’ll be you, and you’ll be the other person in this story. I’ll demonstrate how we can have a better conversation about money / kids / sex / insert topic here.”
Which brings us to …
Published in Ingenue magazine, May 1969 – Vol. 11, No. 5
Bad Girl Move # 3. Refuse to answer the question. (Or answer it on your own terms)
Doing a media interview? When the host asks a question that you don’t want to answer, smile mysteriously and say, “That answer is too hot to share in public, right now. But what I will say is this…” and then talk about whatever YOU want to address.
Bestselling author Danielle LaPorte writes passionately about sex, desire, love, money and what it takes to make great art. But she rarely mentions the nitty-gritty details of her own marriage or life as a mother. With regards to her son, she will simply say: “He’s the best thing I’ve ever made.” End of story.
When you change the conversationand shift the focus, you hold the power.
Bad girls do what feels right, not what’s expected.
And in business? That’s a very good thing.
So channel your inner Sandy, and bust out a few power-moves — all in the name of delivering your skills, expertise and message to the people who need it, most.
In other words?
Be bad. But do good.
Published in Family Circle magazine, September 1962, Vol. 61 No. 3
Hard copy magazines are still one of the best places to get publicity for your product. According to The New York Times, “42 percent of people under 30 and 50 percent of people above 30 read magazines.”
If you’re looking to get your product into magazines you’ve got plenty of opportunity — off the Internet. When the right magazine features your product, it can increase business – sometimes exponentially – and bring attention to a previously unnoticed, or even unpopular product.
One of the quickest ways to catapult your product is to get it into the hands of celebrities. When a celeb dons a dress or accessory, or imbibes, indulges, eats or uses something for themselves or for their kids, it can mean outrageous sales.
Having your product used or seen on the famous creates instant approval. Plus you get the extra zing of sex appeal. Nothing has an effect like a splash of Hollywood to bring a bit of glamour to any product.
But you don’t need a celebrity to make a smash. There are many publicity paths for your product.
Here are the 5 best ways to get your product in magazines.
1. How to Get Your Product into the Hands of a Celebrity.
Dreaming of Angelina sporting your new product? J-Law showing off a piece you created? Discover how you can make it a reality.
2. How to Get Your Products onto the Beauty Pages.
Packaging, small talk and a few other key things can get you into magazines like Allure & People…intrigued? Read more.
3. How To Get into National Magazines.
Want your business splashed on the pages of a glossy mag? These marketing experts tell you how to make it happen.
4. How to Get Your (Handmade) Products in Top Magazines.
Photos matter. You’ll get some guidance on that, plus some a couple of pointers on getting your gifts sold in the UK. (Hint – you need to niche).
5. Five Easy Tips to Get Your Products Featured in Holiday Gift Guides.
Did you know that mag editors start choosing items for their holiday gift guide in June-August? Find out how to be featured.
Attend the FREE (Virtual) Product Publicity Summit
Whether you have fashion, apparel, accessories, eco-products, baby & kids products, home decor, stationery or any other type of products that can be featured in the media, you’ll find lots of great advice at this FREE Summit, March 3-14, 2014. You’ll discover tips and strategies for connecting with top magazine editors, learn what NOT to say when reaching out to editors and find out how to get your products on national TV and more.
Get into the Holiday Gift Guides
The Gift List includes holiday-related features being planned by the wire services, TV and radio shows, and newspapers. Tips include everything from how to submit photos to specific kinds of items the editors are looking for. You get leads and pitching tips for thousands of media that feature special gift sections for consumer products (No services or destination travel/vacations). It includes national as well as dozens of regional and smaller outlets looking for unique home products. Plan on a 6-month lead time for placements so you don’t miss any deadlines ad the giftlist is coveted and competitive. This is essential if you have a product. Take a free test drive.
Get a Free List of 2014 Magazine Editorial Calendars
Editorial Calendars can be found in advertising sales kits. The calendar topics are included so advertisers can tie their ads into topics covered in the publication. You can sometimes find an Editorial Calendar in the advertising section at the publication’s website. If you can’t find it there, contact the publication’s marketing/sales department and ask them to send it to you.
Here is a list of Top Magazine 2014 Editorial Calendars. Included are: O, the Oprah Magazine, InStyle, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, People Style Watch, Fitness, Ladies Home Journal, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Traditional Home, Woman’s Day, Martha Stewart Living, and more.
Join Blogger Linkup to Get Blog Coverage
Blogs can be an excellent way to get the word out on your product and can be every bit as powerful as a magazine placement – if the fit is right and the blog influential. This free service targets bloggers. Sign up at no cost at to become a guest blogger or source.
Pitch Your Products to Trade Magazines
- Earnshaw’s – for baby and kids products
- Stationery Trends – for paper goods and stationery
- Museums and More –for products that would sell well at a museum store, such as home and garden, gifts, decorations
- Gift Shop Magazine – for apparel, accessories, baby and kids items, gifts, jewelry
- New Age Retailer – for jewelry, apparel and products that appeal to the spiritual and new age customer.
(Courtesy of Andreea Ayers)
Contact Any Celebrity
You can search this private database of celebrities. Inside you’ll find 67,100+ Celebrities, 13,100+ Representatives & 7,100+ Companies. So if you’re looking for a celebrity to tacitly endorse your products by using or wearing them, celebrity spokesperson, a charity partner, a blurb for your book, this is the place to go.
Attend Upcoming Consumer Product Events
Held in Los Angeles, Anaheim, Las Vegas and New York. Consumer product event connects consumer packaged goods with the press who are looking to report about them. Submit your product for consideration.
By Susan Harrow
One of the most common questions I get from clients and workshop participants is: “I always get shaky and nervous before any kind of business conversation — whether I’m trying to get a client to hire me, in a job interview, or trying to talk about my work in the media … pretty much anywhere! Any tips on how to calm down + appear more confident?”
When we humans feel ‘shaky’ and ‘nervous,’ our instinct is to over-prepare.
We think we need to do more research, memorize more notes and pack more information into our spiel.
But that’s actually very stressful — and rarely helpful.
The BEST thing to do when you’re feeling nervous is exactly the opposite — simplify, simplify, simplify.
Do + say less.
Rather than cramming like you’re getting ready for a high school calculus test, you want to re-discover the essence of what this conversation is about, in the first place.
You might begin by asking yourself two simple questions:
What does my audience / client / customer need most, right now?
How can I help?
To give you a few examples …
What does my audience / client / customer / interviewer need most, right now?
- Tips on how to lose weight, by the start of summer.
- Meditation techniques to calm her nerves, on her wedding day.
- A delicious new recipe for dinner, tonight.
- A major shake-up in the way they think about parenting.
- A personal or professional story that shows I have the skills they are seeking.
How can I help?
- By delivering those tips.
- By doing a guided meditation, on the spot.
- By demonstrating the recipe + offering a few surprising twists.
- By telling a true story + challenging parents to do something differently.
- By giving an example of how I would succeed in their workplace environment or culture.
Photo credit: Mitchell Joyce
If you can answer those two questions for yourself, there’s really nothing more you need to do — other than follow-up with an offer to keep connecting with you!
And when you can focus on those two questions, you’ll feel a LOT less nervous, because you’ll know — if nothing else! — that you’re ready to be of service.
Of course, the BEST way to prevent shaky-voiced nervousness is to simplify your message + prepare your sound bites before you actually need them.
The more comfortable you get with your sound bites, the less you’ll sweat in the spotlight — and the more you will shine!
Ready to hone your sound bite skills and prepare ones that will yield results? This post will show you how.
By Steve Harrison
When you respond to a media request, how will the journalist or producer decide whether to interview you or some other expert? It often depends on who provides the best sound bite.
I’ve been amazed at how many people take ten sentences to say what could be said in one or two. Developing the ability to speak in sound bites is easy if you know a few key techniques.
Steve’s commandments on speaking in sound bites:
1. Keep it short. Say what you have to say in one to two sentences, no more.
2. Be specific and vivid. In an interview with Business Week, Donald Broughton, an analyst for Avondale Partners, LLC, was talking about the stocks of two railroad companies: Union Pacific and Burlington Northern. Notice the language he used to make what would otherwise be a boring statistical trend truly memorable for the journalist interviewing him:
“It’s one thing if you steal dirt from my front yard, and it’s another if you break into my house and take my sterling silver,” Broughton said in an interview. “For six quarters, Union Pacific’s been walking around Burlington Northern’s house and taking as much silver, jewels and flat-screen TVs they can get their hands on.”
That’s speaking very specifically, and (this is another hint) vividly. It’s no surprise that of all the different analysts that journalists could quote, they quoted Broughton. He knows how to speak in sound bites.
3. Express a solid opinion. Many people are afraid to voice their opinions because they fear that others will disagree with them. But people who are good at giving sound bites know that the media are looking for clearly expressed opinions. If some people don’t disagree with what you’re saying, you’re probably not saying much.
When Warren Buffett was interviewed about the tax that President Obama wants to levy on financial companies, he said, “Look at the damage Fannie (Mae) and Freddie (Mac) caused, and they were run by the Congress. Should they have a special tax on Congressmen because they let this thing happen to Freddie and Fannie? I don’t think so.”
His willingness to express a solid opinion got him quoted. But did you also notice how he made a comparison? We’ll talk more about that in a minute.
Now I want to share with you some secrets I’ve learned by studying two sound bite masters. One is Warren Buffett, as I’ve already mentioned. The other is Robert Thompson, arguably the most quoted university professor in the world.
Thompson is a professor of television and pop culture at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and the author of six books, including Television in the Antenna Age: A Concise History.
I discovered him by reading an article in the Associated Press by Jocelyn Noveck (dated May 14, 2007) which referred to him as “the most quoted man in America,” next to the president.
He is so good at giving sound bites that he’ll sometimes get 60, 70 or even 80 media calls in one day. If you just Google his name, you will see that he has been quoted virtually everywhere. He has been quoted in the New York Times more than 40 times in the last four years. In fact, he’s been quoted so much that some newspapers even have a moratorium on quoting him.
“Unlike many people in his position, he almost always finds an angle or perspective that I haven’t thought about,” says AP television writer David Bauder.
Here are some more principles on speaking in sound bites that you can learn from Buffett and Thompson:
4. Repeat the same word. In describing Paris Hilton, Thompson said, “She’s the non-story that keeps on being a non-story.”
When giving advice about investing, Warren Buffett said, “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”
You can see how in both examples repeating one or two words gives the statement a memorable sound and makes the point succinctly.
5. Compare something to something else that everyone knows about. In describing Katie Couric’s debut on CBS Evening News, Robert Thompson said that her first broadcast would be “some of the most scrutinized frame-by-frame video images since the Zapruder film” (of John F. Kennedy’s assassination).
By using a comparison to an example that nearly everyone is familiar with, he was able to make his point in a memorable way.
Thompson uses this technique often. When speaking about the Grammy Awards, he commented, “With the extreme fragmentation of music, the fact that you can still put on a mainstream award show, like the Grammys, as opposed to a funky, niche show like the VMAs (the Video Music Awards), is really kind of amazing.”
6. Speak in metaphors. When talking about Fox News, Robert Thompson says, “They want to be the David of David and Goliath, but they are the Goliath.”
When speaking in this type of short metaphor, Thompson makes his point in a way that gets the media to pay attention and quote him, rather than another communications expert.
It’s critically important to use sound bites when you’re being interviewed by the media, when you’re responding to media and whenever you’re writing a press release.
I learned this firsthand as a painful lesson. I once sent out a press release that got picked up by a newspaper, but they didn’t quote me in the story. They quoted somebody else. Why? Because I forgot to include a really good sound bite.
Don’t make the same mistake. Make sure that every press release or pitch letter you send out includes at least one memorable sound bite that is so good, so pithy and so memorable that they feel their story won’t be nearly as good without it. They’ll be grateful. And you’ll be thrilled with all the media coverage you receive.
Want to meet over 100 top media face to face? You’ll get some media training there to help get your sound bites down. Apply now to reserve your spot.
Attend the National Publicity Summit in New York. Previous attendees have been featured on Today Show, Good Morning America, The View, Fox News, O the Oprah magazine, Entrepreneur, Time and many others.
To apply, go here now.
Many people see getting on TV as holy-grail to getting publicity. Oprah was the leader in making careers overnight. Other shows don’t necessarily have the same instant influence that Oprah had, but a four-minute segment on a major morning talk or news show can still have that magic formula effect.
While getting on TV can be a powerful way for entrepreneurs, authors, leaders, coaches and consultants to increase their sales and grow their business on the spot, it can also be something of a dud if not done correctly. Here are three ways you can get on TV and then make your appearance count.
1. Write a segment not a pitch.
When I work with my clients I write up a segment – exactly what you would see if you watched the show – that caters to the hosts strengths and personality. I’ve watched the shows so I have a sense of the subject matter they like to cover and the format they prefer. I’ve read up on as much as I can to best angle my segment to the preferences of the hosts and show.
Know the show
For you that means that you need to be familiar with the show you’ll appear on. That’s essential. Think of it as a job interview for your dream job. You would want to know the background of the person interviewing you, their personality and pet peeves and their style and pacing. You would want to understand the culture of the company. You would want to know what kind of products or services had been successful for them and the way they like those things packaged.
Be privy to the hosts’ perspective
For Dr. Sara Gottfried, Harvard trained integrative physician, yoga diva meets science nerd, and author of The New York Times best-selling book The Hormone Cure, we developed a segment called, “What does every woman have in her purse that can balance her hormones naturally?” for the 10am slot on NBC’s Today show with hosts Kathie Lee and Hoda Kotb.
This segment has automatic gal appeal to women hosts and their audience, plus addresses one of the most difficult issues women deal with – cortisol, the culprit behind stress. And since the segment hasn’t aired yet I can’t tell you what those items in her purse are. (Sorry!)
Develop your 5 points and 5 questions
From there we first found the 5 points we wanted to focus on and then reverse-engineered the questions that the hosts could ask. Next, we crafted the women-centric visuals that would drive the segment and create interaction between the hosts and Gottfried.
Give extra perks
Then we created quick teaser copy (that’s what you hear when the hosts let you in on the secret of what’s upcoming so you don’t change the channel or tune out).
Finally, we chose a special report for a website giveaway. TV producers want to drive website traffic to their website not yours. So their audience goes to their site for the “extras” and then can jump to the guests’ website from there. Extras can be anything that takes you deeper into a guest’s work and world: a book excerpt, a recipe, an infographic, an audio or video clip.
Integrate stories into the conversation that bring you in business
After that we honed each example down to a 20 second or so response that included a story or vignette of how Gottfried wanted her business to grow. Since she has an online community and courses one of our examples included a success story about women in her courses. It seems like a “duh” moment, but it’s an essential that most TV guest forget first — especially under the pressure of hot lights and a tight timeframe. By using specific success story examples you drive the kind of business, partnerships, experiences and sales you want directly to you.
Be natural and engaging
This is pretty much rule number one: You must mention the kind of business you want in an example in order to increase it. The hard part is that it needs to be integrated seamlessly into the conversation in a natural and engaging way that is totally on target to your point.
Practice your sound bites
That’s where lots of practice comes in and it’s where I spend the majority of time with my clients — role-playing the entire segment in different ways so they can speak their sound bites smoothly and don’t crumble under pressure or slip up when surprised. If you don’t have this element down pat, then you’re not getting the full value of your media appearances. In other words, you’re losing, business, sales, experiences and opportunities that you may never get again.
Time your sound bites
Once we’ve completed the segment I pulled out my timer and we set it for four minutes and raced through in real time so Gottfried could manage her own time and get a sense of the pacing. I played the part of the chatty hosts, complete with interjections and comments to make sure that Gottfried could stay on message even if the hosts aren’t asking the exact questions we prepared.
Package your program
By creating this segment ourselves and not waiting for the producers to tell us what they envision we invite them to take advantage of our ideas. We’ve done the work for the producers. We get a segment in which we’ve prepared the package we want presented, shaped the perception of our business, book, produce, service or cause, strategically outlined the presentation of our information, and done it all in a lively and entertaining way which delights the audience and the hosts and producers. The result: great segment, media trained guest, good ratings, engaged audience, happy hosts, thrilled client. Everyone ends up winning.
2. Post a demo interview on your website.
National TV show producers need to make sure that you’re mediagenic. They want to see that you know how to dress, handle yourself in a tight-time frame, entertain, enlighten and inform in 10-20 second sound bites-all while being completely natural and engaging. You want to have an example of you interacting in a TV interview or a mock one so you can pass the pre-audition and then move on to the actual audition. It’s OK to create a mock one if you haven’t yet done any media appearances. If a producer sees that you’re capable and lively then they’ll most likely move forward to the next step – the audition.
Create a sizzle reel
Later, when you have a series of interviews you can cut them together into a sizzle reel so producers can see clips of the best of the best and get the total picture of your capabilities.
Help shape the show
Typically the process works like this: a producer and publicist discuss some topics and story angles and then the producer gets on the phone with the client so they can hear the kind of responses the “potential media guest” (you) will give and to bat around ideas and shape the show. You have to be fluid with your topic and think like a producer in helping to lay out a visually dramatic, fast-paced, enthralling show.
3. Be a great guest.
Now you’re on the show. Waiting in the green room. Sitting in the chairs across from the hosts. Hot lights. Count down. You’re on camera…
Review your notes
Even though we had practiced for hours, and this wasn’t his first media tour, one of my clients, a New York Times best-selling author said, “Susan, everything you taught me went to hell in a hand-basket as soon as the interview began.” I told him that he could keep his notes handy and glance down at them when needed. Especially when quoting breaking news statistics. You’ll often see experts bringing their notes onto panel discussions on news shows or when they are commenting on current events.
It’s quite common for your brain to fritz out. A combination of anxiety, nerves, jitters and being in an unfamiliar and foreign setting can upset your internal applecart in the blink of an eye.
Calm your nerves
When I media trained my author-client on-camera I taught him some relaxation exercises to practice that involved both movement and breathing. The key word here is practice. A lot of it. Before you contact the media. Before you get the call.
Practice on video
I highly recommend that you turn on that video camera, pull out a kitchen timer and have a friend or media trainer run you through the questions you’ve created so you can answer them in your sleep. That way you’ll get used to the sensation of being video taped and it won’t seem as foreign once you’re in a studio. Of course the TV studio cameras are much bigger than your compact camera and the very setting itself can be intimidating. Really intimidating.
Relax and settle
Once you’re on camera you don’t want to be thinking about what you’re going to say next. You want to relax, be in the moment, create connection, and tell your audience what you want them feel and to remember.
Not easy, I know.
Feel my support and guidance
The next big interview my “hell in a hand basket” client told me, “I had you in my head the entire time.” So he could keep his cool and stay true to his message. Did he do it perfectly? No. Did he tell stories that had emotion and dignity that brought tears to my eyes? Yes. Did he remember everything he was supposed to cover? No.
But every interview is a process. And I suggest that after every media appearance you ask yourself two questions.
- What did I do well that I want to keep?
- What would I have done differently?
Then on the very next interview you incorporate both of those things. Knowing that someone believes in you gives you a solid foundation and confidence you didn’t know you had.
Discuss your success
The way you double or triple your business during an interview is by doing three things.
- Talking about successes you’ve had through your clients. This is how you avoid bragging. It’s about them, not you.
- Addressing the needs of your audience by telling a story that relates directly to a deep longing or something practical they want.
- Being human and authentic while sharing a personal story or accomplishment that is meaningful to you that creates emotion, connection or curiosity.
Process is progress
Process is everything. It’s in the doing that things shift. More to the point it’s the doing and doing and doing that creates change. After you’ve sent in that segment and when you get called for that golden opportunity to be on national TV know that preparation is key. Now is the time to map out exactly what you’re going to say, time it to the second, and practice until you can do it in your sleep under any circumstance being your natural, inviting, engaging self. Then when you’re on TV your four minutes of fame will be the beginning of many more media appearances that will sustain you for a lifetime.
Do you want to get on TV and make your appearance count? Join us for the FREE webinar: 5 Surefire Ways to Become a Media Darling.
When I was preparing for my media tour for my book, Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul, I thought that I’d love being on radio and despise being on TV. I’m kinda shy and don’t really relish being in the spotlight. Radio, you can be in your fuzzies, sip your tea, and snuggle in with a cat on your lap.
But it turned out I loved TV. The fast pace, the thinking on your feet, the excitement of the cameras, suited my style and temperament. What I didn’t love was sitting back stage in the make-up chair for an hour while a stranger fussed with my face and hair slathering on grody make-up and misting me with hairspray. I don’t even like to put mascara on myself let alone have someone else that close to my eyes. It’s pretty darn personal.
So when Matthew Kimberley asked me to do a masterclass for his website,daily success deals via Skype split screen video, my first thought was…oh no there goes an hour out of my already hectic morning doing make-up.
But, then I remembered how much I loved doing TV. And since I would be talking all about getting on TV I just decided that I’d reward myself with delicious smoked salmon and cream cheese on a toasted gluten free bagel to start the morning right. Our cat Lucky is always at the ready as soon as I take the cream cheese out of the fridge so he can get his dab.
There’s no opt-in you can just see it as soon as you get to the website. But it only stays up until Monday April 29 so mosey on by.
Confession. It took me longer to do my make-up than it did to make this video. And no, that’s not a bullet hole in the art piece you see behind me in my office. It’s a vintage Purina Dog Chow Tin. I think the holes add to its charm.
- The biggest mistake you can make when it comes to getting on TV that can ruin everything.
- How to get chosen over your competitors-and still play nice.
- How to make yourself irresistible to TV producers.
- What you need to think about BEFORE you get booked on TV. (This can make the difference between making a fortune and not making a dime.)
- What to wear on TV. (Hint: we talk about socks).
- How a flash-drive can be save your skin and your show.
Plus, you’ll get to see something in Matthew’s hotel room that will surprise – and we hope – delight you.
To seeing your name in lights,