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Have you ever read a publication or watched a great TV segment and wondered, “How did they do that?” Or maybe a more curious, “Why can’t that be our company?” There is such a great “halo” effect – a swell of positive perception – that comes from landing a killer media opportunity. For many startups, it can launch a product or person’s career to stardom. For others, it keeps a brand top of mind with its target audience. One thing is for sure – the independent, unbiased endorsement or earned media coverage can go a long way, but it’s by no means a small task. So what’s the secret?
Here are five steps to becoming a media darling:
Step one: Build your personal brand. If you want to be a media darling, you’re going to need to walk the walk too. A good starting point is to create a very compelling social media presence with a laser focus on LinkedIn and Twitter. Reporters will go to LinkedIn to check out your background and any published work, awards, etc. If you don’t have a robust profile? Adios, amigo. Create a Twitter profile and focus on communicating and engaging on topics relevant to your brand’s cause. Engage with people, specifically with media that cover topics and the “beat” closest to your industry. To round out the field, you should have an expanded biography that focuses on accomplishments versus your career in chronological order.
Step two: Create a video portfolio. Whether you have been a guest on TV or not, it’s always helpful to have a “sizzle reel” or clips of any broadcast media experience. Producers use this as a way to vet you from the competition. If you’re new to this process, start recording video blogs on valuable topics and keep it simple at a minute or two. Take a look at some of the country’s best video bloggers, like Julien Gordon for some inspiration.
Step three: Shape a provocative opinion. People that are thought leaders and media darlings have this trait in common. They have opinions. They shape a story. They position facts in the context of how it matters to their target audience. We value people who give us perspective on things that matter most in our culture today. A media darling isn’t afraid to voice a strong opinion. The media seek guests who have opinions that help us think about what’s important.
Step four: Be ahead of the news…and available.
You’re the expert and need to be in tune with current events. A media darling is the first person the media calls to put a story in perspective and to help shape thinking. They don’t necessarily have all the answers. But they have a point of view that helps others to consider consequences, options and directions to difficult or perplexing problems. When you get “the call,” be ready to take action and make yourself available. It’s all about priorities.
Step Five: Offer Interesting examples and soundbites. One of the best ways to make sure you get invited back for second (and third, and fourth) interviews is to offer a very illustrative example. Describe a problem you or a client encountered and explain it in detail. Have a soundbite ready. It has to be original. A soundbite has to be short, simple and memorable. Remember that famous sound bite from Franklin D. Roosevelt “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself?” Millions of other people do too.