We always like to share good news with each other here at EMSI, so I was overjoyed to hear that another one of our clients – a financial professional – has been having a stellar print campaign.
But his situation also got me to thinking. What’s been the key to his success and is there a lesson there for others trying to land print coverage?
After all, he doesn’t have a large firm and he’s in the middle of the Heartland. There’s no particular reason, at least on the surface, for the media to latch onto him.
Yet among the many print or online publications that we have arranged for him to be interviewed by are the New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, Investors Business Daily and Yahoo Finance.
So I asked Toni Tantlinger, one of our print campaign managers, whether she had any ideas about why his campaign took off the way it did.
Without any hesitation, Toni gave me three excellent reasons that others could do well to emulate:
- He makes himself available. Journalists are on deadlines and it’s common for them to need to interview someone today – not a week from Tuesday. If you can’t fit their interview request into your schedule, they’ll track down someone else who can. This client understands that and makes those media calls a priority. He’ll duck out of a meeting, reschedule an appointment or do whatever is necessary to meet the media’s needs.
- He’s willing to tread outside his comfort zone. Sometimes clients have a specific niche within their expertise and they want to stay there. They turn down wonderful media opportunities because a reporter’s story doesn’t quite fit into the narrow confines they’ve created for themselves. But you don’t get to determine what the media writes about. Reporters have an assignment and they aren’t going to change it to fit you, so your best bet is to adapt to fit them if it all possible. Remember, the goal is to get your name and/or your company’s name out there as widely as possible, and gain the credibility that comes with being quoted in the press, not an easy task, especially when it comes to the top-tier press. This client is more than willing to discuss a broad array of financial topics – and if he doesn’t know a particular topic he’ll brush up on it. “I don’t think he’s ever turned anything down,” Toni says. Sure, it would be a mistake to go entirely outside your expertise. But most people have a broad knowledge of their field, even if they choose to concentrate on one or two areas of it. Put that broad knowledge to use!
- He’s likeable and efficient with the journalists’ time. This client comes across as someone who enjoys the interview – not like someone who is giving up his time grudgingly and can’t wait for the interview to end. Journalists are like anyone else. Although they regularly deal with difficult interview subjects, they much prefer it when everything goes smoothly. When someone is both knowledgeable and pleasant to work with, they are more likely to come back to them again and again. At the same time, this client also doesn’t beat around the bush and waste the journalist’s time. They like that, too.
Even as I began writing this PR Insider, we encountered a situation with another client that perfectly illustrates what I’m talking about. CNBC called us in search of a source for an article that they needed a quick turnaround on.
Toni dialed up one our clients she thought would be a good fit. He acknowledged to her that the topic wasn’t one he felt comfortable talking about right off the top of his head – but he would be happy to do some quick homework and get himself up to speed before the reporter called.
Within just three hours, he had done his research, the interview had happened and the article had already been published online.
Even with these sorts of success stories, sometimes people still don’t seem to grasp what’s in it for them in these situations. If my goal and the goal of my business is to focus on “X,” they’ll say, then what good does it do me to be out there talking about “Y”?
Here’s the good it does: The goal here isn’t to sell a particular product or service. It’s to build your brand as an expert by getting media coverage and the credibility that comes with being quoted in the press. You will then be able to leverage that coverage by linking to the articles from your website and forwarding the links to your clients. You can also use social media to let your followers know that a magazine or newspaper reporter in need of an expert came to you.
This allows you to stay head and shoulders above your competition.
Think of it this way: If potential clients or customers are weighing whether to go with you or your competitor, and all else is equal, aren’t they more likely to choose the person already vetted by the New York Times as an expert?
P.S. If you want professional help in being interviewed by the media and being quoted in top-tier press, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 215.
Marsha Friedman launched EMS Incorporated in 1990. Her firm represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity.