What does the term “media coverage” mean to you?
Political campaigns, awful eight-car pileups, or the latest Miley Cyrus public meltdown, perhaps?
But the fact is that “media coverage” can be directly relevant to your career – especially when a media outlet features you, and your work.
Getting media attention can significantly increase your visibility.
And when you go about it the right way, there are two major benefits for your career:
- You get exposure to established audiences.
When a large publication or website features you or your work, you get direct access to their readers.
These media outlets have spent a lot of time and money building audiences who are interested in precisely the kind of things you do.
By tapping into their networks, you get widespread exposure.
That would take years to achieve on your own.
- You share the publication’s credibility.
When a publication talks about you and your work, they’re extending their credibility to include you.
They’re saying they believe in the quality of what you do – otherwise they wouldn’t be publishing it.
This is the polar opposite of advertising and obvious self-promotion.
You’re not saying that your work is great – they are.
Media coverage gives you a vote of confidence from established names in your field.
That’s a short-cut to credibility.
The Secret of Getting Media Attention
But how do you do that?
Why would the world care about your latest achievement?
Actually, there are lots of reasons.
Go back and think about Brand You for a moment.
You’re already doing something newsworthy.
Using your special skill, and your distinctive style, you’re doing work that matters.
People need to know about it.
You may be working on an exciting project, trying a new way of engaging students, or be using an innovative method for increasing student completions.
You have skills, experience and knowledge to share.
All you have to do is get that information in front of relevant audiences.
There are two main ways to do that:
- In interviews, and
- By writing articles.
In this lesson, we’re going to focus on interviews.
How to Get Interviewed
Interviews don’t have to involve high-stress appearances on daytime talk shows.
You won’t be needing emergency Media Training, or a new designer wardrobe.
Many publications and websites are looking to interview experts in their field.
They’re keen to hear insights from high-achieving professionals who know how to solve particular problems, and meet common challenges.
And, because you work in the distance learning field, chances are you won’t even need to show up in person.
You may be interviewed by email, Skype, phone or even via a questionnaire.
Interviews with experts are popular inclusions in many publications, because they’re so engaging.
They allow readers to ‘visit’ with an expert without even getting up from their computers.
And because many of these interviews don’t take place in real time, you get the chance to polish your answers in private. By the time you email back your responses, you’ve added real value to the topic, and presented yourself in the best possible light.
Many interviewers will ask for a photo to go with your responses.
If you don’t supply one, believe me, they’ll go looking online, and you might not like their choice.
So take control of this important aspect of your public image, and decide which photo you’ll be including with your first interview.
5 Ways to Ace a Media Interview
1. Make a short-list of relevant websites or publications
The first step is to find a good fit for your work and personal brand.
- Which outlets would offer a natural showcase for what you do?
- Which publications do you read?
- Which professional or industry websites do you visit?
- What do your colleagues or mentors read or listen to?
Based on this information, make up a quick short-list of outlets you want to focus on.
Invest a little time in looking around their websites and get a handle on their tone and style.
While you’re looking around, ask yourself:
- Who else has this publication interviewed?
- How detailed are the answers expected to be?
- What level of technical knowledge is expected?
Some preliminary research will help ensure you’re just the right fit for the outlets you choose.
2. Don’t wait to be approached
No-one has time to wait around meekly to be “discovered”.
It’s much smarter to be take the initiative, and make the first move yourself.
This is not difficult.
It’s as simple as sending a polite email to the editor of a relevant website or publication.
Explain what you do, and why that would be interesting and relevant to their readers.
(Remember your Unique Selling Proposition? Use that as irresistible bait.)
3. Connect your work with a current event
It can be helpful to find a way to link what you’re working on with a recent development in the field, or the world.
For example, if new statistics have just been released on the number of overseas students enrolling in your area, you might offer some best-practice advice on how to teach English as a Second Language.
Or if literacy is in the news, focus on how you embed numeracy and literacy principles in your own courses.
Find a way to make your special skill highly relevant to a topic that’s already in the news.
That proves your angle is relevant and timely.
And in the process, you get bonus points for making your interviewer’s job easier.
4. Prepare your key points
Like any interview, it’s crucially important to go in prepared.
Whether you’re interviewed in real time (say, via Skype) or through a set of written questions, make sure you’re clear about what you want to cover before you start.
That way, you’ll make sure you deliver maximum value, and stay focused on your core message.
And if you need to field any distracting or off-topic questions, you can address those, and then steer the conversation back to what you’ve already prepared.
5. Be friendly, but professional
By all means, establish rapport with your interviewer, but don’t let nerves push you into friend-making overdrive. Everything you say in the interview is for the public record.
So don’t offer inappropriate confidences to your brand new friend – you’ll see them in print as soon as your interview goes live.
And if you do a great job with your interview…
A successful interview can often lead to further opportunities for exposure in that media outlet.
For example, you may be asked to write an article for the publication as a follow-up piece.
That’s a real victory!
You’re now building a relationship with a relevant media avenue.
An ongoing relationship is much easier to maintain than having to start from scratch with an editor who doesn’t know you yet.
As with everything, the more you do this, the easier it becomes.
You’ll become more and more comfortable presenting yourself as an established expert with something valuable to say.
Speaking of having something valuable to say, you can also convey your expertise via the written word – in articles designed to get you maximum career exposure.
Let’s look at how to do that next: