As an expert in your niche, you’re aware of the tremendous opportunity to build brand recognition and enhance your reputation as a thought leader that media appearances offer.
You’ve also seen us mention more than once that adding video to your web presence is a great way to boost search engine placement. But should you jump at any chance for a media interview? How can you make the most of this free publicity, and how can you create your own videos for maximum effect? Judy Jernudd, a branding expert and frequent public speaker, says “If you want to quickly build your personal brand and become a recognized industry expert, media appearances are essential.” She offers readers some strategies to make sure your interviews leave a great impression in this article on MarketingProfs.
- Be an expert. Sounds obvious, I know, but sometimes people get so excited at the chance for an appearance that they accept an offer that isn’t in their best interest. If you really don’t have a deep grasp of the topic, say so. And if you are an expert but translating your knowledge to others in an understandable way isn’t your strong point, don’t put yourself in the position of looking less knowledgeable than you are. There’s no shame in saying, “I’m not the best person to do this.” There might be in trying to fake it, only to come across as inept. The media source will appreciate your honesty and your help in finding the right person for the job. Then when the topic is the perfect fit for your niche, they’ll feel confident in turning to you.
- Show how it relates. This can be challenging, especially for niche professionals. Get your 30-second elevator speech polished up so that you can clearly and quickly explain just what your area is and exactly how it relates to the topic under discussion. Audiences lose interest easily when the information they’re receiving seems disjointed from any frame of reference they already possess.
- Keep your firm’s goals in mind. Accept only the media appearances that will allow you to strengthen your CPA firm’s brand identity. You don’t want to speak about topics that don’t support your other branding efforts. Think about the nature of the interview – will this particular discussion help or hurt your image?
- Find a perfect fit. Your niche matters or you wouldn’t be an expert in it. Some segment of the population cares deeply and fervently seeks the knowledge you have in spades. The trick is to find media outlets that reflect the desire for it. Where exactly is the overlap between what you know and that particular media outlet’s needs?
- Pitch well. Whether it’s a phone call or an email, solicited or volunteered, you want to be very clear about what you offer to the media source. Practice your pitch so that you can articulate what your area is and why it matters to their audience with enough clarity to grab the reporter’s interest.
- Be available. Give media contacts your personal cell number and answer calls, even at awkward times. With a huge supply of potential interviewees, you need to be easily accessible when they decide they want you.
- Rehearse well. Take the time you need to think through potential questions and prepare clear, comprehensive answers that you can deliver quickly. You want to look at the interview later and feel you’ve answered as well as you know how.
- Follow through. Show up when you say you will, be prepared to share your expertise and for heaven’s sake don’t promise anything you can’t definitely deliver. If you have the interest and the resources, get a little media coaching beforehand to polish your tone and camera appearance. If not, just practice in front of the mirror or with a friend. Then go out and have fun!
Media appearances can be wonderful experiences and do great things for your brand recognition as well as your professional reputation. Choose them well and make the most of these opportunities when they come along. If you make a mistake, add it to the lessons file and start again with plenty of attention to improving on what you didn’t do so well the last time. You may find that once you’ve made a couple of appearances, more and more of them start emerging. Even if you’re never a household name you can have a blast while becoming a recognized expert who’s in demand for press interviews.