For entrepreneurs looking to gain some credibility and get the word of their business out there, finding your way onto the news seems appealing. But executing this idea can prove far more complicated than its conception. Fortunately, Jeff Crilley’s expertise offers valuable insight into this dilemma. He has consistently proven an ability to insert clients into advantageous media spots.
Building Relationships with Reporters
Much of the success Crilley sees in his business ties directly with the strong relationship with various reporters. He built these relationships over the years and established his credibility with them, leading to exceptional exposure for his clients. Building relationships with reporters takes patience and a firm grasp on storytelling, but the work pays off in the long run.
Think of your relationship with reporters as very give-and-take. Crilley says, “Once you start a relationship with a reporter and they know you are going to give them solid stuff, they are going to call you back every single time.” They will help you, but first, you need to prove you can also help them. Once you gain their trust, do not abuse it. Make sure you believe every story you pitch to them benefits your client and the reporter. It is nearly impossible to insert yourself into the media if you do not know what is happening in it. So be sure to stay current on the events occurring in the media.
Killer Headlines Get Your Story Told
Give a reporter a few killer headlines, and you solidify a mutually beneficial relationship. If you are trying to find reporters to reach, use Google news to find reporters in your specific field. Look at their past five or six articles to see if you have a story that fits their pattern. When trying to sell your story, make sure to have plenty of soundbites throughout the pitch. Focus on explaining the story in a way that shows it from different angles than one traditionally would. Crilley explains, a soundbite “rarely has a lot of information in it, it is just pithy.” As an example, he once interviewed a man who was going to be cryogenically frozen. When asked why, the man replied, “I figured it’s a better bet than letting the worms get me.” Lines like this capture the attention of the media. Producing multiple soundbites with a story naturally gives you a much better chance of the reporter picking it up.
Let’s Make a Deal
If a reporter declines your story, do not give up. Crilley has a common practice he likes to call “Let’s make a deal.” Even if you sell a current and exciting story, sometimes the reporter will not buy it. Rather than giving up, use the opportunity to ask what they are buying. Even if your initial story cannot fit what they are looking to buy, you can make a deal for a different story that does fit their criterion.
Influencers and Bloggers
Another valid method of inserting yourself into the mainstream media involves using influencers or bloggers. However, using these individuals requires a more thorough evaluation. The best way for you to determine their value is through their audience and interactivity. Pumping the number of followers or views is common these days. Be sure to investigate how much interaction they are getting with each post. Check the comments section, the shares, anything that can validate their following. If there is a significant disparity between their followers and interactions, it is probably better to move on to another individual.
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