A few years ago at a networking event I met a nice and personable businesswoman who sold all kinds of insurance. She was newly self-employed — having worked for another insurance agency for many years — and was just getting her business off the ground.
Shortly after our meeting, I started seeing her name pop up in articles in my local newspaper being quoted as an expert on insurance matters whenever they published an article where insurance was the focus or relevant to the story. Often her picture would accompany the story with her quote underneath as a caption or a pull quote.
So after I’d seen her in the paper for the umpteenth time, I asked her how she managed to be the one they seemed to always quote in insurance related stories.
She told me that she had simply let the business editor of the newspaper know that she was an insurance expert and that she was available for interviews or to offer commentary whenever they needed her.
You can do the same thing no matter what your field of expertise. If the editor knows you are available to comment on a story, you’ll be the one they call. But they have to know who you are, what your expertise is, and how to reach you.
Here’s how you can do this:
First, find out who the editor or editors are at the local paper (or radio station or other print or media outlets in your area) so that when you send your packet of information you can send it to someone by name.
This is as easy as calling the newspaper and asking them, “Who is the editor that would handle articles relating to the field of life coaching (or whatever your field is)?” Be sure to write down their name carefully, note the correct pronunciation of their name, and get their extension or direct-line phone number.
Put together a packet of information about you and your business. If you have a brochure, be sure you include it along with your business card, a cover letter that introduces yourself and explains them why you are sending this information (offering yourself as an expert), a photo print of yourself, and a press release about your business. Another nice touch, if you have some already, a few recent articles you may have written about your business.
Don’t worry if you don’t have all this stuff to send. Your business card, along with a cover letter and your photo, will suffice. The other items just add to your credibility but aren’t necessary.
Because editors receive lots of information every day, you want to make sure you stand out in the crowd. So use some attention-getting service to deliver your packet of information.
Next day delivery by UPS, FedEx, Postal Service, or local courier service will ensure that you stand out and will guarantee that your packet gets opened immediately. If you really want to get noticed, send a box of brownies or cookies along with your info and you’ll definitely be remembered.
Be sure to include all the ways to reach you. If you have a cell number in addition to your regular business or home number, be sure to give that to them. Include your email address, your fax number and any other ways someone might reach you. You want to be available immediately when they need you so you’re the one they quote.
Then, follow up immediately. You must follow up either the same day the delivery is made or the next day. This will further insure that you will be remembered when they need to quote you or get your comments on a particular topic. When you call, they can ask you questions right then to clarify your position on the topic, and you’ll have made a valuable connection with the local media.
From time to time, if you haven’t heard from them, you might send a brochure just as a reminder of your availability, another business card and any additional information you think they might want to have.
The follow up is key to getting noticed, even if you have to leave a voice mail when you make your call.
Who knows? When you make that follow up call, the editor may very well want to turn around and do a story about you and your business.© Copyright 2010 Marty Marsh