How To Get Started Pitching Your Authority To Media

A year after I started my first company, I hired a publicist to help us build authority with the media and—ultimately—bring us new clients.

When she asked for my dream goal, I blurted “the cover of The Wall Street Journal” since that was the biggest “get” I could imagine.

Suppressing a laugh, she explained that would be the ultimate stretch goal and I should adjust my sights for something more modest.

But not two months later, there we were, featured in a WSJ cover story about small firms making big waves disrupting the traditional consulting model.

I was thrilled with the piece and its placement. We’d hit the big time right? Um, not so much.

Our story was syndicated and ran in maybe 50 local news outlets. I spent the next six months fielding calls from consultants looking for work. Total number of hours invested: countless. Total number of new clients: zero.

Unfortunately, being profiled in The Wall St Journal was more about stroking my ego than being the perfect perch to woo clients.

It did teach me that the first lesson in pitching media is to know your end goal. Who do you want to reach? (If you’re not sure, try my client avatar exercise here.) What do you want your audience to think, feel and do after they’ve experienced you in the media?

Only when you’re exquisitely clear on that are you ready to invest your time in pitching.

Luckily, because an awful lot of pitches are uninspired and downright lazy, it’s actually easier than you think to get in front of busy podcasters, niche bloggers and editors.

They need to feed their beast and are looking for those with market authority to help them out. Your job is to track them down and convince them you’re the real deal.

Start by making a list of possible targets for your message—and I challenge you to go beyond the usual suspects. Search on your keywords—not just on google but across social media—and check out up and coming sites, bloggers and podcasters who will resonate with your message.

Ask your ideal clients where they go to read, watch and listen and position yourself at the edge of those watering holes to listen in to the conversations (it’s all fodder for your pitches).

Spend some time at this—you might have 20 or even 30 possibles before you start whittling down your list to your first set of targets.

Be thinking training wheels. You want to build a media target list of no more than 10—and five is even better for a tight focus.

Have your dream outlet in there for inspiration, but include some easier wins. The goal is to get started, not to hit a home run.

And when you’re ready to craft your first pitch, read my The Art of the Pitch piece here.  We also unpacked a lot about getting yourself into the right mindset for media in this episode of The Business of Authority.

Just know that authority builders have a symbiotic relationship with media and the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits.

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