Media sources need to do their job and being an excellent resource as a go-to expert for journalists will benefit by giving greater visibility and credibility, as well as providing a platform for their ideas. When you are quoted as an authority on an idea, trend, product or service, your knowledge & brand gets exposure. This speaks more powerfully about your reputation in your field than any paid promotional effort. Being quoted in the media also opens up new avenues to reach your target audience and allows you to communicate with them in a different way.
Even though professionals see the value of media attention, they sometimes shy away from it because they consider it too daunting. But the benefits are great and worth the risk of being a bit camera shy, because reaching your target audience through the news media can be cheaper, easier, and faster than other strategies of reaching your audience of potential clients.
When taking on becoming a TV expert, you must understand what journalists need to tell a story and understand how they can meet that need.
News reporters are not interested in promoting your business. But, they are interested in a fuller understanding of a different topic or point of view in exchange for giving you access to their readers or listeners. Successful interaction with the media requires an understanding of what each of you should gain through the appearance.
So how do expert secure bookings with the media? Here are some tips to assist you on your way:
Let them know that you are around: You do not have to have an expensive media plan with publicists and PR companies to be an listed on a news affiliates roster of experts. Check out HARO, Media Kitty, etc. to be add yourself to the their roster of experts that journalists can search. You can also appeal to journalists and present to them some specific suggestions for stories or angles that you are qualified to offer expert opinions. The more specific your suggestion is, the better. Follow the reporter and suggest a follow-up story from a different angle, or if the facts of the story are inaccurate in any way, offer a correction in a courteous and respectful manner. Your goal is to be on that news affiliate’s roster of experts to be called at the next opportunity.
Do Your Homework: Interacting with the media means success understanding how stories are told. Read, listen and watch reporters with an eye toward issues that might contribute something. Observe how experts are used for moving a story and concisely framing a point.
Respond quickly: News react quickly, by definition, moves quickly. If you plan to interact with the media, you must learn to keep up with the ever-changing news cycles. In addition, if you are contacted for an appearance, respond to that request immediately, or they will move on to the next expert and you will have lost your opportunity.
Stick to what you know and resist the temptation to embellish about your experience and expertise (either to secure an appearance initially or while you are on air). If asked about things you are not experienced to speak on, or if you don’t know the answer to a question you are asked during an interview, do not be afraid to say so. Offer some alternatives (or even to find out and get back to them) in order to demonstrate your value as a source. And if you are asked to do an appearance and you are not the right fit, don’t try to fake it…just offer to help the reporter to find the right source in your community. They will appreciate your honesty and that you are being a contribution and helping them with their story. But, whatever you do, don’t make something up. That is a quick way to kill off your career as a TV expert if you are not 100% transparent and credible.
These were just a few quick tips to get you started with your career to be an on-camera expert and media contributor.