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Media Interview

3 Easy Tips to Get Interviewed by Trade Media

Media InterviewThe following article was contributed by Mark Bernheimer, a former CNN correspondent (1995-2000) and the founder of MediaWorks Resource Group, an internationally renowned media training and consulting firm.

The media landscape is certainly shifting and changing. And some traditional outlets are shrinking and shuttering. But the proliferation of digital media has breathed new life into trade media; that is, the outlets covering specific industries. These may be small but highly influential players in the media landscape, and therefore important targets for your PR outreach efforts.

Once you know your niche, the next step is to then get the attention of the media covering it. What you learn from reading this post will teach you three easy tips that will put you in front of a wider audience, expand your reach, and hopefully create new customers.

Why Industry Specific?

An interview with trade media has several advantages.

First, the audience you are speaking to is targeted. If you are selling cookbooks, you probably do not want to be talking to hardcore gamers (unless they also happen to be amateur chefs).

Also, you and your interviewer will speak the same industry language. No matter what business you are in, jargon accompanies your work. Having an interviewer who understands this jargon allows you to have a more in-depth conversation that cuts through explanations that would otherwise be necessary.

Trade reporters will be interested in talking with you! Having things in common is key to any relationship. A media source that is already interested in your specific industry gives you a significant advantage when beginning a relationship with them. Note: If you’re wondering how to handle the Interview itself please refer to this media training resource.

And finally, trade reporters are usually part of the industries they cover. That means they may have less incentive to dig for dirt. If their publications are advertiser supported, they will have an even stronger disincentive to make their potential sponsors look bad.

Tip #1 – Do Your Research

If you have been in your industry for any amount of time, chances are you’ll already have an idea of who and what your customers’ primary source of information is. But if not, take some time and find out!

Message boards, Facebook groups, Reddit threads, are all great places to learn what your customers want.

Remember, this is not necessarily who you listen to (although it might be). What you’re looking for instead is to find out who your ideal customer listens to and enjoys. If you only look at the media sources you consume, chances are you’re missing golden opportunities to reach new potential buyers.

Tip #2 – The Perfect Pitch

Once you’ve found the perfect blog, podcast, radio show, or other media source that you know will reach your customers, it’s time to get in touch with them. What you don’t want is a bland email saying, “Hey! Love your show! Can I be a guest sometime?”

What you need is the perfect pitch which must include your story. Products and services make people yawn. It’s stories that cause people to listen and pay attention.

So, what is your story?

Take some time to think about this. Write down your story, whether it’s how you got started or why you have a passion for your work. What are your true differentiation points in your business? What do you offer, as a company, that no competitor can also claim?

Give the media source (and their listeners) a reason to care.

Tip #3 – Tenacity Pays Off

While it is true that everyone is looking for content, it is also true that you will have to compete to get noticed. Do not just send an initial query email and cross your fingers hoping to hear back.

Emails get lost or buried quite easily. Keep a spreadsheet of the individuals you have contacted and create a schedule for following up with them. Note: It’s also a very good idea to network with the media members covering your industry.

SAMPLE FOLLOW-UP:

“Hey _____,

Are you still interested in getting some great content for your show? If so, give me a call or shoot me an email and let’s talk! I’ve got a story your listeners (viewers, etc.) are going to want to know about!”

Don’t be annoying and don’t spam them. Just make sure they notice you and know that you’re serious. After 3 (max 4) attempts at contact, remove them from your spreadsheet. Time to move on.

BONUS TIP #4 – DON’T FORGET PODCASTS

With nearly 600,000 podcasts and over 18 million episodes (and growing!), there is almost certainly a podcast within your business niche.

Podcasts have seen explosive growth over the last 5-7 years. Estimates suggest that nearly half of the US population listen to podcasts on a regular basis and this listenership is typically well-educated and affluent.

There are many podcast directories out there that allow you to search within the podcast universe to find shows within your industry.

Even better, consider downloading one of the popular  podcast apps (Podcast Addict, Castbox, etc.) or use the built-in app on your phone (iPhone and Android both have the built-in capability now) to search for podcasts. This is how your potential customers do their searching, so it increases the chances that you’ll land on a show that they listen to.

And if you’re lucky enough to get booked one podcast, don’t forget to get media training first!

Conclusion

If you are looking for more exposure for your business, a great way to find it is to get interviewed in a trade media source. This can be done quickly and easily by following these simple tips:

  • Research! Find the best way to reach potential customers. Where do they hang out?
  • Pitch! See how presenting your story can meet the need of the media source you’re reaching out to.
  • Don’t give up! Persistence always pays off.
  • And finally, don’t forget the power of podcasts!

It’s time to dominate your business niche. Take advantage of the tremendous PR opportunities presented by trade media.