The media doesn’t care about you unless you’re Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Martha Stewart, or doing something big, like really, really big! #unicorns and all that jazz.
So does that mean the media is out of your reach as an entrepreneur? And that you should just forget about media exposure?
Definitely not! says Stephanie Burns, the founder of The Wyld Agency, an amplification and visibility agency focused on building the legacy and personal brands of company founders.
With a background in brand building, media buying, strategy, and entrepreneurship, Stephanie has wide experience with an eclectic portfolio of industries. After being a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune, Burns used her winnings to launch her previous company, Chic CEO, an online resource for over 100k female entrepreneurs.
With an MBA in Marketing, Stephanie is also a contributor to Forbes Women, Entrepreneur, and TODAY, as well as featured in notable press outlets like Inc., Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Amex Open, Cosmo, New York Times, among others.
Why consider the media?
Stephanie knows the media and has helped a number of company founders to take their personal brands out into the world in order to benefit their businesses.
The fact is that from a founder’s perspective, a strong personal brand can influence company growth. Typically founders are also visionaries and have a strong message to share. They may have made a major advance or impacted the world in some way, or have written a book that highlights their business or work philosophy.
Take it from someone who knows the media
Through founding Chic CEO, a web-based resource for women of over a hundred thousand entrepreneurs, Stephanie also became a contributor to Forbes and realized just what it was that the media were looking for.
“Being a business owner and going out and getting media, being a journalist, and being pitched media. And now, having a visibility agency where I do all of that for my clients, there are really some really key things that you need to know if you think that media or press is a really good, part of your visibility strategy.
Which it absolutely is!
Using a strong personal brand as part of a visibility strategy just makes sense!”
Take your marketer hat off. Put your teacher hat on. 🎩
The first thing to remember when you’re pitching the media is that it’s not about you! It’s never about your company, says Stephanie.
No one cares how wonderfully or carefully you make your product. No one cares that you devised an award-winning product or service.
This is not about what you can get. It’s about what you can give or the impact you’ve made in the lives of others. And this is the biggest mistake that I see entrepreneurs make when they’re trying to get media.
When I started Chic CEO, we really got some really big press right away. I never hired a I did it myself with the mindset of being a teacher.
And so that’s the first point be the teacher, never pitch media.
No one cares about your company. Make it about value.
As we go through our entrepreneurial journey, we learn things. We have lessons, we have crazy experiences. We all have crazy experiences. We all have a really fascinating story, but it can never be about you.
You need to remember that somebody is reading an article for them. So if you’re not teaching them something, if you’re not giving them some actionable advice that they can walk away with, they’re not coming back.
Now, this podcast is a really good example, right? You’re giving people three actionable pieces of content.
So I know that if I come to your podcast and listen to it, I’m going to take something valuable from it. The person that taught it to me is now. Ingrained in my life. I remember their name. I probably will start following them. Always take that mindset.
Take your marketer hat off. Put your teacher hat on.
Action Point Ask yourself the following questions to shift into teacher mode
- What can I impart?
- What lessons can people learn from me?
- What mistakes can I share?
- What are my how-tos?
- What is my story that somebody else can take from me?
A note on impostor syndrome
People often think that they have nothing to contribute. Impostor syndrome is natural, especially when first dealing with the media, but when you realize it’s not about you and it’s about sharing, it’s easier to forget about being self-conscious.
There’s always something that you’ve learned that others maybe haven’t and that they can appreciate from you sharing that, that, that perspective.
Give it legs
Everybody thinks that the second that they get a mention in Inc or Forbes or entrepreneur, that all of a sudden they’re gonna make a million dollars and, you know, customers are just gonna come out of the woodwork.
And that is absolutely not the case!
So when you get a piece in the form of a big press piece or even a small press piece, you need to give it legs. You actually need to keep the momentum going yourself.
Leverage it! And make it work for you.
Break the content into a blog with links to the media post or create social media posts or even send it to your email database.
In my column at Forbes, I wrote about female entrepreneurs and I’ve seen so many women who’ve taken their pieces and run ads to them.
I saw one woman get really creative. She had a contest. If you go and read my piece, and tell me the biggest key takeaway, I’ll send you my book.
It was just so clever!
You cannot sit back and think that the publication is gonna do all the work for you on this. They’re not, it’s just not gonna happen. They’re too busy chasing their next story. So leverage what you can for as long as possible.
Recycle and stay evergreen!
Recycling is in! Not just for plastic but for the media too!
Firstly, on this point, PR should not be your visibility strategy. PR is part of a visibility strategy that also includes aspects like content, social media, and other avenues. PR is like the glitter of a visibility strategy, says Stephanie, and to make it work you have to keep sprinkling.
When you do harness a key piece of media, give it lets but then ALSO put it on a recycling schedule. The likelihood is that your content will still be relevant 3 or 6 months from now.
When you do get a great piece, don’t just let it die.
This kind of goes with number two, but keep recycling this piece, bring it up every six months. Just because you’re on social media, it doesn’t mean that everyone in your audience has seen the piece.
Again, you can talk about it in different ways but don’t let it die just because it happened a year ago or, you know, a month ago.
Recycling will go a long way to building and maintaining your credibility and authority,
Evergreen is what I like to call it!
3 Examples of founders in the media that we love!
- Gary Vanbutsele from Whale on Medium (for obvious reasons)
- Stephanie Burns from Wylde Agency on Forbes
- Jose Cayasso (Caya) from Slidebean on YouTube and the Slidebean blog
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