What an Oprah Producer Taught Me About Getting Major Publicity
If you’re looking to massively increase your sales, build an influential profile and turn your business around quickly – getting major publicity is one of the best strategies you can employ.
(Regardless of whether you’re a consultant, artist, web developer, author or entrepreneur, that’s totally irrelevant.)
The question is;
“How do I get major publicity that gives my business, my product / service and my brand the exposure it needs to hit critical mass in sales?”
What an Oprah Producer Taught Me About Getting Major Publicity
I have spoken to and been mentored by many interesting people over the years when it comes to getting publicity, including friends and publicists that worked on the hugely successful “The Secret” DVD release by Rhonda Byrne.
But it was my conversation with a former award winning Oprah producer that was an eye-opener for me and taught me a lot about positioning myself and my clients – of whom have been featured in the likes of The Huffington Post, Vogue, CLEO, The Sydney Morning Herald, CNN and more.
Before I had these lightning bolts of conversations, among many successes, I had also failed many times.
Maybe you can relate?
- I had sent out press releases with no response.
- I had sat by the phone waiting for it to ring.
- My replies to ‘media requests’ went unanswered.
- I had expected people to sit up and take notice but they didn’t even realise I existed.
- And, hiring a publicist turned out to be a MASSIVE waste of money!
While I am not particularly proud of my failures, I have learnt that failing fast, failing early and failing often is the best way to build acceleration towards success. Part of succeeding is being able to fail, pick yourself up, understand where you went wrong and try a new angle – an approach that I’ve taken to achieve fantastic results since then.
Employing these strategies have played a massive part in fast growing my digital following to over 80,000 worldwide – not bad eh!?
Not to mention getting featured on Channel 7’s Sunrise and even in the very controversial show, The Real Housewives of Melbourne.
Just imagine what getting major publicity coverage could mean for you…
The fact is that you can continue to be the wallflower that everyone overlooks or you can choose to do something about it. You can take on the mainstream media and gain publicity. You can develop your own brand and values, and learn to showcase yourself to capture attention. Attention that shifts public opinion and means you finally get taken seriously.
Attention that helps you to;
- Increase your sales
- Establish yourself as an authority figure within your industry
- Catapult your conversion rates
- Capture and connect with tens of thousands of social media fans
- Secure 6-7 figure sales within a short period of time
- Instant credibility = instant cash flow
But how many do you know with unique stories, businesses, products and services that constantly go unnoticed, unrecognised and unpaid?
Some of The best advice I ever had came from a former Oprah producer…
“The simple matter of the fact”, she advised me, “is you have to be interesting”.
Sounds overly simple right!?
It is, when you know how to plan, package and market your story.
What happens to most?
They give up after their first lot of rejection and quit.
They fail to be interesting.
Let me be clear however, it’s not because they aren’t interesting it’s just that they haven’t learnt which key aspects of their story to put forward to engage the interest of the media. There’s always a story, it doesn’t matter what product or service you sell or industry you work in – from my experience, there is “always” a story.
I’ve helped people from all walks of life get major publicity, including; fashion designers, business coaches, creators of sports drink, psychologists and even local councils. The opportunities are endless.
But before we continue, I have something to ask you…
Listen Closely! I have 2 vital questions for you;
Are you concerned about what people will think of you?
Are you worried you’ll put yourself out there and get rejected?
If you said a resounding “YES!” get excited because today is your lucky day.
I’m going to share with you some personal insights with you that will make all of the difference to your results.
Insights that will help you troubleshoot the number one reason ‘why’ you fail to consistently get major coverage.
Let’s dive in now.
INSIGHT #1: Never apologise for who you are;
When I ask people, “what’s your biggest concern about getting major publicity?”, 99% of them say fear of rejection.
I’m going to give you the same advice that I received from Dannette (the former Oprah Producer).
Don’t apologise for who you are, be proud of it.
The more personality you show, the better.
Which do you think the media would be more attracted to – someone who is not afraid to express an opinion and support it or someone who hesitates to say what he or she thinks?
Which are you more likely to watch on TV – someone who entertains because their personality shows, or someone who is polite and bland?
The journalists know that if you can’t interest them, you’ll probably bore the pants off their audience.
INSIGHT #2: Stereotype yourself to stand out
The media are always on the lookout for interesting people, particularly those with interesting stories to go along with it. You need to have a position or an opinion on topics important in your industry and some sort of stories you can call on to support your case. If you don’t have a set of stories in your toolkit, go find some right now.
“I can see where you fit into the scheme of things”, she went on to say.
This to me was a real epiphany at the time, even though I’d heard it one hundred times before and routinely told my clients the same advice – sometimes it’s not the advice, it’s where it comes from that makes it really sink in and make you say to yourself, “I really need to listen closely here.”
You see, you need to understand that it’s unlikely that an audience will know who you are or the business is that you represent so the media will need to explain who you are and why you’re worth talking to. You can leave it up to them to define you, or you can define yourself. Personally, I want to choose how I am portrayed.
If you don’t have a particular “fit” for yourself already, then make one, otherwise you will find that others will stereotype you and you might just not just like where you end up. Or worse case, they might not be able to place you in context for the audience to understand your involvement in the first place.
Stereo-typing yourself into a particular category when it comes to pitching to the media is one of the first and most powerful steps I take with my clients that get major coverage. And to do this, the following mix of elements must be just right;
- Compelling bio packed with intrigue and credibility
- A story that is unique / provocative / entertaining
- A packaged up personal brand that allows you to grab their attention immediately
- One pager – includes image of the spokesperson / brand, segment pitches for TV and radio and a short bio that asserts your status as an expert in your field
No real media strategy is complete without the inclusion of these well researched elements. And that’s just the beginning.
INSIGHT #3: Refine the image you wish to portray
“You look on great on camera”, she told me.
I had worked hard to create this groomed, authentic amplified version of me to present to the public, so looking great on camera wasn’t an accident. Think about it. You may be interesting and you may fit nicely into the context of a story but if you don’t look like what people expect you to look like, i.e. the expert you present yourself to be, then your involvement in the story won’t make sense. Think about what you’re wearing, how you stand, and even how you speak. Look the part.
Let me be clear…
This is often the one step that many do not place enough importance on. It’s also the one step that unravels their entire media strategy – a strategy that could grow their fan base by tens of thousands over night.
Having produced segments on Oprah, Dannette emphasized this point incredibly strongly. If people didn’t look great on camera, they had no hope in hell of stepping out on stage with Oprah next to them.
What does this mean for you?
- Dress to match your industry
- Keep your hairstyle and clothes up to date and groomed
- Your fashion sense should also reflect your personality – this is where personal branding comes in full flight.
Next time you open a magazine, turn the TV on or read the newspaper, take a look at the images of those they feature – what attributes do they possess?
Getting major coverage is simply applying a very specific formula – a formula that is worth tens of thousands of dollars in sales for you. It’s all in the execution and paying attention to the things that often people don’t believe are important that make all of the difference.
These were three profoundly simple, yet very powerful insights from someone who knows how the media mill works. Of course, there is much more to it than that and I’m going to cover even more insights for you in the coming week, but for now you have something to work with.
Begin by completing this sentence,
“I am an ………………………… expert.”
For example, I’m an expert in personal branding and marketing. It indicates to the media exactly where I fit in relation to breaking news and segment ideas. Think long and hard about how you fit into the current landscape.
Now, once you have worked on being interesting, becoming stereotypical and suitably groomed from head to toe, what happens next?
3 Bonus Tips to Get You Started Quickly
You’re a polished product, or you’re well on your way to it, if so it’s time to get noticed by the media, but how will they find you? There are plenty of people demanding their attention. What are you going to do to stand out?
This is where your personal brand and values really become important. Something I’ve written extensively about in my bestselling book CLICK, The New Science of Influence;
1. Be prepared for your media opportunities even before they arrive. Work out what you can comment on and how. Work out your core message and how you might reflect that in media stories. Create some templates so you can respond to media opportunities as soon as they appear to beat out the competition. If you give the media what they want, they won’t look for anyone else and you’ll create for yourself endless future opportunities.
2. Get your list ready. It’s fantastic to have an awesome angle or story but if you don’t have anyone to share it with, well, what’s the point? Which media will put you in front of your target audience? Do your research and check out TV shows, magazines, radio – every form of media – and work out which ones your target audience is likely to be watching. Those are the top of your media hit list. Having an excel spreadsheet of email addresses becomes absolutely vital at this point – especially when you’re ready to hit the ground running and you’ve perfected your pitches and press releases.
3. Don’t sit and wait. Get up and chase publicity. Discover and practice the art of the pitch, where you email and sell a media producer or editor on a story idea that you are a key part of.
Timing is everything. As an expert you must be available to comment on things as they happen.
And there’s more…
There is a certain technique involved when approaching the media…
When you are writing to your media contacts, you need to alert them to the problems (or the situation) and offer a couple of solutions and segment ideas. But don’t give it all away! You will leave them with no reason to include you. Allude to the fact that you have more to share and you would love the opportunity to be able to do that.
A highly conversational approach will work better than a formal letter. It shows you are down to earth and approachable, another huge media friendly quality. Over ten years of successfully being featured in the media from CNN, Channel 7, Channel 9, GQ Men’s Magazine and countless newspapers and magazines, I’ve collated various templates that help make this process easy. Create a folder in your inbox now, so you can begin to store your own successful campaigns for later reference.
Getting major publicity exposure will help your business to be seen by those who need to see it. It has the power to make your business, boosting your audience and pushing cash your way.
Regardless of what kind of industry you are, you need publicity.
Wouldn’t you like to put your business in front of 100,000s of people to get the exposure you need to really make your business a success?
Are you really serious about this?
I’ve shared a lot of information here but I need to make the point that this is only the beginning. Of course, there is a lot more to it or everyone would already be getting all the publicity they want.
Your best advantage comes from learning from real life case studies that give insight into what really happens behind the scenes of a major campaign, and the ability to access media contacts when you need them.
And, if you resonate with this blog post, take a moment to share this post with a friend or colleague.
You can help us reach thousands.
In the meantime, I want you to post a comment below and answer one simple question:
- What is your biggest challenge when it comes to getting major publicity for your business?
If you’ve got any specific burning questions about publicity, leave a comment below and I’ll find you an answer. I check in and reply whenever I can.
Chat again soon!