Even in this era where we’re told the formula: EC=MC, ( “every company is a media company”) developing a personal brand that’s newsworthy and attracts traditional media attention has merit.
But the question is how do you make your personal brand newsworthy? That’s like saying how do I become a movie star that Steven Spielberg wants to hire?
Let’s explore this with a story. I worked in TV News as a broadcast journalist for 15 years. Today, I cover stories about brands and blending storytelling and marketing. But back then much of the time, I covered death and destruction, crime and corruption, the kind of stories that we say we loathe but then are often caught tuning into each night to find out what happened next.
Amidst all of this chaotic news, some people somehow seemed to instinctively know how to capitalize on the latest breaking stories and make traditional media work for them and provide more exposure for their personal brand.
These people weren’t criminals getting their 15 seconds of fame on the nightly news. Instead they were business people who knew how to “make the media jump” and come running to interview them for the next story.
They didn’t come from the same industries. They weren’t speaking the same jargon. They didn’t wear the same ties or skirts. They were instead uniquely distinct but utterly attractive to the news media.
It was because their personal brand was newsworthy. It attracted attention and, because of that, they were the expert authority that the news media had to have a sound bite from in their stories.
Getting there isn’t easy but the good news is, it’s based on a formula that I’m going to share with you right now and if you put it into action, you’ll be on your way to making your personal brand newsworthy.
1) Study the news interview.
Next time you watch the news, pay close attention, not necessarily to the story, but rather the style and flow of news, especially the interviews where guests (often business people) are invited into the newscast.
Remember the silly anchor banter in Anchorman? That’s not what I’m talking about.
What you’ll see is the way the anchors conduct their interviews. In a successful interview, the guest shares the on-air time by not just answering questions but allowing the news anchor to make relevant statements about the particular topic.
This happens by preparing the news anchor for a quick but deep dive into whatever the topic is. Typically these on-air segments are five-minutes or less and often the anchor isn’t fully prepared for them because they’re rushing guests in and out for every news show.
When you study the news interview and understand the style and flow, you’ll be able to arm the news anchor with vital information that makes him/her look informed, instead of simply firing question after question at you the anchor can actually help make you, the expert, look even better during the interview by setting up the question with vital statistics or information you’ve provided before the interview.
It’s akin to making the CEO look smart in a meeting with other clients…it’s just good practice.
When you do this time and time again in news interviews, your personal brand becomes highly attractive to the news media. You become known as a “great source”—someone who gets “how to do TV” and, trust me, those people are few and far between so those who have the “it” factor for interviewing get asked to be on the news.
Usually, guests want to promote their business and their personal brand so much that they’re not paying close attention to how the interview really sounds. They’re only focusing on what they are saying. It’s annoying and the media has no patience for this.
A good interview is really a great conversation–a two-way street…when the news anchor helps share your vital information, it’s seen as even more credible because this person is a trusted authority at that TV/radio station and is echoing your message.
So, for your next interview, provide some great stats and talking points (not just questions) for your interviewer and let that person share some of the important story. It’s a natural way for the next question to be asked of you because it’s how we communicate off-camera, anyway.
2) Take a stand.
There’s hardly anything worse than interviewing someone who is posturing and sits on the fence. The news media wants to report a position. So as one of my favorite tunes from Rascal Flatts croon: “Stand”.
But when you take a stand, be certain it aligns with your personal brand. The news media doesn’t forget and often archives its interviews, so, while it’s perfectly fine to change your mind, remember that your brand must be strong, well defined, and consistent. What you say needs to be backed up and supported by your expertise and the knowledge exudes from your brand, even when you’re talking off-topic and about something that isn’t specifically about your brand.
For instance, if you and your brand are focused on the environment and you’re known as someone who advocates for cleaner, sustainable living, then when the news anchor asks you about your position on the water crisis and to comment on how politicians have responded to it, even if it’s hurting your business, tread cautiously.
Take a stand but be careful how you respond. Ensure that your crafted response is in line with your personal brand image. Don’t fire off heated comments without thinking about how those comments impact how people will see you and your personal brand.
Think about the recent blood comment that Donald Trump made about Fox News debate moderator, Megyn Kelly. Your comments will follow you and may attract significant attention, but it may or may not be the kind you want.
3) Build a brand newsroom.
You might be familiar with the rapidly growing trend to use brand journalism to tell your story. Brand journalism is journalistic storytelling that’s real stories about your company and brand told from a reporter’s perspective rather than advertising.
It aims to answer questions that are being searched for in your industry in a way that allows readers/viewers to better connect with your brand and to move closer to the buying stage. Brand journalism is not advertising. It’s bringing to light the important stories that define your industry, interest consumers or other businesses, and provide insight to core problems as well as solutions.
Your personal brand becomes newsworthy when you share information and resources that go beyond you. You connect with your target audience, but, instead of focusing on you and your products/services, you share important stories about what impacts that audience daily.
When you do this, you’ll develop not only a following but an educational library that can be seen as a brand newsroom–the place to go for answers, just like traditional media. It regularly publishes stories that help, interest, engage, entertain, inspire, and motivate that target audience. Often brand newsroom posts, comments, videos, are picked up by traditional media and the expert authority becomes a resource for the media.
Your brand newsroom becomes the hub of your personal brand and is the vital connection to becoming newsworthy in an otherwise noisy online world. So, it’s time to go Think Like A Journalist and create content that will build your personal brand and give you greater exposure and credibility.