Do you believe that Forbes, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the BBC are reserved for those who have something big to showcase or are famous already?
Well, I thought so too. Until I decided to test it.
What I did is I wrote an article and sent it to my favorite national newspaper. Two weeks later when I picked up the fresh copy of the newspaper on my way home, surprise, surprise: my piece was prominently featured on its second page! And I was only 10 years old.
Growing up as a girl in Soviet Uzbekistan, I was expected to listen, obey and not to talk back. No one in my family seemed to care about my opinion and everyone insisted on preaching me something. I was not happy about it: I had opinions and wanted to be taken seriously. After my first article, I discovered that I can use the media as a channel for self-expression and I didn’t have to go on living voiceless.
Ever since then, I breathed and lived the media: I kept writing for national newspapers throughout my youth, then went on to study journalism, freelanced for Associated Press, Agence France Presse and got hired by the BBC World Service in my mid-20s.
In the past few years, I’ve been studying entrepreneurs, coaches and consultants who get featured in the media vs those who don’t. What I noticed is that there are patterns of success: those entrepreneurs who are highly visible follow steps similar to what I did (intuitively, since I was young!) when I published my first article. Here’re the steps broken down:
1. Connect to your bigger passion.
If you are an entrepreneur, coach or consultant, the chances are you were driven out of the comfort of the corporate life by passion or a bigger mission. With time and all the busyness, we forget why we chose to do what we do in the first place. Dust off your mission statement and reconnect to your passion.
2. Get clear on your message: what do you want to share with the world?
Once you reconnect to your passion, see which part is important and urgent for you to share with the world. What does the world need right now that you can help with? This bit is all about self-lessness. One of my clients, Lisa, owner of Flavors of Paris, is passionate about sharing a few messages: one is linked to her mission to help tourists experience Paris through local eyes and another one is about what it takes to build a successful small business. What is your message to the rest of the world? Spend some time reflecting.
3, Choose the right home for your story before pitching.
As a former journalist who’s seen hundreds if not thousands of pitches, I can tell you that most pitches fail because they are not sent to the right publication/outlet. Take time to research and find the right outlet for your story. One tip: you’ll want to choose the media outlet which is popular with your target audience. On the other hand, if building credibility and being seen as the industry leader is your main goal, choose a reputed mainstream media outlet like those I named above, eg Forbes, New York Times, Financial Times, the Guardian, BBC, NPR, etc.
4. Don’t listen to naysayers, including your own inner critic and fears.
Self-doubts and perfectionism are the #1 barrier that stops female entrepreneurs from not only pitching but also from accepting to be interviewed on TV shows. Yet in today’s Internet hype era, journalists are looking for new story ideas to cover 24/7. They are always in the look-out for interesting, fresh stories that will appeal to their audiences. And your message and story might be exactly what they are looking for right now’!
Now to YOU. How visible are you? How many of the people that you intend to serve know that you exist? How do you make it easy for them to find your business?
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