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How to be a voice in your sector, and have the media chasing you for expert comment

Jodie Artis,
11 March 2020

Media relations specialist Jodie Artis has helped hundreds of leaders become sought after by the media, and shows you how.

When a news story hits, the media often reach out to find a spokesperson for a particular sector. Often time is of the essence and the media will look for someone they can trust and they know can deliver good, thought-provoking comment in a professional manner.

It’s a great opportunity if you can get it and has the potential to elevate you and your brand, but like anything, it doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll likely be competing with your peers, so to give yourself the edge, it’s wise to do your research before putting yourself forward. Here’s the hints we share with our clients:

1. FOCUS ON PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE IN AN AUTHENTIC MANNER

These days we have many online mediums to communicate with our target audience. You do not need to use all the tools, rather pick a couple that feel right for you and make a commitment to share your thought leadership in an authentic, authoritative and influential manner.

2. AVOID GRANDSTANDING

Commanding attention and showing passion for your work is important, but to become a trusted thought leader whom journalists will seek out, you need to consistently be authentic (see point 1) and provide actionable, valuable content.

3.QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

 All too often experts in their field over-extend themselves by reaching too far. If it isn’t in your remit, leave it alone. Be helpful and offer to connect them to someone who is better versed on the subject. Over-reaching and muddying waters can often put a CEO and an organisation into hot water. It’s best to focus on the quality of your message – what you know/what you can share, rather than the opportunity to be profiled in a grey area.

4.BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

Once you have interacted with a producer or journalist for a story or interview, keep the lines of communication open. Connect with them on LinkedIn, share your contact details and keep them up to date with developments within the sector and news about the organisation. Don’t be afraid to connect with them every few months to say hi. Building these relationships keep you top of mind when stories break.

“Don’t be afraid to connect with them every few months to say hi. Building these relationships keep you top of mind when stories break.”

5.EXPLORE OUTSIDE YOUR OWN CHANNELS

 Understandably, publishing content on your own channels (blog, website, business social media pages, etc) is comfortable but you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and pitch your thought-leadership content to websites and traditional publications which your audience is reading. This reassures media that you are the expert as they can see your thought leadership on multiple channels of communication.

Becoming the voice of your sector, the one that media reach out to for that expert comment is achievable, but as I said in the beginning, it does take time. You need to ask yourself are you in it for the long haul, ready to take a few knock backs then pick yourself up again, to put yourself out there over and over again? If “YES” then simply follow the above steps, and when the timing is right, your voice may be just what the media is searching for.

 TOP 3 TIPS ON BECOMING A THOUGHT LEADER
  1.  Understand the challenges faced in your sector – It’s important to know everything happening in your sector – legislative changes, new research, funding and grants – and be ready to answer questions on them.

  2. Be articulate and succinct – How you deliver the message is just as important as what you say. Avoid jargon that may isolate listeners and use concise, confident language. A silent pause in dialogue is ok whereas using a number of filler words such as “erm” and “uhm” can make people doubt the credibility of your message.

  3. Be nimble – Be ready to react when a story hits. When a spokesperson is called upon, the media expect you to be react quickly.

Jodie Artis is a specialist business member of The Xfactor Collective – an Australian-first community comprising highly experienced and pre-vetted specialist businesses across 300+ areas of specialisation. The Collective makes it easier for organisation leaders to connect quickly and easily with specialist support through a sector-first helpdesk service, Concierge and also a Platform to search/connect with specialists.

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