What Have We Learned A Year or So Later From COVID, Media, and Publicity Outreach? My Special Guest Marsha From News & Experts Tells Us. . .



What The Last Year Taught Us About COVID And Media Outreach

Posted on by Miguel Casellas-Gil

“Like me, you are probably saddened by news reports that COVID-19 is making a resurgence. Once again, the pandemic is poised to dominate news cycles and, in addition to worrying about health concerns, anyone who is trying to gain media coverage will need to think about how their message fits into the current media conversation.

One bright spot in this otherwise dismal situation is that we learned a lot over the last year about the opportunities for and the importance of PR during a pandemic, and we can all put those lessons to use going forward. In the spring of 2020, we encountered something we rarely if ever had faced in the more than three decades that News & Experts has been in existence.”

Practically every single news story every day was about one subject – the coronavirus. Under those conditions, how could we pitch clients whose expertise and messages had absolutely nothing to do with medicine or health? The one-topic news cycle seemed like a barrier – but only momentarily. Quickly it became clear that the pandemic affected more than health. Finance, sports, personal relationships, corporate culture, the workplace, education, travel and numerous other aspects of life were upended by the pandemic.

All of those topics were also ripe to be discussed and explored in the news. In other words, regardless of your message and your expertise, there was a place for you in the COVID conversation if you approached things the right way. That holds true today. This time the pandemic hasn’t completely hijacked the news, but it does still touch nearly everything in one way or another. That’s why it’s good to review any lessons learned from more than a year of dealing with it.


Stay In The Game

One lesson we definitely learned is that you don’t want to put your publicity efforts on hiatus until the pandemic is over, as some people were tempted to do. Who knows when this will all end. Instead, stay in the game by constantly massaging your message so it fits with what’s happening. This really is no different from what we always told clients in non-pandemic climates. You improve your odds of media success anytime you can link your expertise and message to what print journalists are already writing about, and what radio and TV talk show hosts are already talking about. With our guidance, this is what our clients were able to do.

One client who wrote a book on how the pandemic affected schools was able to speak to the difficulties parents and children encountered, and ways education might be improved as a result of lessons learned from COVID. Another whose expertise was remote work suddenly found that lots of people needed advice about her subject. A client who specializes in helping businesses raise capital spoke about funding options for those businesses rebounding from COVID.

So, if you are trying to promote your personal or business brand, explore where you might fit into the current conversation about the pandemic. The media always needs experts to comment on events and you can be that go-to person and share your knowledge.

If you are a business owner or a consultant who advises businesses, that could involve discussing business decisions about whether to require employees to be vaccinated or whether to request that customers wear masks. If you are a medical professional, you might be able to comment on news stories directly related to the virus or the vaccines.

Or possibly you could discuss the impact the pandemic is having across health fields, such as evolving protocols for office visits or procedures that get postponed.
Doing Good While Promoting Your Brand & Expertise

Something I wrote a year ago also bears repeating now as a lesson learned. You have an opportunity to become part of the conversation about the pandemic and its impact, but making use of this opportunity doesn’t mean you should be opportunistic.

You don’t want to approach it in an exploitative way because that would quickly backfire. But, if you have something valuable to share with the media’s readers, viewers and listeners, they will want to hear from you. A bonus is that you will be doing good in the world as well as promoting your brand.

Yes, we all learned lessons in the last year – and likely there are plenty more awaiting us.

And that’s the good news because each of those lessons will assist you in your goal of building a long list of media successes…


Keep Learning and Growing with News & Experts!

Marsha Friedman, CEO & Founder


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Can You Become an ‘Instant’ or Overnight Media Success Authors?

I just read a great new article by my dear friend and PR expert Marsha Friedman in my newsletter from her PR firm. So, Marsha is back and shares and explains, time matters when it comes to media success. It doesn’t happen overnight and especially for authors and their books. Marketing your brand as an author and marketing your books takes a lot of work! Here is what Marsha says about this topic … Catherine *Cat*

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The Time And Toil That Lie Behind ‘Instant’ Media Success

Have you ever heard actors, singers, or even authors who became “overnight sensations” explain that their success didn’t happen overnight after all?

Instead, it was the result of lots of toil, along with years in which they languished in obscurity before – after much persistence – they rose to prominence and finally achieved “instant” fame.

Building your personal brand works in somewhat the same way. You can’t expect to bolt out of the starting gate one day and end up the next morning on the front page of a major newspaper or on the set of a national TV show.

So, the bad news is that success in the publicity and personal-brand-building world can take time. The good news is, for those willing to put in that time and effort, success does happen – and often in a big way!

Case in point: One of our clients was just featured in an Inc. magazine article that focused entirely on her and her message, along with a mention of her book! That’s not a common occurrence with this publication.

But this was no overnight achievement. She’s been our client for a year, and in that time we steadily helped her build both a stronger social media presence and print media presence. Would Inc. magazine has devoted so much space exclusively to her if she hadn’t built her authority over the last 12 months? Unlikely.

I share her success story for a couple of reasons.

For one thing, this shows what can be accomplished by those who find a message that resonates with the media and who keep at it, realizing that publicity and brand-building must be ongoing.

The second reason I share her story is this: On occasion, we encounter clients who don’t have a strong media presence and yet expect this sort of media attention instantly. They struggle to understand why we don’t just call up journalists or TV producers and explain how great they are or how wonderful their product or service is. They assume the media will be eager to talk with them.

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The-Brilliant-Game

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It doesn’t quite work that way. Sorry to say, the media may not be that interested in you – not yet anyway.

But you’re in good company. The top-tier media at one time weren’t into plenty of people who later became household names. No one cared about interviewing Mark Zuckerberg until Facebook started becoming a phenomenon that couldn’t be ignored.

That said, though, there are ways even an “unknown” can start to build a media presence and promote a personal brand, such as:

  • Promote your expertise rather than your product or service. As I mentioned earlier, members of the media likely won’t care about you or what you’re selling. What they do care about is your expertise. Do you have valuable information you can share with their readers, viewers or listeners? If you’re a financial professional, what tips would you offer for retirement planning? If you’re a small business owner, what advice would you give others who want to start a business? The media may not perk up their ears at your name, but they could be swayed by the knowledge you bring to the table.
  • Don’t dismiss the small victories. Everyone wants to be quoted in The Wall Street Journal or USA Today. They want the Today Show to interview them or Entrepreneur magazine to come calling. That’s fine! It’s great to dream big and we help many of our clients enjoy such successes. But don’t fall into the trap of ignoring smaller media opportunities. They help establish your online presence, provide opportunities to hone your message and give the top-tier media greater confidence that you’re a credible and authoritative voice in your industry.
  • Never give up. While a quick dash from anonymity to media darling could happen, it’s not the norm. You may send out pitches and get no response. You might be interviewed for an article, then be left out when it appears in print. Don’t despair. Be persistent. Sometimes it’s a matter of hitting the right journalist with the right pitch at just the right time.

If you’re starting to think this sounds more like a journey than a quick trip, you would be right. And, for those who care about personal brand building over the long haul, it’s a journey that has to be ongoing.

Once your efforts die, so will media interest – and they’ll turn to the next “overnight sensation”!

Instantly yours,

Marsha! (We Help Authors Too! http://newsandexperts.wpengine.com/book-promotion-services-for-marketing-a-book/

 

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News & Experts PR Firm
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