Tune your pitch.
Make your media pitch stand out amongst the noise
I love music. Everything about it makes me happy. One of the things I love to do is watch a band or put on an album and listen out for just one of the instruments. You tried this? I love to pick out the bass lines. To me, the bass is like that loyal friend that everyone needs, but is often forgotten. To pick out the bass I find I really have to focus because there is a big complex noise booming out at me but I’m just trying to follow one part of that; one angle of the music.
As life gets busy I have less time for music but realise this skill is transferable and one worth learning about, especially if you’re someone who’d like to be able to use traditional media to help tell your story. Let me explain.
I’ve spent most of my career as a radio presenter. Everyday I’d need to find eight to ten interviewees and my focus was to find people who would be relevant to my audience and the state of the world on that particular day.
What I’ve come to realise is watching my inbox was like watching a really big band that was full of great musicians wanting me to listen to them. Perfect, right? I needed a great musician and there they were, playing for me. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality. All I could hear was noise.
Usually the musicians were playing the music for themselves, not for my audience. They were either offering the same old tunes or trying too hard to stand out (journalists know a PR line as soon as they hear one). The band infront of me was too hard to listen to, so instead, I’d go off and search tirelessly for a new musician. Every day I wished it was easier. I wished that I could find someone who knew the right music, had the right skills and would make my audience want to become their groupies.
It seems there is a conundrum.
With research showing less than 15% of consumers trust content shared by companies, it makes sense that lots of people want to use the media to get their message out, plus it's free and super effective. This is partly because the audience assumes people who are interviewed by the media have been through a credibility test, that journalists have checked them out and therefore trust they have something valuable to say.
Then there are media presenters searching every day for ‘great talent', people who can be authentic and capable on air, constructive with their message and can connect to their audience. Yet, both sides are struggling.
So, let’s sort this problem out.
Treat the media like your friend. If you'd text your friend, find the right number and text the media (and let's be honest it's much harder to ignore a text message than an email). If you are going to email, make sure it drops in their inbox when they are looking for it, with a subject line that makes you sound like an old friend. If Facebook or Twitter is their thing, message them there.
Be open, be comfortable and authentic when you talk about your expertise. It’s that conversation you’d have with a mate over lunch. But don’t suck-up or grovel, no one likes that friend.
When you’re talking about your passion make sure you are accurate and be honest when there are things you don’t know or understand. Be aware of how your message could affect the audience, don’t be tone deaf. Include your opinions, it’ll make you more interesting but deliver them with stories and smilies and a smile.
Be clear about your message, without being patronising. Make the conversation relevant to the person you are talking to and, if you can, make them ‘feel’ something when you’re talking, that’s what will make your point memorable.
If you can make the audience consider you as a friend, you might just influence a few people. Research company Nielsen tells us 92% of consumers trust referrals from friends.
Piece of cake, right? There is no doubt it takes a whole lot of practice.
However, if there is one thing you can start doing right now to be noticed by the media, it's to stop playing your instrument louder and start playing a song for a friend.