The secret strategy to getting the right media attention

One of the most important skills for entrepreneurs and business leaders is to master public relations in a positive manner. Today, we’re joined by expert Christina Daves. Daves is a master of public relations, and we’ll discuss that, along with her “Get P.R. Famous” program, to help the region’s entrepreneurs make their names known.

ABERMAN: Let’s begin with this process you have, you’ve helped hundreds if not thousands of people in the D.C. region, and nationally, get better exposure. How would you describe this as a formulaic process?

DAVES: What I figured out, after years and years of this, is: I had admitted a product, new to the market, completely new in the marketplace, and I asked myself, how am I going get people to find about it? So, what I figured out is, you’ve got to have a newsworthy story idea, you’ve got to have a great hook to get that journalist to open that email, and you’ve got to have the right journalist. If you put all three of those in place, and get really used to doing it, it’s muscle memory, you’re pitching really good stories, you will have success.

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ABERMAN: So your view of P.R., then, is that ultimately, you rise and fall on the quality of your content?

DAVES: Well, content’s really important. It’s important because a journalist is going to check you out, and make sure that you are this credible person. When you pitch a story, a journalist says, wow, this is really good, and they go to your website and you have nothing. You have no social media followers, they’re probably not going to use you, and they might look for the next expert on that topic. So, yes, it’s very important that you’ve got good content, in your industry, and you’re sharing it, and then you’re pitching, so you do check out.

ABERMAN: This differentiates from what I would call self-promotion, you know, using one’s own Twitter feed, or LinkedIn, or whatever, to shout your message. You’re getting at something different here, it seems.

DAVES: Yeah, I think it’s all-encompassing, because when you do have that good content out there, and you are on Twitter—and you’re a journalist. Don’t you look on Twitter? That’s one of the biggest places. I tell people, connect with your journalists on Twitter—don’t pitch them on Twitter, but see what they’re talking about, see what you can relate to your industry. Comment on it, share it with your audience. And that’s how you start to build that relationship with journalists.

ABERMAN: I think you’ve really caught me there, and you’re absolutely right. I’m always looking for people to talk with here on the air, to write about, and for me, the people that come in and pitch me, people pitch all day long. It’s the research you do behind the scenes to see whether not they’re actually delivering value to a customer, whether they’ve actually written things that are sensible. Because you’re absolutely right, anybody who’s in the media industry now is drowned with people who are jumping up and down, saying look at me, look at me.

DAVES: Right. But if you put my little formula in place, you become light years ahead of your competition, because you’re giving them as story. You’ve done your research, you know what that journalists covers, you’re pitching them exactly what they want to see, and then you’re giving them a great headline that—I mean, I’ve had clients, their headlines have been on the covers of magazines, their hooks—and you’re sending it right to the right person. So, if I pitch you exactly what you do on this segment, you’re like, wow, my job is done. This is great! You check them out, done, booked.

ABERMAN: It’s almost like the way I’ve heard people describe looking for the right job.

DAVES: Sure. It’s the same thing, and it’s doing your homework. That’s the thing, so many people are just sending a thousand emails out. It’s not personalized. It’s not specific to them. But if you go that extra step, you’re so much more likely to have success. And I tell people, don’t even send a press release unless you just want to give them more information. Make it a personal email. You’ve done your homework, you know what the segment is about, you know the way they write articles. You give them a couple bullet points, you give them a statistic, and you know, let’s talk more.

ABERMAN: You mentioned journalists. I think that, traditionally, when people thought of a journalist, they thought of mainstream newspapers, magazines, media outlets like radio programs. But, is journalism broader these days?

DAVES: Absolutely. And I tell people, everybody wants to be on CNN, or the Today Show, Good Morning America, but it’s those high-ranking blogs that will give you the link back to your website. I mentioned earlier, you’re going to check somebody out. I’m going to check somebody out before I meet with them. So, when somebody types your name into Google, and you see Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes, Entrepreneur, wow, you check out. The CNNs and things like that, they rarely will link back to you. So, I think it’s almost better, in terms of credibility, and SEO, to get the blogs.

ABERMAN: As you look at the current environment, do you get a sense that, with all the people that are engaged in attention-seeking behavior using social media, it makes it easier to stand out if you take the time to provide good content, or does it make it harder?

DAVES: Oh, I think it’s easier. You’re providing good content, you’ve got a good following. I think we talked about it a little bit earlier, people will start to follow you. They want to see what you’re going to talk about, versus if you’re just throwing stuff out there to get stuff out there—I don’t like that. If something comes in my email inbox, I’m like, oh, what is this? Give me something good that I really want to read, or watch—and video is so important, I’d rather see it in a video form—but that’s good content. That’s what people are going to pay attention to.

ABERMAN: You know, it’s refreshing to have this conversation, because I have to tell you, I’ve had other folks in the studio. I talk with people who say that, we’re just drowning in a sea of information right now, and doesn’t seem like you buy that.

DAVES: Give your people what they want—and I have a good following, people like what I put out there. I put out a P.R. tip every Friday. Short, less than two minutes, it’s everywhere. It’s just something that people can use and take away and help. If this is what they want to do, I can help them do this.

ABERMAN: You and I have a minute left together, I’m sure that, at this point, people listening are thinking that this sounds really great. What are three things I can do to get started?

DAVES: Start local. I think that’s one of the best places. Local journalists love stories about local businesses. So, get to know your local people, and you can pick up the phone and do that. Learn what’s what’s interesting about your business. What’s your niche? Even if you’re a real estate agent, how can you narrow down to that one thing that you do that nobody else is doing? That’s your newsworthy story idea. And again, make sure you’re pitching the right person. You can Google it: who writes about X for Y? It’s that easy.

ABERMAN: Like anything else in the world, if you take the time to do it right, you can do it well.

DAVES: Absolutely.

ABERMAN: Christina, I want to thank you for coming into the studio and joining us today. It was really great hearing about what you’re up to, and some really great nuggets of information. Folks, check out PR for Anyone, by Christina Daves.

DAVES: Thank you.