Source: SEOSignalsLab

Pick Her Brain!

I’d like to introduce one of our members, Cheryl Hunter, for our next ‘Pick His/Her Brain’ session and I want to thank her for the participation.

Cheryl has been working with the media for decades as a media positioning coach and an expert commentator for news sources such as CNN, Dr. Phil, NBC News, Dr. Oz, Fox, and PBS.

She founded ‘Magnify Your Message’ to help business owners expand their influence, impact, and income by getting their brand in front of millions on major media.

One of her clients who owns a brick and mortar business in Los Angeles went from five-figure revenues each month to six-figure revenue and has stayed there for over 19 months after Cheryl’s 8-week DWY (Done With You) coaching.

If you have any questions on strategic media exposure and messaging, please feel free to pick her brain.

If you own a marketing agency and want to leverage her expertise for your clients, or if you’re a business owner yourself and want to secure media for your brand, you can book a strategy session.

Here are the rules.

1) I’ll let the thread go on until she asks me to stop. Theoretically, this thread can continue until the FaceBook stock value goes to zero.

2) Please, no snarky remarks. I will not tolerate any intentional negativity. We are here to learn from each other’s successes and strategies.

3) Please do not PM her and bother her. If you have a private question, ask for her permission on this thread when appropriate.

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Table of Contents

How did you start your journey?

My journey to learning how to crack the media code originally started many years ago when I started my own coaching company and couldn’t get clients.

I was highly trained, and I was great at what I did; I’d been a professional coach for over a decade working for large coaching firms, but my skill didn’t translate to getting customers.

On New Year’s Day many years ago I saw someone on TV offering coaching on how to start the New Year powerfully (the advice was pretty lame).

And I thought I could have done the segment at least as well as the person on TV, so I set about to learn how.

It’s now been a decade and I’ve done over 100 media interviews and I’ve gotten my business in front of millions…and helped my clients do the same.

I’ve found that the right media placement is part of a very effective client-acquisition strategy.

What are the top 3 things to keep in mind when a business owner speaks to the public via the media?

Such a good question. I have to say I agree 100% with what Greg wrote. I’ll add the following:

You have to say something DIFFERENT than everyone else out there is saying.

You have to be able to PROVE that what you’re saying WORKS and is a BETTER option/solution/fix.

What are your top 3 “must-haves” for brand building in relation to “expand their influence, impact, and income”?

Here are 3 “must haves” for brand building from my perspective:

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1. Find a real problem that people/businesses have.

2. Provide a new, better solution to that problem.

3. Articulate both the PROBLEM and the SOLUTION in such a way that the target audience feels like you’re inside their head.

4. (This is a bonus “must-have!) Disseminate what you’re saying far and wide.

If you don’t get that message in front of people, they’ll never know you’ve got a solution to their problem.

My niche SEO service is ghostwriting to earn media placements. We currently leverage HARO, and we are about to buy into Agility PR to scale our outreach. Do you recommend any other tactic we could add onto our current strength?

Great question, Years ago I started with HARO myself…it’s a great way to get your foot in the door and secure initial media placements.

The journalists are ACTIVELY looking for experts for interviews, so it’s the perfect time to pitch them.

Ultimately, though, a long-range strategy will benefit from implementing both “reactive” elements (i.e. responding to pitch requests on sources like HARO).

And also PROACTIVE elements where the outreach to media professionals is initiated by you when they aren’t actively looking.

Because media professionals are spinning a lot of plates–they’re not only wrapping up yesterday’s stories and working on today’s.

But they’re cogitating on what’s upcoming for tomorrow.

You help them immensely when you pitch them something in their lane for a story they haven’t even come up with yet.

Make sense? Thanks again for the great question!

What are some great messaging angles to use for media marketing?

Such a good question. Here’s my take:

1. Look at what they’re ALREADY talking about in the news.

2. Bring a unique take to it. Flip it on its head. Myth bust. Say something DIFFERENT.

3. Here’s the catch: you have to SUBSTANTIATE whatever you say. Back it up.

Cite the studies or back up your claim to PROVE that what you’re saying is the new, better way to _____. (fill in the blanks.)

Who is not the right fit for media marketing?

I’m going to answer the question “Who is not the right fit for media,” not “media marketing” because my expertise is in securing media placement and not traditional marketing.

To answer the question who is or is not the right fit for media, I like to think of it as being “media-worthy” or not.

To be clear, asking if someone/something is “media-worthy” is not a judgment call–it’s a call-to-action to raise our own standards.

Theoretically, anything/anyone/any business could be “media-worthy”; we just need to put on our “media professional” hats and imagine we were a journalist.

If we were, what would we want/need to provide for our audience.

What would stop them from clicking away, turning the page, or changing the channel?

We need to provide the media with something new and unusual. As I mentioned as a response to another question, we can do that by:

1. Seeing what they’re ALREADY talking about in the news.

2. Bring a unique take to the issue. Flip it on its head. Myth bust. Say something DIFFERENT than what everyone else is saying or doing.

3. SUBSTANTIATE what we say. Back it up. Cite the studies or back up your claim to PROVE that what we’re saying is the new, better way to _____. (fill in the blanks.)

1. What is a good way to gauge the effectiveness of a PR campaign? 2. What are some overlooked topics for PR for small service businesses 3. TV vs Radio vs Online Print. What works best for businesses with a small budget in a medium-sized market?

1. A good way to gauge the effectiveness of a PR campaign is twofold.

First, media exposure, plain and simple, and second (and less simple) educating your target audience AND the business owner and staff on what the business really provides.

Each time the messaging is drilled down, everyone becomes more clear on the raison d’être of the business…which is always a good thing.

2. Please see the video that I posted here in this thread. I’ve tagged you in it.

3. We’re talking about different things. I specialize in media placement (like where the business owner is interviewed on TV or radio or in print).

That doesn’t cost anything (don’t get me wrong; it costs TIME and EFFORT on behalf of the business owner) but it’s not a pay-for-play phenomenon.

I think you’re talking about advertising because you mention a budget. I specialize in getting business owners featured in major media, not paid advertising.

Sorry. Definitely check out the video I made!

How can a marketing agency leverage media to generate clients? How should they position themselves?

Your question has two parts to it, so I’ll answer each separately.

Re: leveraging media to generate clients:

A lot of business owners that come to us are having trouble getting leads and closing leads.

One of the things they most commonly hear is that their potential clients don’t know enough about them or they need to know more before they can invest.

Major media placement handles both of those issues:

1. It helps your target audience know that you exist, and,

2. It gives them confidence to invest with you.

As far as the next part of your question goes: “How should they position themselves?”.

Businesses need to position themselves as having an uncommon solution to a common problem.

I go more deeply into media positioning tips here in this online masterclass:

How do you see the future of media?

Great inquiry.

While I can’t pretend to predict where media is going,.

One thing is certain: media professionals will continue to need expert commentary and media-worthy content.

I’ve been referencing how to create media-worthy content all day, but I bottom-line it here in this masterclass:

I once was involved in a kickstarter where a “reputable” PR agency was retained for $9k to gain exposure via media and press. They had past successful projects and a good portfolio of past placements. They ended up only getting maybe two different no-name websites to cover the project. The owner tried to get a refund but was not able to. Any insight on how to hire and vet a quality PR agency?

You ask such a good question–and I’m sure others have wondered something similar.

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Here’s the thing with PR agencies: even the best, most reputable ones cannot guarantee results.

(Speaking about the best, most reputable ones here) they’ve built relationships with media professionals.

They’ve honed their pitching skills; they’ve caused results for other clients.

None of that, however, can guarantee that they can do anything for the next client.

There are several reasons: what else is happening in the news at the time; what else the journalists who are being pitched have on their plates; who else is pitching and what they bring to the table, etc.

This doesn’t even take into account what the journalist is dealing with from their bosses and superiors (i.e. what current mandates the network or publication may have).

There are SO MANY factors that can’t even be calculated that it’s extremely difficult to know why your pitches get a response or a booking…or why they don’t.

When I was just starting out I hired PR firms/publicists on several occasions and got NOTHING from them.

I was frustrated and sad and upset that my hard-earned tens of thousands of dollars went up in a puff of smoke.

(Most PR firms/publicists require a 3-6 month retainer.)

I knew I had something of value to offer, and I could see others around me were in a similar boat, so I decided to figure out a way to make it happen.

I took the slow boat to China, so to speak, by figuring it out on my own.

I learned how to write, and ultimately wrote TV and film under contract with studios and networks including HBO, CBS, and Paramount Pictures.

Most importantly, I learned the basics of storytelling.

Whether or not you recognize it, WE ALL KNOW the basics of storytelling: there are common, universal themes like David vs. Goliath, the prodigal son, fitting in vs. not fitting in, etc.

We all have seen good (and bad) storytelling. We can all use what we know to tell our own stories and our brands’ story.

The media game is a marathon, not a sprint.

While some stories and brands catch on immediately (generally because they tie in to some story that is currently in the news), for most people/businesses/brands it takes time.

Given that’s the case, hiring a PR firm or publicist isn’t for everyone, since not everyone can/wants to wait and see while continuing to pay a monthly retainer.

There are two solutions as far as I can tell:

1. Pay a PR firm/publicist and wait until their work pays off,

2. Learn how to craft a compelling message and turn that message into a movement yourself.

If you opt for the first, check out client testimonials, compare them to your own offering (or your clients’ offerings/business) and prepare for the long game.

Know that you will be investing in the marathon, not the sprint.

Try to learn as much about the process as you can along the way so that you can apply what you learn if you ever let them go and end the contract.

Do understand, though, that they aren’t generally too keen on letting you “behind the curtain,” because then you wouldn’t have to keep them on retainer!

If you opt for the second option, my team and I can help.

Best of luck either way.

What would be your advice or PR tactic for a new product extension of an existing brand that has a natural immunity-boosting anti-viral spray product?

I’m happy to be here. You’d want to find a way to tie-in the new product to what’s currently happening in the news.

As an example: (this is just an EXAMPLE–I am not a medical doctor, and I don’t even play one on TV! what difference would your product make with the coronavirus?

If the new product could help people with that AND YOU CAN PROVE IT, then you’d have something media-worthy that would be timely as all heck.

Does that make sense? With something as sensitive and life-or-death as coronavirus, though.

You’d have to be able to substantiate the heck out of your claims, or your actions could potentially backfire.

Here’s an example of the way a client of mine dis something similar. He’s an estate-planning attorney who does great work.

His clients love him, and he gives peace-of-mind to parents and spouses and people who have dependents and want to ensure those who count on them will be taken care of after they die.

The biggest problem that this estate-planning attorney was facing with potential clients is that they think that they’re invincible and they’ve always got “someday” to be in action.

Unfortunately, this estate-planning attorney said that the majority of his business came when people died “intestate,” meaning, they died without a will, and their dependents were left in a lurch.

The estate planning attorney wanted to warn the public of the perils of waiting until someday, but he wasn’t getting them to pay attention.

When Kobe Bryant died unexpectedly at 41 years of age, it brought the issue to light for people: “someday” isn’t guaranteed.

The estate-planning attorney submitted pitches and wrote articles that tied Kobe’s unexpected death to our own inevitable end, and reminded people to protect their dependents.

He got a lot of traction from this.

Many people who’d been meaning to get an estate plan finally got one. Others who’d never even considered it got one, too.

Were there those out there who thought the estate-planning attorney was capitalizing on Kobe’s death? Probably.

Haters gonna hate, as the saying goes.

Ultimately, though, the estate-planning attorney knew that he was getting his message out there (“Someday isn’t guaranteed), and he was helping people.

Would not tying Kobe’s unexpected death to estate-planning bring Kobe back? No. Did he tie Kobe’s death to estate-planning in a respectful way? Yes.

It’s up to you.

If you can find something that’s happening in the news or in current events and tie your product launch to it, you’ll find it a far easier job to get your message out.

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Remember, it’s not just a product; it’s got to be a message, too.

If you need help crafting a compelling brand message, feel free DM me.

I’m happy to help.

How do you determine a story to push?

Thanks for the question. Generally a business owner is on their own when determining a story to push.

Since it’s generally not their area of expertise, they have two options:

1. Pay a PR firm/publicist and wait and hope until their work pays off.

Understand that the media game is a marathon, not a sprint.

While some stories and brands catch on immediately (generally because they tie-in to some story that is currently in the news), for most people/businesses/brands it takes time.

Given that’s the case, hiring a PR firm or publicist isn’t for everyone.

Since not everyone can/wants to wait and see while continuing to pay a monthly retainer (most demand a 3-6 month retainer to start, then clients go month-to-month after that.)

2. Learn how to craft a media-worthy message and get major media placement yourself.

I just made and posted a video in this thread about how to do that. I’ll tag you in the video so you can see it.

For those that want help crafting a media-worthy message and getting media with that message, my team and I can help. DM me if you want support.

How do I thank reporters for using us as sources? I’ve read conflicting suggestions. If we see inaccurate information in an article that we’ve collaborated on (not a case of us being misquoted or accidentally providing misleading or inaccurate info), is there a best practice way to approach offering a correction? Since again, these inaccuracies are common in the industry, is there a way to offer corrections to reporters we don’t have previous contact with? For reporters who’ve used us as sources in the past, how do we best maintain that relationship over the long run to hopefully be used on additional articles later? Should we email them with seasonal suggestions or when there’s news about our segment?

Good questions.

First, re: corrections–that’s a toughie.

That’s incredibly difficult if the people you’re reaching out to aren’t the ones you have had previous contact with.

More importantly, though, regarding the entirety of your questions: ask yourself how would you build relationships in any other context?

How would you grow and nurture those relationships? Would you take and not give?

Would you ask for things and not give anything in return? Of course not!

This may sound rudimentary, but it’s no different when building these relationships.

What does a PR message need to gain media attention?

I made a video on that topic here in this thread.

I’ll tag you so you can see it.

How do you best pitch your PR text to media, in order to get seen? I suspect it is not publishing it to those free or paid PR websites?

Obviously I can’t teach you the whole method to do that in a comment, but I can give you a pretty good overview and point you on where to go to learn more.

In short: nope, publishing to those free or paid PR websites is an old-school, useless tactic.

Real media professionals don’t have time to scour those places. First, make your pitches media-worthy (see the video I just tagged you in.)

Then solve problems for media professionals. Provide value. Become indispensable to them. Lather, rinse and repeat.

For a deeper dive, feel free to check out this masterclass:

When you’re ready to learn the specifics of how to do that, my team and I are happy to speak with you.

Use this link to book a strategy session:

If you were to recommend a book or two to a newbie to this subject, would you have some suggestions?

I don’t have a book recommendation.

You can check out my masterclass, though:

What are your thoughts on it and the various loopholes that are still viable for manipulation of the media?

I have not read it. Like any industry, manipulation of it only lasts for so long … and ultimately it backfires. Look at SEO manipulation.

How effective is that?

That being said, there’s definitely a way to get your message featured in major media–but it’s not by manipulating the system; it’s by providing value.

For a deeper dive, check out my masterclass, particularly Code 1 and Code 3.

What platform is best, after HARO, for what you call proactive media outreach, and how do you identify journalists in your niche, most likely to be receptive, then how do you contact them (email with pitch)??

With respect, every business owner we speak with wants to know the same thing.

They’re all struggling; they know the difference that it would make to get their business in front of millions via major media, and yet they don’t know how to do that.

That’s exactly why we have a business–we help business owners substantiate, position, and edify their services and offerings through major media placement.

I’ve posted a ton of super valuable, actionable information here. Ultimately, though, when it comes to the specific “how-to’s” business owners are left with three options:

1. Try to re-invent the wheel and figure it out themselves,

2. Hire a publicist, and wait and hope (at $25K per month),

3. Hire my company and have us teach you how to do it.

I see you’re an injury law attorney.

You can give people free advice all day long, but when someone’s been in a car accident, you’ll probably agree that it’s best that they bring in the professionals rather than taking matters into their own hands.

There’s just too much at stake.

I invite you to watch the video I made and posted here in this thread.

If you decide that’s not enough information and you need specifics and help implementing them, those three options exist.