There you are, in front of the TV, watching the six o’clock news, and up pops a story about the Real Estate industry. Maybe it is about Real Estate or Mortgage Fraud. Maybe the market has bottomed out and people are having trouble selling their homes. Perhaps your area has been hit hard by layoffs and the foreclosure rate has spiked.
Whatever the case, the reporter is interviewing an expert in the area, and that expert isn’t you. Even worse, the expert really doesn’t know what the heck he is talking about. You could do a better job. Why didn’t they call you?!
The reason is that local news producers and journalists probably have no idea of who you are, whether you would even be interested in doing such a thing, or how good of an interview you could provide. They don’t know you.
Understanding the benefits of being in or on the news
Many Real Estate agents and other professionals pay little to no attention to reporters because they fail to see that free Public Relations could actually boost business. They think that competitor of theirs who is always in the news is just somebody with a big ego. Although that may be true, that guy or gal with the big ego also has a big understanding of how to generate business. Appearing in the news gives you a higher profile and instant credibility. It lets prospective clients know who you are and sends the message that you are a legitimate business owner and expert — someone they can trust.
Establishing yourself as an expert
The first step into making you the guy or gal who appears in or on the news is to start establishing yourself as a local expert. Pick one or more areas to specialize in, and then start producing articles that show to the world that you know what you are talking about. I have several areas of specialty, including sales and Real Estate investing, running a Real Estate business, and advising local and federal authorities on the problems associated with foreclosures and Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud. Your areas of specialty are likely to be different.
After identifying your specialties, start publishing. Here are a few ideas on how to get your material written and published:
- If you write well and enjoy writing, you can write the articles yourself.
- Choose content based on your own experience (first-hand knowledge), which makes it more interesting to the reader, drives home the point, and confirms your expertise.
- If you are not much of a writer or dislike writing, hire a writer to work with you.
- Publish your content on your own blog.
- Contribute content to other people’s blogs and to discussion forums. (Pick the blogs and discussion forums that are most popular.)
- Offer to write articles for other publications (newspapers, magazines, and professional journals) that typically contain content relevant to your specialties.
- Offer to write content for local newspapers.
- Making yourself media-friendly.
Journalists are constantly on the lookout for new sources of information. They want experts who know their stuff, but they also want people who are easy to contact, easy to work with, and play well on TV and radio. To make yourself a more attractive interviewee for the press, keep the following important points in mind:
Be accessible: Reporters cannot afford to wait around for return phone calls. Many expect you to be available within minutes. When I dress down for work, I often pack a suit just in case a reporter calls.
Be a good interviewee: Speak candidly and directly answer questions. When preparing for the interview, think in short sound bites–memorable phrases that capture the essence of what you have to say in as few words as possible.
Establish long-term relationships with the media: If a reporter knows an excellent source who plays well on the news, it’s easier and safer than contacting an unknown source. Invite a reporter to lunch. Let them get to know you!
Introducing yourself to the media
Contact reporters and news producers in your area and let them know that you are available on short notice for interviews. Send over a marketing packet that includes your business card, a photo, your resume or curriculum vitae, along with clippings from any articles you have written or other interviews you have given.
Let local news reporters in your area know your areas of expertise and your availability to do interviews. You have to be ready and willing to give interviews at a moment’s notice, but other than that minor drawback, giving interviews provides you with valuable free press!
Once the reporters get wind of you, word spreads quickly, and could even lead to a call from the producer of a national news outlet. Once while negotiating a large deal with several participants at a high-rise in downtown Detroit, the producer for ABC’s World News Tonight tracked me down and called during the negotiations. That call definitely raised a few eyebrows, and the deal was signed.
Email me and I will send you a list of places where you can start posting your articles for free and establishing yourself as a local expert. This will put you on the path to getting your face on the six o’clock news!