I was listening today to the amazing Rachael Taplin talking about how to get free publicity and media coverage at the start of the Career Sizzle Summit. Traditionally we tend to assume that PR and publicity are something that only business owners and large organisations will want – but that is not necessarily the case. Of course, you have to work within the constraints of your organisation and what they will ‘permit’ their employees to do in terms of getting on the media, but there are huge benefits both for the organisation and you when you become known as a ‘go-to person’ in media circles.
Imagine being the on-call expert for a local paper or radio station, or even a national channel. What would that do for your career? Certainly as a coach, I often listen to some one talking about coaching, or leadership, or women in work, and I find myself thinking ‘I could do that’. And now, thanks to Rachael, I know how!
What struck me, talking to Rachael, was that newspapers and radio stations, particularly smaller and more local ones, are desperate for stories. They want people to comment and contribute, so if you get it right, they’ll potentially bite your hand off when you present yourself as someone who is ready and eager to talk in an intelligent, expert fashion! At the same time, the key to successful PR, like so may other aspects of building your career visibility, is building relationships. As Rachael says in the interview ‘PR is a connection…it is not an ego trip…you are there to help the media.’ So start building those relationships before you want them to work for you. If there’s something current going on that is relevant to your industry, your organisation or your area of expertise, you can then step up and position yourself as a woman who has something to say.
Of course, there is probably more scope to put yourself forward in a smaller organisation. Larger organisations often have a media and communications strategy with a dedicated team deciding exactly who can be interviewed and about what, and it’s important not to fall foul of this. However, many senior executives are disinclined to put themselves forward for comment or interview, regarding it as a nuisance, or even a threat. If you’re in a large organisation, then work with the media and communications team. If you work for a smaller outfit, it’s generally much easier to put yourself forward, but as my old Mum used to say, ‘don’t ask, don’t get’.
There are many reasons why people don’t do PR: too time consuming, unrewarding, or fear of being made to look a fool. If you put yourself on reality TV, then you may well end up looking a fool, but this is not what we’re talking about here. What we are talking about here is giving yourself honest opportunities to demonstrate your expertise, and help out a poor journalist!
Seriously though, Rachael added over £30,000 to her business with a limited amount of effort. What might you achieve in terms of promotions or job offers by pursuing a PR path yourself?
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