Founder & CEO of MVPR – Automated PR for startups.
I’m often asked by founders about how to get on TV, write for major publications or become a guest on a top podcast. I get it — as a founder, you’re likely reading industry news and seeing leaders like you discuss topics you want to be known for. I do it, too. Founders will send me articles featuring people with similar backgrounds or expertise and ask if I can help them get recognized in the same way. But rather than just sharing my thoughts with them, I thought I’d share them with you, too.
First, to manage your expectations, there isn’t a silver bullet. If you’re starting from scratch, it may take you months to get your flywheel turning. Getting into the position where opportunities come to you is challenging — many executives at big tech firms bring in agencies that will charge them $100k per year for a “CEO positioning” strategy. This may work, but you can just as easily do this yourself.
Below are just a few things you can do to stack the odds in your favor.
1. Understand how publications value you and your content.
To understand what makes you an attractive proposition to a publication, you first need to identify what it is you can bring to the table. For early-stage founders, you’ll lack the credibility of a seasoned industry pro with a FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet) name behind you — and make no mistake, you’ll be competing with them for column inches, too. What you can bring is a unique, slightly controversial perspective and a new audience they can monetize.
2. Nail your niche again and again.
Identify what it is you want your personal, slightly controversial niche to be, and then create a series of content ideas that tie together. This way, you’ll hit that topic in some way every time you write, tweet, post, etc. Make sure your topic(s) relates to the problems your customers have or the value proposition of your business. There’s no point in becoming known for a topic that is unrelated to your business — unless that’s the end goal.
3. Get in front of your audience regularly.
Line up your social media strategy to support your views. If you don’t have time to write a blog article every week, write a social post every week instead and get in front of your audience regularly. This is an exercise in becoming known for something; you can’t become top-of-mind if you’re not talking about it regularly.
4. Methodically build your personal brand.
Start writing, posting and recording (this is the tough, time-consuming bit). If your company is far enough along, you may already have copywriters or an internal content manager, so have them help. Note that you will still need to spend time with writers, as they’re not going to be able to write on your behalf straight away. If they can, what you’re writing about isn’t unique or going to help build your personal brand.
5. Approach publications you know you can get into first.
Nobody goes from writing blogs on their website to being a Forbes contributor overnight (without nepotism of some significance). Start with the low-hanging fruit first — places you know you can get into (Medium, your company blog, etc.) and grow your audience.
When considering you, outlets will look at how many readers and followers you have and whether your audience is highly engaged. Apart from whether the topic you’re writing about is hot or interesting, they’re going to want to know if/how they can monetize your audiences and bring more readers and subscribers onto their own platform. Give them a reason to want you.
6. Identify your goal publication and plan how you’ll get there.
Finally, think strategically about the progression of your media outlets and literally plan it out. Start with your end goal and map out your journey to get there. The most important thing is that you’re able to start somewhere, so don’t be snobby about where that is—if the first step is too high, you’ll never get off the ground.
Start with publications that you have a higher chance of getting into first, and then move on to the ones you are really interested in. Think creatively about places that show you to be an authority (e.g., another business’s blog) if the audience is similar to yours and non-competitive.
As I said, there’s no silver bullet here, but put a strategy in place, methodologically build your public profile, and you’ll begin to see the tide change as the media comes to you for your opinion rather than the other way around.
Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?
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