Anyone else spent their teenage years binging episodes of Sex and the City? I don’t know about you but Samanta Jones was my favorite character. Not only did she scream “independent woman,” but she was a badass female entrepreneur. She always seemed to have an invitation to the hottest clubs and trendiest restaurants in New York City. Best of all she was a PR powerhouse with her own company. I know that PR in real life is nowhere close to what Samantha Jones did in the show. (I mean, the show’s focal point is the friendship between these four women, not their outrageously and inaccurately portrayed careers). But there’s something to be said about the power of PR. This is why I’m so excited to have Christina Nicholson, a real-life PR powerhouse and media maven, on the podcast. So buckle up, especially if you’re an entrepreneur or business owner in 2021. Christina is sharing her PR prowess on pitching yourself for podcasts and media placements.
Pitching Yourself for Podcasts and Media Placements w/ Christina Nicholson
You’ve heard the term “PR” a lot. And before we dive deeper, let’s discuss what the heck PR even is. PR is a general term that covers a lot from working events to writing copy. “I just do one little part of PR, and that’s getting you in the media without spending money on ads,” Christina confesses. Christina’s entry into the world of PR isn’t traditional. She found her way to PR through her 10-year career as a TV reporter and anchor.
“I was getting pitches all day, every day, hundreds a day from not just business owners who were kind of acting as their own publicists, but from PR agencies who wanted to get their clients coverage.”
That’s when it hit her. She noticed that most of these people didn’t know what they were doing because they’ve never worked in a newsroom before. Noticing how they’ve really missed the mark, Christina identified a need and gap in the industry which led her to start her own PR agency, Media Maven.
Outdated PR Tactics to Avoid
Stop wondering if PR is for you. There’s a common misconception that PR is reserved for the moment when your business has enough money to spend on it. Business owners think they have to be “big enough” or earn a certain amount before they pitch for media placements.
“But the truth of the matter is that you need PR to make money, you need PR to be big enough. How are people going to do business with you if they don’t know about you?”
PR, in a nutshell, isn’t advertising. It is other media platforms choosing to give you their stage so that you can share your knowledge and tell your story. With that in mind, you can see why gaining media placements is a great opportunity. But don’t be fooled! There are old PR tactics that have since aged into scams.
Ever received an email asking for $100 in exchange for a feature on Yahoo Business? Trash that immediately. Christina shares that this tactic makes no sense as it is literally the definition of advertising.
“So this is what these shady people are doing. They’re just doing a press release distribution, which worked in the 90s. But in 2021, it does not work.”
When it comes to earning media placements, one size does not fit all. Christina says the type of media placements you pitch yourself for have to align with what your overall goals are. “What is your goal? Is it to build your email list, if it’s to build your email list, then podcasts are great because people who listen to podcasts are more invested.”
Using the Power of PR to Accomplish Your Goal
You need to be clear on your goals before you consider pitching for media placement. For example, having a podcast feature air before your website is even launched isn’t a good strategy. “You just want to be ready to convert those new clients and customers who hear about you,” Christina emphasizes.
Once your intentions are set, PR can give you a much-needed boost to help you accomplish your goals. Take Adriana from Little Words Project for example. Christina’s company pitched Adriana to Her Life By Design last year. At that time, her goal and intention for her appearance on this podcast were not necessarily to sell bracelets but to build her personal brand. “When she was on the Today Show. She sold a ridiculous amount of bracelets because the segment on the Today Show was about her product,” Christina shares.
Harnessing the power of PR really comes down to what you want and what angles you’re pitching.
One Rule for Pitching Yourself for Media Placements
Pitching is one of the hardest parts of earning media placements. But who better to learn from than an expert herself? One of my favorite things about Christina’s pitch for her appearance on Her Life By Design is the breakdown she provided. In her pitch, Christina presented 3 main topics. Under each topic, she provided a breakdown of 3-4 additional talking points within the appropriate topics. As a podcaster, this makes my job so much easier as it makes my preparations straightforward.
This brings me to Christina’s rule for pitching yourself for media placements: bring your ideas to the table.
“When you make the introduction, ask them, ‘How can I help you? This is my network, let me know if you’re ever looking for anything or need anything.’ But 9 times out of 10, what they want to see are those ideas. You want to have those creative ideas in your pitch.”
Christina shares an example of a dietitian pitching for media placements. It’s one thing to say “Hey, I’m a dietitian. If you need anything, let me know.” She goes on to explain that “the dietician is more likely to get booked if she says ‘hey, back to school? Let’s talk about healthy snacks to pack for your kids that they actually want to eat.”
The more specific you can be in your pitch, the easier you make it for that person to say yes. Don’t make it hard for people to do you a favor.
The Importance of Podcasting
Our world has changed drastically in 2021. And the same goes for PR. With the rise of podcasting, having a podcast feature can be a great way to build brand awareness. “I think any business, whether you’re selling a product or a service, you need to be the face of your brand. And podcasts just let people get to know you so much better.” Although print and written features will never go out of style, a podcast feature will allow audiences to hear the nuances in your voice, the dynamic of your banter with the host, and an in-person type of look into who you are and what you’re like.
Podcasts also demand a very different and intentional type of attention. “They’re literally picking up their phone, scrolling through the app, looking at the title, and determining, ‘I want to listen to this podcast based on the title,’ and they’re gonna sit down and listen to it for at least 30 minutes or so.”
Podcast listeners are listening intently. They tune in to an episode because they’re invested and they want to educate themselves. In that sense, you’re finding your community and building it. Podcast features have the potential of converting listeners into customers, but it also establishes connections with people who are like-minded.
Making the Most Out of Your Podcast Feature
So you’re convinced and you’re feeling confident. You pitch yourself to your favorite podcast and you’ve successfully booked a feature. The next thing you need to do is make the most out of the 30 minute to hour-long podcast feature. In which case, Christina shares some tips for your preparation.
Beyond good lighting (if you’re appearing on camera) and good sound quality, you want to make sure that you’re in a quiet space without any distractions. Make sure you have the door closed and locked behind you to avoid any unwanted visits.
Aside from the obvious, Christina encourages you to get out of your shell and be open and honest. “A lot of people want to hold back because they feel like people will want to pay them to get more. That doesn’t really work. So just be open and honest. Don’t be shy.”
The hard truth is that as a business owner, you have to get over stage fright. Remember, practice makes perfect. After the podcast is recorded, you need to share your feature with your own audience. Christina explains that:
“First of all, the person who gave you their platform on their podcast is going to be very grateful that you are telling your audience about their podcast so they can get more listeners and subscribers and downloads. And second, it’s just good PR for you.”
PR, Pitching, and Podcasting
Most of the time, what we see portrayed in our favorite movies and TV shows is an exaggeration of what really happens in real life. In the case of Samantha Jones, her version of PR involves party planning and cosmos with celebrities. There isn’t much PR advice you can take away from the show. However, what you can take away from this fictional character is her self-assured and composed attitude when you do earn media placement, especially when it comes to podcasting. But in order to bring your most confident self to the world’s stage, you need to begin by pitching yourself for podcasts and media placements. And while no episode of Sex and the City can do much for you in that department, this episode with Christina has you covered for all the real-life details of the world of PR.
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Free pitch for media placement: Pitchpublicityprofit.com
Free pitch for podcast placement: podcastclout.com/pat