7 Reasons You’re Not Getting Featured In The Media

Are you trying to get featured in the media? But the newspapers and tv shows are ignoring your emails? Stop doing these 7 things! // sarahvonbargen.com
This guest post comes to us via Susan Harrow. Susan is a top media coach, PR expert & author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul (HarperCollins)  She shows her clients and course participants how to double or triple their business with PR by using sound bites effectively. Get her 100-word email that can get the media to call you here.

Not getting featured in the media?

Feeling tons of “resistance” whenever you sit down to work on your press kit, pitch or press release?

Can’t seem to “crack the code” on how to get top bloggers, journalists, editors, and producers to pay attention to your work?

Frustrated that your replies to HARO, PRLeads and other PR services and don’t get any response?

Feel like, deep down, you “know” what you ought to be doing to take your visibility to the next level… except for some reason, you’re not doing it?

Over the past 25 years of my career, I’ve spent over 130,000 hours (that’s a very conservative estimate) training authors, speakers, coaches, consultants and entrepreneurs to help them get booked in the media and then use that exposure to double or triple their income.

Initially, when I ask, “Why are you having trouble getting press for your business?” One client said she had done literally hundreds of radio shows with little result but had no idea what she was doing wrong. Many other clients have similar stories. Those are the ones that say that “publicity doesn’t work.”

Just as typically my clients tend to point towards something “external” (like: “My press release really represent what we do” or: “My website looks dated.”)

Fair enough. I agree: having all of your materials looking sharp is very important. Your presence and what you say when you’re in the spotlight is too.

But in my experience? If you’re consistently struggling to get your business, book, product, service, cause or mission in the media, or your appearances just don’t have much of an effect, the source of your “blockage” usually boils down to one thing:

Your attitude.

In other words: What you BELIEVE about yourself and your ability to serve.

This may sound harsh, but it’s actually a very empowering thing to realize. Because once you’ve identified the harmful attitude that is holding you back, you can take steps to resolve it. Hopefully: once and for all.

Think your attitude is just fine, thank you very much? That may be true.

But it never hurts to do a little self-exploration.

Read on and see if any of the following 7 attitudes sound a bit like… you.

Harmful attitude #1:

Im too fat to be on TV. Maybe if I lose 20 pounds first…”

Why you need to change your tude:

It’s been reported that 97% of women have at least one I hate my body moment, per day.

Imagine if every woman who thought to herself, Ugh, I dont like how I look allowed those thoughts to STOP her from seeking media opportunities. We would literally have almost ZERO women appearing in the media. What a dismal world that would be!

Harmful weight-related attitudes aren’t just for women, of course. Men can — and do — think these kinds of thoughts, too, but generally, they don’t let that hold them back.

If you feel that you need to drop some weight, for your overall health, go for it. But in the meantime, don’t let “size shame” halt your progress. Not everyone who appears in the media needs to be a rail-thin supermodel. There’s room for all kinds of ideas, personalities and sizes.

Your media role model:

Oprah, of course.

She has publicly battled with her weight for decades. Even at her absolute lowest weight, she wore a size 10! Yet she’s perfectly comfortable talking about health, happiness, well-being, and “living your best life” — in front of international audiences. People respect her opinions, completely. If she can do it, why not you?

Are you trying to get featured in the media? But the newspapers and tv shows are ignoring your emails? Stop doing these 7 things! // sarahvonbargen.com

Harmful attitude #2:

“I’m so boring! My life has been relatively comfortable and easy. I havent overcome an extreme adversity, dont have a rags-to-riches story, or anything gritty to share.”

Why you need to change your tude:

Not everything in the media needs to be “gritty,” “caustic,” “violent” or “dramatic.” And we’ve certainly had our fill of rags to riches stories, haven’t we? You don’t need to have become homeless and lived under a bridge, eaten from garbage cans or swindled out of a fortune by your business partner to get media coverage.

In fact, I would argue that today’s audiences are so bombarded with “drama” that they are delighted for an escape from the madness. (There’s a reason why websites like TheDailyPuppy.com are so popular.)

You don’t need to be rude, crude or rough around the edges in order to get booked in the media. You just need to be yourself.

If the “real you” is a positive person who was blessed with wonderful parents and a joyful childhood, so be it. You still have ideas, tips, strategies and stories to share. You can still be entertaining. You can still be insightful. You can still help people to lead better lives. Suffering is not a pre-requisite for service.

As my friend Alex puts it, you don’t necessarily have to “overcome adversity in order to know stuff.”

Your media role model:

Ellen DeGeneres.

Ellen has built a huge media platform anchored on “traditional values” like kindness and compassion. She consciously steers away from gritty or violent topics.

She’s known for delivering audiences a daily dose of positivity — complete with goofy dancing. That’s who she is and what she does best.

If you are the “Ellen” of your industry, embrace it! Don’t try to change yourself for the spotlight. You will feel awkward, uncomfortable, and struggle to successfully make the “point” that you’re there to make — and audiences will be feeling uncomfortable, right along with you.

Just be you. “You” is what works.

Harmful attitude #3:

“All of this media preparation stuff like setting up my website is too hard! I’m terrible with technology.”

Why you need to change your tude:

To quote the folks at this design firm: If Google cant find it, it doesnt exist.

That’s the reality of our world today.

If you are unwilling to set up a website, participate in social media, and create materials that are quickly searchable (and findable) online — like a backlog of recent press releases stored on your site — you are going to have a tough time getting the kind of media coverage you want.

Your media role model:

Betty White.

At age 93, this actress, activist, and product spokeswoman has a vibrant Twitter presence and shows no signs of slowing down with her career, despite her age.

Her manager jokes, “Betty and I have an understanding. I have told her that I have already booked her when she turns 100 and there is no out clause. Betty never backs out of a date.”

Another role model for you:

Theresa Reed.

As a professional Tarot card reader who has been reading cards — full time — for over 25 years, Theresa has a steady stream of “regulars” and could certainly opt to “rest on her laurels.” But that’s not her style.

She is constantly learning new tools, upgrading her website, and experimenting with new ways to connect with audiences around the world. She firmly believes that all business owners need to be tech-savvy, and she even mentors “tech-phobic” entrepreneurs to help them grasp the basics.

Theresa is regularly a go-to expert on Tarot, astrology and spirituality blogs, podcasts and magazines. The secret to her success? Well, as she put it — while talking to a friend of mine — “I ain’t no stale hippie.”

Harmful attitude #4:

Im not the worlds most credible expert on this topic. Other people are much more experienced and authoritative than me.

Why you need to change your tude:

There will always be people who are more highly credentialed than you are. That’s a fact.

“Comparing and despairing” when you size yourself up to your competitors is very counter-productive.

Yes, of course, there are people who might have more degrees, certifications or years of experience than you. But that doesn’t detract from your ability to serve your audience in yourway, right now.

The real question is this: Do you have something to share right now, today that could help a fellow human solve a problem, get inspired, or lead a better life?

If so, then you’ve got the most important “credential” of all: something of VALUE to share.

Your media role model:

Gabby Bernstein.

Gabby is one of the world’s most sought-after media commentators in the realm of personal growth and spirituality.

Does she have a PhD in psychology? Nope. (She actually studied “theater” at college). Is she a Nobel Peace Prize winner like The Dalai Lama? Nope. Has she published formal, academic research papers? Nope. Has any of that ever stopped her from pursuing opportunities to write, appear, and get interviewed in the media? NOPE.

She has personal stories to share and insights that she knows will help people.

And share she does. With videos, audios, Ted talks, lectures, meditations, courses, books, products, a spirit junkie app, and stuff she loves. And if that’s not enough you can enroll in the “Get More Gabby” subscription service. Phew!

Harmful attitude #5:

I just dont have time for all this stuff! Between running my business, taking care of my clients, and dealing with my family I dont have a minute to write press releases, build relationships with journalists, maintain my website, and ugh!

Why you need to change your tude:

Life is unquestionably busy. As a business owner, there will always be “something” pulling at your attention.

But if you want to grow to the next level, serve wider audiences, and sell more of your books, products, courses and services (without spending money on advertising), then getting featured in the media needs to be part of your plan.

As Stephen R. Covey, author of the bestselling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People said, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

If getting media coverage is a priority for you (and it should be!) then it must be treated as just that: a priority.

This may mean shutting down lower-priority projects for the time being or learning how to delegate more effectively.

Your media role model:

President Obama.

He is arguably THE busiest man on planet earth — with an unthinkable level of stress resting upon his shoulders.

Yet he still creates the time to write guest articles for The Huffington Post, contribute exclusive interviews to People magazine, occasionally, even tweet personal notes to his followers, and appear on TV talk shows to discuss his latest thoughts on basketball or a new bill in Congress.

Does he have a team supporting him? Of course. The point, here, is that Obama recognizes the importance of making media coverage a top priority. It’s not something to ignore or neglect. It’s vital to his success as a thought leader.

Harmful attitude #6:

Ive never been good at public speaking. Its just not my thing. Im going to freeze, blush, giggle, burp, sweat, snort, forget my lines and mess this up somehow. I just know it.

Why you need to change your tude:

No one wants to watch a “perfect robot” on the air or listen to a “slick and polished” presentation. If you go “off script” during a media appearance, it can often work in your favor. Little flubs can be endearing and humanizing.

This is something I talk about a lot in one of my media training programs, Your Signature Sound Bites. If you’ve got your sound bites down pat — meaning: you’ve chosen a couple of key messages that you really, really want your media audience to remember and “take home” — then it’s pretty tough to mess anything up. Just stick to your sound bites and allow yourself to relax. If you’re too slick? We want to topple you off that perfect pedestal. Be yourself. Quirks, nerves, sweats, burbs and all.

Your media role model:

Anne Hathaway.

While appearing on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to promote her latest film — which she produced and starred in — Anne lost her composure and began laughing hysterically. Why? Because the plot of the movie (which deals with a coma victim) is so dreadfully, horrendously sad, it was actually… kind of funny.

Rather than sitting back in horror, fans LOVED it. Multiple media platforms (Vanity Fair, E! Online, US Magazine) shared the now-legendary giggle-clip, using words like “charming” and “adorable” and “utterly endearing” to describe it!

As one journalist put it: “This feels real candid. I don’t know if Anne Hathaway has ever been so likable. This is how you sell a movie, even when it’s a coma movie.”

Are you trying to get featured in the media? But the newspapers and tv shows are ignoring your emails? Stop doing these 7 things! // sarahvonbargen.comAre you trying to get featured in the media? But the newspapers and tv shows are ignoring your emails? Stop doing these 7 things! // sarahvonbargen.com

Harmful attitude #7:

I dont deserve to be featured in the media. Im ordinary. Im not special.

Why you need to change your tude:

Let me ask you this:

Has an “ordinary” person ever given you a piece of advice that made your entire week better?

Has an “ordinary” person ever shared a resource with you that saved you tons of time or brought you hours of delight?

Has an “ordinary” friend, colleague or family member ever said something that motivated you to change an unhealthy habit and improve your life?

“Ordinary” people have the power to serve, educate, inform and inspire, just as much as rich, famous “celebrities” or “authorities” do.

If you have something of value to share — whether it’s a product, service, book, mission, cause, or day-changing tip, tool or idea — then you deserve to be in the media.

The brilliant Marianne Williamson had it right when said, We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

Your media role model:

This “ordinary” mom from Sumter, South Carolina.

She recorded a video of herself singing her baby to sleep and spontaneously posted it online. When she woke up the next morning, her video had gone viral. After a radio station shared it on Facebook, it got 4 million views. TV stations started calling. She was featured on Good Morning America and the host said that this could be the big break she’s been waiting for to become a singer. This mom became — literally! — an overnight sensation.

Her voice is very pretty, yes, but the real reason that her video touched the hearts of millions of people is that… she is ordinary and heartfelt. There was no artifice in her singing. Just a mom, home, in a dimly lit room, rocking her baby to sleep, singing as if no one was watching.

Moral of the story?

Your “ordinary-ness” can be THE quality that makes you appealing to the media and to audiences, worldwide.

“Ordinary” is not the same as “boring.” You can be totally un-flashy and still wow audiences with your ideas, stories and talents.

Musician Sam Smith who won four Grammy awards last night, said, “I just want to say that before I made this record I was doing everything to try to get my music heard. I tried to lose weight and I was making awful music. It was only until I started to be myself that the music started to flow and the people started to listen.”

Allow yourself to be exactly who you are. We want to see your blemished self. Not a prettified version of someone you think you should be.

Have you ever pitched yourself to the media? If not – why not? And if you did, how’d it go? Tell us all about it in the comments!

P.S. 6 ways to work less + accomplish more with your blog

Photo by Mike Ackerman , Tyler Nix , and rawpixel on Unsplash

7 Comments

Hillary Rain

Oh I am crying. This is the most inspirational thing I’ve read all day & will stay with me. Thank you so much for this!!! All love & bless you…

Reply
Amelia

Su-SAN! Absolutely LOVED this post! Incredibly insightful & epically motivating!

Absolutely reevaluating my ‘tude’ on a regular basis over here. I’ve learned firsthand how beliefs shape one’s life experiences … personally & professionally. So if we’re gonna reach our best selves, we have to challenge those limiting thoughts on a daily basis. That’s my take away anyhow.

Since I went public with my story, I have been approached by a variety of media outlets. I’ve also reached out to others myself. Fortunately, I’ve connected with mostly good people.

One thing I’ve learned, is that it takes real courage to stand up in the world & say, “Hey, this is me”. Self doubt, judgment, fear … non of us are immune to that stuff. But if you can find the courage to stand up in spite of it all, that’s when real magic happens.

Will be popping over to check out your website!

All the best,
Amelia

P.S Always lovin’ your fab content, Sarah!

Reply
Linda C Thomas

Thank you for reminding me that I am a total badass, and it’s time I embraced it.

Deep Bow,

Linda

Reply

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