Capitalizing on Your Media Opportunities
In November, Deb Gabor, an EO Austin member and founder of Sol Marketing, was spotlighted by The Wall Street Journal in an article titled, “A Startup’s Founder Blames Herself for Lack of Growth.” Deb leveraged EO PressPass, a member benefit that connects them with reporters in leading publications, to share the highs and lows of running a startup. We asked Deb about her experience engaging EO PressPass, the results and if she had any best practices she could share with her EO peers when they land similar opportunities in prominent publications. She replied:
Business after the article has been really good. In the true style of experience-sharing in EO, I gave a very open and candid pitch. Luckily, the editors were interested in what I had to say. I ended up on the front page of the “C-Suite Strategies Leadership” section of the newspaper, and my picture was featured right next to the CEOs of General Motors and Sprint. That was a huge boost to the credibility of my business!
As soon as the article was published, the phone started to ring off the hook. People came out of the woodwork; some whom I hadn’t spoken to in awhile, co-strategists from a business development project and random strangers all contacted me with new business and networking opportunities, which was really fun. Beyond the hype of being featured, I learned four important tactics that any entrepreneur should use if they’re featured in a prominent publication:
1. Don’t blame the editor. A funny story about the article: Initially, I had only seen the online edition of the piece. That morning, my significant other sent me a message saying, “Deb, I saw the digital edition, and it had a really negative headline.” I was horrified. Unfortunately, the print edition’s title wasn’t much better. But I read the story, and it really didn’t have that negative slant to it. It was a click-bait headline, which I understand with my media background. I know the editors don’t actually write the headlines; it’s a copy-editor trying to sell “clicks” at my expense. Despite all of that, the people I really cared about and those who reached out to me obviously read beyond some nasty headlines to what was actually a really good story. People contacted me and said, “Thanks for being so honest. That’s true leadership, and it’s really inspiring that you let yourself be so vulnerable.”
2. Spread the word. One of the first things Sol Marketing did was share the article gratuitously within our social and content marketing channels; it’s a great way to boost your profile. Third party endorsement of your credibility as an organization can only help, especially if it’s a legitimate news source.
3. Act as a connection. Another thing people might not readily think of is to position yourself as a resource when working with the editor that’s covering you. For example, as I was going through the process of preparing this article, I learned that the editor is a freelancer who also writes for other financial publications. I offered myself as someone who could help her when she’s working on various stories, especially if she wants to get in touch with some of my clients, EO Austin members or those in my personal referral network. She has reached out to me several times since then; that’s a good way to make yourself indispensable to the media.
4. Be helpful. Any time you get a request from the media, realize that they’re trying to complete a job, just like you, and a “quid pro quo” attitude will take you a long way. If you’re forthcoming, helpful and open to them, the better your coverage can be. For example, this particular editor was interested in coupling the story with third-party data, so she asked what kind of data I would recommend. As a resource to her, I suggested data from Gallup.com and directed her toward current research studies I had consulted. I call it “gift-wrapping” the story, so the writer/editor has everything she needs and doesn’t have to work incredibly hard to put something together.
Deb Gabor was interviewed by Karen Summerson, an EO writer/editor on staff. To learn more about Deb’s experience, contact her at
firstname.lastname@example.org.To learn more about EO PressPass, contact Priscilla D'Souza, EO Director of Marketing and Social Media.