What prompted this blog was a meeting with a potential new client who demanded to know if on his first media outing he could be guaranteed coverage in multiple publications and better still, the opportunity to appear on the front page of a premium business publication.
Neither, I answered as politely as possible. Right now you and your business are invisible to the media – journalists are not aware of you and your business and if they are, they have no idea the information you are about to provide them with is credible and correct.
Basically they don’t yet know if you are worth the risk.
So how quickly will it take me to become visible, he quickly retorted? Surely just a month or so!
I then deftly turned the tables on my prospective client and asked how long it took to get his business off the ground. What followed was a very long pause.
Two to three years, he answered somberly.
Precisely! Just like setting up a business or launching a new product or service, the same can be said for securing publicity and building a relationship with the media. It takes time. It is a process, not an event. If you are expecting instant up-take, you will in most cases be sorely disappointed.
Just as building your business required a few early adopters to help get you started; building your profile in the media also requires those first few journalists or editors to give you a go.
Once you have appeared in print once, other media are more likely to follow.
So getting back to my client’s initial question – how long will it take to secure regular and worthwhile coverage?
Six months, often even a year. However, this will require a lot of hard work – regularly putting out stories that are topical, informative, newsworthy and at times a tad controversial and most importantly, rapidly responding to media requests when they arrive.
Do this zealously and you will reach the tipping point – that magical moment when the media come knocking on your door asking for stories, ideas and comments rather you having to constantly reach out.
Ultimately raising your profile is about persistence, consistency and tenacity. In other words – don’t give up. There will be times when you do not get a run in the media but if you subscribe to long term gratification, over time, you will accumulate a significant portfolio of media coverage.