How to Become the Person Everyone Wants to Interview

microphone

Let’s face it, you always experience a little envy when you see or hear people on television and radio. You wish it was you…In fact, you’ve been working so hard you know that it should be you. But when will your time come?

The sad part is, you know that when your clients see one of your competitors on television or a podcast and don’t see you, they often wonder if they should go with that other person instead.

You need to establish yourself as an expert, and getting interviewed by radio, podcast or TV hosts can help you do just that. So, here is how you can help speed up the process by positioning yourself as a subject matter expert.

Step #1: Networking face-to-face

When it comes down to it, it’s who you know. Affiliate marketer Zac Johnson flew to New York City to do an interview at the ABC Studios because of a relationship he started with Tory Johnson.

Zac met Tory at a Blog World Expo and was able to spend some quality time with her at that conference. Zac got his foot in the door because he set aside the time and money to network face-to-face with influencers.

That gamble paid off when he got that call to do the interview with Tory. It wasn’t just a phone interview either, and it wasn’t just to get a few quotes from him. He got the full treatment with the experience—make up, coaching from the producer and five minutes in front of a national audience.

Never underestimate the value of networking with people in person. You don’t always have to drop a couple of thousand and travel across the country to meet the right people. You could run into journalists at events like these:

  • Local Tweet-up.
  • Local Chamber of Commerce.

The idea is to experiment and carve time out of your schedule to network. Plus, don’t forget to attend journalist-focused events. Here’s a list of the top 12 events to attend in 2012.

Step #2: Seek out radio and podcast interviews

The next step to becoming the person people want to interview is to hunt down the opportunities. Search for radio hosts or podcasters who need interviews by experts.

  1. Search for “radio + your subject matter” and “podcast + your subject matter” on Google.
  2. Search through the iTunes podcast library.
  3. Search through podcast directories like PodcastAlley.com or Podbean.com.

Once you’ve identified radio or podcast hosts you are interested in, contact them through their websites. Either call or email…whatever you feel most comfortable with. Usually, the podcaster will handle all of his or her own bookings, but the radio show host may have a booking assistant or producer, especially if it is a big radio show. Regardless, don’t be afraid to approach them.

Make the pitch specific to them and their show, highlighting why you being on the show will benefit themnot you. Your goal is to educate or entertain their audiences, not sell your products or services.

If you can, offer a valuable piece of information in your pitch. This could include original research or an experience you had that would be useful to your prospective listeners.

Here’s one final tip: sign up for radioguestlist.com. This free service will send you an email every day with a list of interview opportunities from podcast, online TV shows, radio, satellite and TV producers who are looking for experts in a particular subject matter.

Step #3: Connect with the Media

Your next step is to reach out to journalists. Google is one way to search for journalists, but I’ve found the best way to do this is simply to pay attention to the bylines of stories.

Here’s what it looks like in TechCrunch:

techcrunch author

And here is how it appears in Wired:

wired author

Click the name link, and you’ll see all of the author’s articles for the magazine. Click the email icon, and you can actually email the journalist.

Keep in mind, if you decide to email the journalist, it is very important you have something useful to share with him or her. You tell him or her that you are a resource and why the journalist should use you as a resource. Or you pitch an article idea to that person.

Email is not the time to send a “hello.” It will likely get buried or deleted. If you want to connect and get to know the journalist, follow him or her on the social web.

But let’s say you have something useful to offer the journalist. Here’s how to craft a persuasive email:

  • Immediately state your point – “I wanted to offer my services to you as an expert in this subject matter.”
  • Explain why they should trust you as a good source – “for the last 12 years, I’ve done such and such with this prestigious organization.”
  • Include proof – share a fact or statistic that would intrigue the journalist. If you’ve noticed that they’ve been writing about a specific topic and you have something to add to their ideas, share it.
  • Share a story – make it quick, no more than three or four sentences, but tell him or her an anecdote that might appeal to his or her audience.
  • Link to supporting proof – never attach a document to the email. Instead, if you have a picture or data that can be shared online, include a link.

Step #4: Subscribe to Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

A great way to get interviewed by big media publications is to subscribe to Help a Reporter Out. This free source was started by Peter Shankman about two years ago as a Facebook group. It blew up and now has over 100,000 subscribers with 50,000 reporters using the service.

Nearly 30,000 members of the media have quoted HARO sources…including The New York Times, ABC News and The Huffington Post.

  • Joe Cockrell pitched a story, and The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, Good Morning America, CNN, FBN, and dozens of TV stations across the country – even Inside Edition – did a segment. The story was the “most watched” clip on CNN.com that week.
  • At Cold Sweep solutions, Randall Heath pitched an idea and got an hour-long phone interview with a Wall Street Journal reporter who later ran the story.
  • David Lewis of Operations Inc said that his firm has been tapped as subject matter experts by The NY Times, Reuters and MSNBC. It also gave them the opportunity to appear locally on several radio news sources.

The way the service works is you will receive 3 emails a day with the needs that the reporters have. You scan the list, which can be done in about 10 seconds, and see if you find anything you might be able to help out with. The needs range from space travel to blogging to sports medicine…with about 15 to 30 requests in each email.

If you find something you can help with, you then email the reporter. Use the template I shared above, and please do not spam the reporter or suggest a different topic. These reporters are desperate for sources for that particular story, so don’t stray from it.

Step #5: Follow trends

Another way I’ve found that helps journalists is to follow trends and then alert them as soon as possible. Reporters need extra eyes and ears to stay on top of stories, so they appreciate your tips.

Keep in mind, it needs to be useful and relevant to their field of interest. This means you need to train yourself to know what this journalist needs. Follow them on social media, share their content and ask them questions. The more you can develop a relationship with a reporter, the better your chances are of succeeding when it comes to pitching them an idea.

But how do you stay on top of the trends?

  • Use broad trending tools – these include Google Trends and Yahoo’s Buzz Log.
  • Use niche trending tools – these include Twitter Stats and Trends Map (they allow you to localize the trends, which can be handy if you are hoping to help out a local journalist).
  • Listen to people – whether it’s your clients, friends, strangers or family, listen to what they say and the needs they have. Sometimes you may be able to make a connection between that and something a reporter said.
  • Read lots of articles – follow as many blogs as possible and read as many magazines as possible to stay on top of trends.

Once you spot a fact or trend, jot it down in a notebook or in an Excel spreadsheet. When you get a chance, pitch the reporter. Remember, it’s usually best to be as timely as possible, so if you get a juicy tip, send it as soon as you can.

Step #6: Create something remarkable

Finally, you can become that person people want to interview by creating something great. Seth Godin put himself on the map with his Permission Marketing book. Robert Scoble did it with his blog. And countless people have become famous through their YouTube videos.

Don’t forget that creating something remarkable takes time. Take the example of Christina Perri and Barrett Yerestian. Perri was a singer/songwriter who was serving coffee when she and Barrett started working together. For four years she’d been trying to make a name for herself on YouTube but was struggling. Her time was about to come.

The two wrote and produced a rough version of a song Christina had been working on. She shared that version with a friend who worked for the show So You Think You Can Dance. The friend liked the song but didn’t think it was ready. She encouraged the two to refine.

They did and called it “Jar of Hearts.” They took it back to her friend at So You Think You Can Dance. This time the friend loved it and played it on the show.

That’s when they became famous overnight.

On that night, the song became one of the best songs on iTunes and Amazon, and Perri’s name became the highest searched term on Google. She eventually ended up on CBS Early and has since performed live. She’s flooded with requests, and major labels are courting her.

Conclusion

Once you get that initial interview and then promote it across the web, other offers will eventually come in. That was true for some of the success stories behind HARO, and I know from experience that when I speak at a conference, I get offers for more interviews.

If you think about it, those two minutes on So You Think You Can Dance changed Christina’s life, but behind those two minutes are years of hard work. Both musicians worked day jobs and had other commitments but found the time to focus and perfect their passion.

So, the moral of this story is this: Are you prepared?

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Comments

  1. Thank you for writing this article.

    Its a niche topic, something that most people want but there is so little information collected in a manner that is directly useful.

    I especially loved HARO : Help a Reporter Out. The acronym helps as well. Is it an industry standard one or you invented it :)

    How did I find out about this post : I follow you on Twitter!

  2. I’ve used HARO, although I think at the time it was too early in the development of my personal brand to be super useful. I did have some interesting conversations, but people need to be able to cite you as an authority of some sort.

    • That could be, sometimes you have to have an established reputation before you can get the full benefits from some of these tools. It is always good though to start making connection and making an effort.

  3. In 2009 & 2010 (very little in 2011) I did a lot of speaking. That definitely earned me more engagements and clients as a result. It was one of the easiest sources of lead generation – the audience already sees you as the subject matter expert.

    But now I like your idea of pitching yourself for interviews on other podcasts and the like. I was on Hubspot TV last year. Not to find some more.

    One thing I would recommend, is create a “Media & Press” page on your website to promote some of the things that you’ve accomplished to new site visitors. I think something like that would be very useful.

  4. I really found that interesting,do think this can work in Nigeria? Because I have been in search of a job for the past 9 years.

  5. Hey Neil,
    Thanks very much for the shout-out.
    We have helped thousands of “guest experts” get interviews on podcasts and radio shows over the past couple of years – all for free.
    Thanks for sending us some more subscribers today, the more the merrier!
    RadioGuestList.com

  6. Having a great and prepared sales pitch is key to winning your interviewer over. Plus a little bit a respect, courtesy and politeness goes a long way!

  7. Thanks Neil, I could not have been more succinct. Super valuable post, and something each and everyone of my clients with or without a blog needs to see now.

  8. I’ve really been enjoying all the great information you’re routinely sending out. I thought it might be time to finally leave a comment thanking you for it!

  9. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for writing this great post.

    I have thought about this for sometime and reading your post I think point 6 is like the basis of all other points. Definitely having the remarkable product will enable success in all the other 5 points.

    Thanks again.

    • Yep having a great product always helps but you have to be able to market that product by putting yourself out there. If no one knows a bout your product then it won’t matter how amazing it is.

  10. Nice article! I think networking face-to-face and creating remarkable stuff are the two most important. Combining those two is powerful.

  11. Offering free and valuable internet marketing tips can also earn you an interview or a guest blog post in unsuspecting places as I discovered during a recent business masterclass.

    I simply spoke up and gave out tons of free tips in front of 100+ small business owners to help out the host. What did I get? Tons of new subscribers and viral interest in my blog and services.

  12. As someone who has done a lot podcasting and blogging within a particular niche, I can attest that these are some pretty good points. I would however challenge the Chamber of Commerce point. You might have much better luck networking with alternative business associations.

    What has worked for me on a local scale, is to work closely to support some professional organizations in the form of consulting or speaking. This can help you to build strong relationships with them. Then seek out their Media/PR guy, and offer to help them in anyway you can. When hosting workshops and seminars ask the PR guy to send out some press releases. Being the guest speaker always helps create authority, which can help get your name in print. This can give you even more credibility when reaching out to journalists using one of the other great methods you’ve suggested.

    Right on.

  13. Great post Neil. I will share this blog for certain. I’m glad you noted the Chamber in step #1. We work hard to provide innovative ways for members to gain visibility and build relationships that offer each individual to be seen as a trusted resource. Thanks.
    Becky

  14. Sounds very cool and really useful. Thank you Neil!

  15. Nice presentation there Neil, hope to follow your tips as closely as possible and be interviewed soon.

  16. Hey Neil,

    I just wanted to share with you the latest blog post from my blog in which I have listed out 4 people from whom I’ve mostly inspired. You are top on that list!

    Let me know what you think.

    http://darssh.blogspot.com/2012/01/4-amazing-people-i-found-on-web.html

  17. Great information Neil, it was worth a share!

  18. So true, will and passion matter over everything else.

  19. Another fantastic article..I believe that sending individual email to very webmaster is a time consuming job but its worth it.

  20. Really nice but its not easy practically. It will take some time to become like what Neil has said.

  21. I’ve tried HARO in the past and I’m going to give it another try. I’ve also connected with a local reporter for the one newspaper in town and reached out to someone else I know who does the afternoon and evening newscast, offering an older perspective on social media. We’ll see if they pan out, but at least I have people talking to me.

  22. Hi Neil,

    Great points, If you’re able to create something exceptional which people love to use and spread the word out then you can easily become one of the famous personality and people would love to invite you for the interview.

  23. In step 5, well said that follow the trends because from the lots of reading and people’s opinion regarding anything makes you learn regarding the latest trends in the perspective of world’s eyes which makes you knowledgeable person of the latest trends.

  24. Virtual Website Solutions :

    Neil,

    Thank you for writing this post! So many of my clients think that the media will just come to you. They don’t realize you have to seek them out. Will definitely be sharing this.

  25. If we are being regular to particular field where people most offen giving attention hence it makes an important person

  26. This was very valuable information. I will definitely put these ideas and tips to use. I recently contacted I radio show to be interviewed, so I’m glad I was on the right before reading this article .

    Thanks
    Kay

  27. These tips will be useful for upcoming entrepreneurs. should follow each and every things what you have told Neil..

  28. HARO is a great resource to establish yourself as an expert, but also as a way to contact people to contribute to our books, articles and stories. Best of all, it is quick and easy to use.

    Thanks for all your suggestions for anyone wanting to expand their platform.

    beth@www.bethlamie.com

  29. When first starting out, you’ve got to admit it is pretty difficult to become the person everyone wants to interview. I have been a long time reader of your blog. Well at least 1 year and it has helped me tremendously to get started, being a university student also.

    Just want to give out a big thanks for the useful information – It is much appreciated.

    – Lee

    • Thank you Lee,

      It is difficult at first. Over time if you work hard and stick to it you will learn and see it can get easier. I appreciate your support, thanks for reading Quick Sprout!

  30. Health & Fitness Blog :

    Well written, Neil. Your Step #1: Networking face-to-face reminds me of a popular saying back home “It’s not WHAT You Know… It’s WHO You know!”

    I also remember hearing long ago that we are just “4” people away from ANYONE we want to meet in the world. As crazy as it sounds, it’s true somehow. That’s why I like meeting you and networking, offline and online, :)

  31. I agree that the first step to get people interest in you is actually doing something interesting that will make people talk about it. Secondly, spread the word about it using social network tools and reaching the media on a professional and also personal attitude.

  32. Radio is a powerful medium to gain exposure with. I stumbled on the link you pointed out to get radio exposure about 2 months ago. It worked better than I thought it would. This is a powerful post to let people know about radio.

  33. Nice, but i don’t like people that are trying to self-promote.

  34. I remember doing a short interview with you in ’09, you shared really great content.

    And you were definitely top of my list of people to interview at the time!

    Awesome post

  35. Nice post but it would be really great if you could give India specific sites like HARO and radioguestlist.com. Thanks again!

  36. hey neil,
    yeah i am prepared. really nice instructions you have given us.
    you always come with great and obviously different ideas.

    Thanks.

    Matt

  37. Hi!,,,
    I am impress all those steps you have been discuss,Its really great if people should follow those tips I am sure they successful in there dream,,

    Thanks for sharing,!,,,,,,,

  38. You might have much better luck networking with alternative business associations.

  39. Interesting. Very great tips you have given here. Networking is key to Every business. You just have to check the options available in field, try them out and see which one works for you.

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