HOW JOURNALISTS RESEARCH WHO TO INTERVIEW
by Simone Sauter
If you’re trying to get featured in the media, it helps to understand how journalists think. What are they looking for? What makes journalists choose to interview a particular expert? What can you do to make yourself stand out to the media?
Journalists research more online than ever before, and there are several key things you can do to stand out and optimise your profiles. So, let’s dive right into my guide to getting noticed by the media. Here’s how journalists research who to interview.
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RESEARCH METHOD #1 – GOOGLE
Number one shouldn’t come as a surprise. Journalists google it. Journalists use Google just as much as anybody else. So, what does that mean for you?
First, you need to optimise your blog posts and your website. That means to be discovered by the media, you need to learn how to use SEO – Search Engine Optimization.
You’ve probably already heard of SEO, but you might wonder exactly what it is and why you need it. SEO helps you to get seen in search engines. If you don’t use it, chances are your webpage will end up on page 13 of Google search – and nobody looks that far through the results! Even if you’re on page 2, you’re a hidden gem!
You need to optimise your webpages for search engines, especially Google, because if you’ve invested time to create content, you’re going to want people to actually see it and read it.
SEO is how people find your website. SEO is what gets people to read what you write, journalists included.
SEO might sound really technical and scary, but it’s actually not rocket science. It can be, if you choose to go right down the rabbit hole – but it honestly doesn’t have to be that way.
I developed my SEO, and I have had more than one million people on my website in less than two years. My blog still has between 80,000 and 100,000 monthly readers, which comes from a mix of my PR, interviews, and SEO. So, it’s well worth getting to grips with.
You only have to invest 10 to 20 minutes in keyword research before creating the content, by using a plugin like SEO Yoast. Once you understand how this works, this is a skill that can never be taken from you.
Aim to have three to five cornerstone articles. These are the most important articles on your website. These are the articles where you share your expertise, your best pieces of knowledge. Use these articles to share the content that you want to be known for. They should be lengthy articles, between 1500 to 2500 words.
Journalists can still find you through your other articles, but your cornerstone articles will be the main articles to discover you through, because they will be the heaviest on SEO. These articles must be honed specifically on the topic you want to pitch. Ask yourself: what do I want to be known for? Maybe it’s a particular view on parenting, or a certain exercise routine. Focus your article content and SEO keywords on your chosen topic – because these are the keywords a journalist will be googling.
To get featured in the media, you need to find out what keywords work the best. What searches are popular in your niche right now? Journalists research using these keywords. Then, optimize your website and content with the keywords, including your ‘Work With Me’ or ‘About Me’ page.
RESEARCH METHOD #2 – LINKEDIN
The second step to get featured in the media is to ensure you have a fully optimized LinkedIn profile. This is especially important if your coaching business is B2B.
You need to think carefully about your title. Journalists often use LinkedIn to find an expert, and you need to think about what kind of title they will be searching for. For me, this was ‘PR coach and strategist’. These are my keywords, along with consultant and publicist.
If you want to take your LinkedIn a step further for networking, I recommend you get the premium version. Through Premium, you can see more clearly who is interested in your profile, you also get more access to other profiles, and you can also send direct messages to anyone on the site, regardless of whether you have any connections.
If you want to see how to set out your LinkedIn profile, why not get some inspiration from my profile? There, you can see the way I’ve structured my experience and built in keywords.
RESEARCH METHOD #3 – AMAZON
Another place where journalists research for stories is Amazon. I’m a published author, and I have a book on Amazon, so if you have an ebook, you need to get it on Amazon. Amazon works just like a search engine, as much as Google and Facebook.
Journalists are looking for experts. Having a book published on your chosen subject makes you stand out as an expert to journalists. Being a published author in your field proves you know exactly what you’re talking about. It adds an extra level of credibility that journalists love.
Optimise your descriptions and title for SEO, as well. Make sure you use relevant and popular keywords to get seen.
So, these are three key ways that journalists research who to interview. If you want to learn more about how to get started with your own PR, why not get in touch for a discovery call?
WHEN JOURNALISTS RESEARCH WHO TO INTERVIEW, WHAT ARE THEY LOOKING FOR?
So, now you know how journalists research who to interview, the question is, what exactly are they looking for? What makes them choose to interview someone?
Journalists are often on the lookout for a strong opinion. Experts with strong opinions are of interest, because they stir up controversy, and that’s what readers really want.
If your perspective is the same as everyone else, you won’t get featured by the media. Why? The media is interested in extremes. So, what does that mean for you? I want to give you some examples from my experience.
When I was still working as a breakup and divorce coach, my big pitch was ‘Why Everybody Should Suffer Heartache at Least Once in Their Lifetime.’
Now, this is a headline that makes people look twice. No one wants to suffer from heartache, right? This makes audiences want to read the story, because they want to understand why I think that way. What could possibly be good about experiencing heartache? They want to know how it could apply to their own experiences. That pitch was the door opener that gave me the chance to share my story.
Another example, this time from my current business, is ‘Press Releases are the Worst PR Tool’. This is another opinion that people have to look twice at. That’s because it goes against the established view of PR.
When most people think about PR, they think of press releases. So, my opinion is controversial. It turns the traditional idea of PR on its head, and that makes people want to know why I have that viewpoint.
Another one that I use is, ‘Why You Need To Become Your Own Publicist’. This is another one that draws attention. It makes people think, ‘why should I become my own publicist if I can just hire one?’ And there are so many reasons for that, but these controversial opinions are all door openers to get featured in the media.
Journalists are also searching for stories that are emotional, as well. You need to write stories about your coaching business that will evoke the audience’s emotions, stories they can relate to.
You can adapt moments from your coaching business or from your life experiences into stories, as long as they are relevant to your chosen subject. For example, go right back to the beginning, and think about why you first started your coaching business.
What made you want to help others? What set off the spark for you? Maybe you turned your life around, and now you’re a life coach who wants to help others. Or maybe you’re a fitness coach who piloted a whole new exercise routine you want to share with the world. Take those key details, and craft a strong, emotional story that journalists will love.
Want to know more about how to craft an amazing story for media outlets? Schedule a discovery call with me today, and we can talk about how to create the perfect pitch to reach a wider audience. Why not also sign up for my ’10 Insider Tips to Get Publicity For Your Coaching Business’?
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