It was almost midnight on this rather cold day in 2016. I was doing some research for one of the social media pages I was handling at the time. My research took me to a platform that had what I considered to be inspirational content. There were tons and tons of interviews of female entrepreneurs all over Africa. I was intrigued as I read one interview after the other.
Then, something caught my attention at the end of the website. It was a request to share your entreprenurial story with the platform. I opened the link. There were several questions to be answered and then a place to upload pictures. I read through all the questions and I said “Why not?” I had been running The Sparkle Writers Hub for over a year at this point and I wanted to push that brand.
So I started to answer the questions as honestly as I could. When I was done with the questions, I uploaded my picture and pictures from our events and seminars at The Sparkle Writers Hub. And then I hit send, pleased with this step I had taken.
By the afternoon of the next day, I received an email from the Editor telling me how much they loved my answers and my interview had already been published. Say what! Of course I quickly clicked the link and I read the entire interview. At the end of it, the Editor left a comment sharing her thoughts about me and my business. It was positive.
This single step opened the floodgate of opportunties for me. Not too long after the interview was published, a local newspaper featured it as a center spread. I had no contact at that newspaper; I didn’t even have any idea that it was going to be published there.
The calls started coming in as well as request to feature and speak on different platforms.
Getting featured on the right media platform isn’t as difficult as you may think but it does require some strategic thinking and a deliberate attempt to properly position your brand.
During my Personal Brand Masterclass with the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurs, I shared some important things they need to do to get access to media features and speaking engagements. Here are some highlights of what I shared with them:
- You must be able to confidently articulate who you are and what you do.
- Invest in a strong and effective personal profile.
- Always be on the look out for opportunities to promote your brand and don’t hesitate to shoot your shot when the needs arises.
- Create a personal brand pitch deck so that you can quickly respond to potential opportunities when they arise. Your pitch deck should contain the following: Your Picture (Professional headshot please), your profile/ bio, Screenshots of significant achievements, features and testimonials, Pictures at significant events and conferences, Details of relevant volunteering experience).
PS – It is strongly recommended that you have an active personal website.
- Identify the platform(s) that will be good for your personal brand. Do your research. Visit their website and social media platforms. Find out their policy for features and interviews.
- Get their contact details or use social media to see if you have a connection with a direct link (don’t be afraid to leverage your personal network).
- Draft your email to the Editor or key person of that platform.
- Follow up! You can use social media to follow up but don’t stalk the person please. If there is no positive response after the second or third time (at the most) of following up, please move on. You don’t want to appear desperate.
To properly pitch yourself, here are the things you need:
- A well written personal profile.
- A succinct but effective email or DM that attracts attention. Here’s a draft email template you can use. Please tweak it as required. The most important thing is to put compelling reasons why the platform should feature you. Craft it in terms of what the platform stands to gain and how it aligns with their mission. You can’t do this effectively if you don’t do your research.
- Leverage LinkedIn for personal brand PR. Remember to connect and engage first. Don’t just dive into a pitch.
- Always research the platform to ensure it is the right fit. It also allows you to pitch your value articulately in line with the goals/ mission of your desired platforms.
- Be strategic about attending industry events. Volunteer strategically and add value to communities that could lead to personal brand visibility down the line.
- Aim to have a personal relationship with key people within and outside your industry. Brand association is also important for personal brand PR.
In my next post, I will focus specificially on pitching for speaking engagements and how to create an impressive personal profile for yourself. Before then, you can use this Personal Brand Workbook if you would to build the foundation of your personal brand.