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How To Get Your Consulting Business In The Media

By Michael Zipursky

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Most businesses reach a point where they realize they too can benefit from getting featured in the media.

One problem many people find is that the word ‘publicity’ in and of itself sounds daunting. As if only large companies can benefit from it.

One of the biggest mistake people make when trying to get publicity is casting too wide of a net.

Here’s the thing, regardless of whether you’re an independent consultant, run a small consultancy team of 5 or have hundreds of employees – you can benefit from getting into the media.

The second challenge with publicity is that it doesn’t happen instantly. That’s right, you can’t simply push a button and make money from it…despite what some people may say. However, there are specific strategies you can use to speedy up the process and get into the media more quickly. I’ll share these with you below:

Have a Clear Target

One of the biggest mistake people make when trying to get publicity is casting too wide of a net.

As you start developing your publicity strategy, you should have a clear picture of exactly who you are targeting.


  • What type of industry or theme are your efforts directed towards?
  • What type of media (print, radio, TV, blogs, etc) are you going after?
  • Which specific publications (or stations, blogs and so on) are you going to contact?
  • Which journalists, reporters and editors will you contact at each?
  • What stories have these people written recently?

The goal here is to paint a picture of who you want to build a relationship with. That’s right, I said “relationship.” Why? Because 90% of the time your first pitch to the media won’t do jack. You will need to develop a relationship with the media.

Jason Calacanis has discussed the benefits he’s received from holding dinners with journalists and leaders all with the goal of developing relationships that lead to publicity about his companies and more business.

Give, Give and Give Some More, Then Get

As you continue to do that and develop a relationship with the media, who do you think they will start asking for quotes and insight into issues? YOU!

As part of this media relationship building strategy, one effective approach you can take is to constantly be helping reporters out as much as you can. You can send them tips, story ideas, make suggestions on a follow up story. The idea here isn’t to promote your product or service to them. You want to be seen as an authority in your area – which clearly you ARE if you know so much about what is going on and are always feeding valuable information to the media.

As you continue to do that and develop a relationship with the media, who do you think they will start asking for quotes and insight into issues? YOU!

Here are two more ways for you to speed up that publicity engine:

Leverage Current Events

Often called ‘Newsjacking’ this idea popularized by David Meerman Scott, which has become more popular can be highly effective. Essentially, you scour the recent headlines and find a story that you can leapfrog and leverage to get your product or service featured in the media.

For example, when a London based university suddenly changed their English-level requirements and immigration policies for international students there was an outcry and the media covered it heavily. A UK school jumped on this opportunity offering to help the displaced students. This was fed to the media by the school and as a result they received wide coverage and were contacted for media interviews.

A poker training site made the most of a new law being discussed in the US government on online gambling. The site invited the president and anyone else in the government to compete against their poker trainers for a $1Million prize. The media ate this story up.

Get Out There

While you can accomplish many aspects of a publicity generating campaign from your home or office, it’s not always the best place to be. You really should be seen everywhere. The more events you attend, the more support you provide, the more networking you do…the more opportunities you’ll have to rub shoulders with the media.

At one of my companies, we consistently support and sponsor high-quality events in our industry. As a result, our logo is shown on event signage and in advertising and presentations. People are constantly seeing our brand and as a result it’s building. To the point where we get more and more opportunities for press, word-of-mouth and business.

Remember, the more the media sees you and hears about you, the more they will figure there is something going on that is worthwhile to write about you.

Be Amazing and Have a Story

That being said, the real key to getting publicity is having a great story. You need to give a reporter a unique angle, something different and interesting to write about. If you’re doing the same things that everyone else around you is, you’re really not giving the media anything to dig their teeth into.

The goal of your first email is just to get noticed and get a reply. You can have a conversation after that.

To come up with your angle and story ideas you can study other great publicity campaigns, take a PR consultant out to lunch, or get your team together and start white boarding all kinds of ideas.

What Format to Use

When you’re ready with your story there are a few best practices when it comes to get your story in front of the media.

At a recent media conference I attended, a lead reporter for a large newspaper said that faxes are out (don’t send faxes!), was pretty much her message.

Instead, email is the way to go. When you send your email here is what you need to know:

  • Send it to a specific journalist, not just a general mailbox.
  • Don’t include an attachment, paste your release directly into the email (attachments can get stuck in spam filters and can be hard to open on mobile devices).
  • Keep it short. If a reporter likes your story they will get in touch with you.
  • The goal of your first email is just to get noticed and get a reply. You can have a conversation after that.
  • Subject lines are #1. That’s right. If your subject line doesn’t create enough curiosity and interest they won’t even open your email.
  • Headlines are #2. Once you’ve got them to open your email, next you need to sell them to read the rest of your information. And that’s the job of your headline and short sub-headline. Which done correctly, will get them interested enough to want to get in touch with you.

Don’t forget that getting publicity does take time. It requires a continual and concentrated effort to get the most out of it. What’s great is that the payoff is often well worth it.

Have you had any successes or failures with publicity that you can share?

3 thoughts on “How To Get Your Consulting Business In The Media

  1. The best part about this blog post was the part discussing being amazing and having a unique story. Many of the fattest growing companies in our society have unique and amazing stories such as the company TOMS shoes. By giving reporters and people an interesting angle to cover you create a media friendly image that can grow your company very quickly.

    • Thanks Matthew, glad you enjoyed the article. Indeed, those 2 points are truly important.

  2. What I love about this blog is when the writer actually elaborate the different options we can do for our consulting business. It may hard for any beginner but with this blog it did not feel any hard to execute tips.

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