From Edelman to Bridgewater, insights on how to build a media presence for your thought leadership platformFeatured
Hi fellow Elphas! I’m Yuliya, and I’m the founder of Peer, a marketplace that makes the news more inclusive by connecting the press and news sources through merit-based matchmaking. I ran media, crisis, and public affairs campaigns at Edelman, interacted with the press during Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and Inauguration, and was the Head of Marketing of an acquired fintech start-up.One of the reasons I started Peer is because of the big gender and diversity gap among sources quoted in the news. There’s a 3:1 male to female ratio and only 25% of sources are non-white. We can surely do better. To change that and to democratize access to PR, I wanted to share a few lessons for Elphas to use to vocalize the power and value of their expertise to create a thought leadership platform and be included in the news. 1.) Understand the news cycle.To set the scene: the media landscape has changed a lot over the last decade. Consumers have switched to digital and social media to get their news, publications have laid off staff, and reporters are under tighter deadlines, covering additional beats (ie. subjects) and writing more articles than ever before. What that means for you, as a news source, is that we need to know how to make your expertise presentable and relevant to the news cycle. Each interview for reporters comes with an opportunity cost, so the more obviously you can tie in your background to their beat, the better.So for any reporter outreach, think about what your hook is: Can you comment on a developing news story (ie. you’re a conservation expert who can comment for the UN General Assembly)? Or, in more passive engagement, would you like to introduce and pitch yourself as an expert for any upcoming stories?2.) Think and talk like a reporter. Although reporters have different preferences around the best time and method to pitch them (email vs. Twitter DMs), they all agree that it should be short. Don’t use buzzwords, don’t ask for permission to send them a media kit or relevant docs (just attach it!), and don’t be overly formal. A good template for outreach is a LinkedIn bio, so present how your background would be helpful to their future coverage in 3-4 sentences. Include links to your LinkedIn, Medium, or Twitter, and any previous relevant media coverage. 3.) Use your expertise to establish a thought leadership platform. One of the source application questions on Peer is “What makes you news-worthy?” Since we launched, I’ve had a number of women ask for advice answering that question -- and I get it. Jordan Sale’s earlier post nicely summed up the ease and ability to praise another woman’s accomplishments, but it can be a struggle to talk about our own wins. My trick is: if you had to write a Medium post (or a post on Elpha, for that matter) -- what would you say? This can come from your background (graduating from a non-target school and making partner), work experience (ie. five years in cybersecurity) or just be a big part of your life (ie. double duty as a female founder and mother). I also encourage you to go and write that Medium article to start building up a portfolio of pieces for your thought leadership platform as this will improve your chances for an interview and other public engagements, such as panels and conference appearances. If you are a founder, these pieces may fold under your general content and marketing strategy. If not and you’re focusing on your current work, coordinate with whoever is responsible for external communication to make sure the messaging is aligned.4.) Engaging in the interview. After you’ve successfully pitched and gotten an interview, the reporter may send you a general sense of what the conversation will be about ahead of time. Create three core messaging bullets that you want to relay, and stick to them. These points can be general trend forecasting, comments on a breaking story, how your company is solving for it, or background information to help a reporter have a better grasp on the subject. Reporters are looking for concise, clear commentary, so it doesn’t benefit you to meander. Journalists build up a list of go-to sources, so the more meaningful your insights are, the higher the chance that you will become a trusted source. Mastering interviews is an art, but for the sake of brevity of this article, I’ll bypass the media training portion. If you’d like to learn more, happy to answer any inquiries.Feel free to drop your questions in the comments or reach out directly here or [email protected]. I have kicked off office hours so reach out if you'd like to chat. We’d love to welcome Elphas to join Peer as sources and be in automatic consideration for press opportunities that are most relevant to your backgrounds. Yuliya is the founder of Peer, a marketplace making the news more inclusive by connecting sources and reporters based on merit. She was previously the Head of Marketing at Logos (acquired by Ripple) and focused on operations at the Tech Strategy and Incubation department at Bridgewater Associates. Prior to that, while at Edelman, Yuliya was a Press Assistant at Strategic Media Counsel team and managed crisis, public affairs and corporate affairs accounts. She has started her career working running a satellite office as a Deputy Field Organizer on the Obama 2012 campaign in Florida and Vice President Biden's communications team in Washington, D.C.