media outletAs a small business owner, what is your dream media outlet? CNN? Entrepreneur.com? Inc. Magazine? Oprah? Whatever it is, you probably realize that the odds of getting an out-of-the-blue invite to join Anderson Cooper in the Green Room are slim…at least right now.

That doesn’t mean your media dreams are always going to be out of reach, though. Here is the thing – waiting for that special media outlet to call is not the right strategy. We never wait for opportunity – we create it!

The Media Outlet Secret: Start Small

I doubt you started out charging premium rates for your services and your pursuit of media attention won’t likely begin at the top either. Instead, concentrate on small, local publications. The secret is that weekly newspapers, regional magazines, local news channels are all looking for experts they can interview and quote.

Even better (for you, anyway) it’s tough for a local market to attract the attention of national celebrities. Is Dr. Phil going to appear on the morning show in Columbus, Indiana or Marquette, Michigan? Not likely. But you can.

Not only do these smaller outlets offer you an opportunity to share your message, but they also give you the chance to build your media chops. Here’s another critical reason to aim for these smaller markets: appearing in the media is a skill that must be nurtured. Just as you played endless scales to learn the piano, and wrote 1,000 blog posts before you penned a book, interviewing well takes practice, and there’s no better training than small, local outlets.

The Big Media Outlet Is Within Reach

Of course, if your dream is the national stage, there is a more direct route. As Jonathan Fields says, anyone can get featured in national media, you “just need to make national-level news!”

Always be on the lookout for media outreach opportunities, whether it’s a chance at a regular column in your hometown newspaper, or a sound byte on the national news. The more media exposure you have, the more you will attract, and before you know it, you might just be sharing the stage with Oprah Winfrey.  

Be Big Media Ready

What does it mean to be media ready? I wrote an entire blog post about this topic. Check out Your Pre Public Relations Game Plan. If there were one thing I would have you focus on to be ready for the big media outlets it is to have a great media page on your website. They are going to check you out and you want them finding what you have put on your site, not what they find published by others.  Check out my media page as an example for designing your own.