There’s no doubt that having your name, face and and voice in the media is a good thing for your therapy practice.
This is the essence of PR – public relations – when the media and other authoritative organisations are clamoring to get your expert comments. This can be in the form of comments in an article, on radio or on television.
When the media helps you share your perspective on mental health issues with new audiences, there are numerous benefits including:
- increased brand awareness about your business, company and services
- increased website traffic, opt-ins and subscribers
- readers, listeners and viewers perceive you as an expert in your field
- increased inquiries for your therapy services
- your comments on current affairs related to mental health can be shared widely
The truth is, when you go above and beyond to satisfy the requests of the media, they keep coming back again and again to use you because you become a reliable expert source that understands exactly what they need. If you make it easy for them to work with you, it’s definitely a win-win.
I was recently interviewed by ABC Radio on The World Today program. As I prepared for the interview and went through the process of commenting on a current news item related to mental health, I realised the process I used could be used by all therapists to get more attention from the media.
So here are 12 tips to help you get more media exposure for your therapy practice. Feel free to use and adapt this process as needed for yourself.
- Respond as fast as humanly possible. When you get message from a journalist, get back ASAP to the person – especially if they are from radio or television. When the journalist from ABC Radio called, my answering service took the message and texted me that ABC Radio was trying to contact me and I had to call back within 30 minutes. This told me that the radio journalist was on a tight deadline. Once I got the message I dropped everything and called back with two minutes of getting the message. This is really important – you need to get back as fast as humanly possible – because if they don’t hear from you they will keep searching for someone else. Television is on even tighter deadlines and I have missed out on opportunities in the past when I have waited 15 minutes to call back.
- Call the journalist/radio host/producer to find out what they are after. Find out what they want and make sure you’re the right person for them to talk to. If I think I don’t have the expertise to comment, I will often send the inquiry to one of our Australia Counselling members who specialise in that area. In this case, the host told me about a new survey on LGBTI mental health and wanted my comments and I felt I could make some useful comments on the topic.
- Once you agree to comment, ask them what the deadline is. Find out what the deadline is and what time frame you have to work with. In this case, the journalist wanted to record my responses right away. She was on a tight deadline and had to finish producing her story within the hour.
- Tell the journalist you will call them back. You don’t need to respond right then and there – and you probably shouldn’t anyway. Tell the journalist you will call them back shortly to respond or for them to record your interview. Even though the journalist I spoke to said she wanted to interview me right then and there, I said I would call her back in 5 minutes. It’s unusual you would have to respond so quickly – in the past I’ve had 20-30 minutes to get together a response. But make sure you call back exactly when you say you will or the journalist will move on.
- Do some research on the topic. It’s important to do some quick research on the topic and work out what you want to say. In this case, I quickly got some relevant stats on the mental health issue they wanted me to comment on.
- Have your talking points ready to help you in the interview. Talking points help you talk in a succinct and concise way. Have them handy to guide you and support you. Don’t try and ‘wing it’ unless you feel incredibly confident about your topic matter.
- Make sure the journalist knows your correct name. There’s nothing worse than hearing your own name incorrectly said on radio or television. Make sure they know how to pronounce your name and your title so you can be quoted correctly.
- Talk in sound bites. It’s very important you don’t waffle on in long, winding sentences. Talk in concise sound bites with one idea/comment per response. This allows the journalist to lead the interview and ask the next question.
- Pro tip: If your interview is on radio, record it on your computer. Once you know when the interview is going live on radio, you can record the segment on your computer. I use Screenflow for Mac for this. Camtasia for PC does the same thing. Sometimes you can ask if there is a podcast/replay version of the interview on their website. Occasionally they can send you the mp3 file, but this is not common. If your interview is on TV, most stations will post a replay video on their website that you can embed on your own website or blog.
- Create a blog post about your interview. If you can get the recording or a link to a replay page, make sure you create a blog post about it. For this interview, the ABC Radio have a dedicated page for the replay of the segment, which makes it easy to link to in a blog post. The alternative is to use the recording you did yourself on your own computer, which can be hosted in DropBox.
- Re-purpose your research notes and talking points. When I created a blog post I repurposed the research notes from the interview. Even though only 20 seconds was used from my 5-minute interview, I turned the research notes into a blog post to create a fuller article and response to the topic. I also created 3 different blog posts from this one interview for my different blogs and scheduled them on social media. You could also create an image using Canva or Picmonkey with quotes from your interview and share it on social media.
- Use the social proof in your marketing. If you’re making regular appearances in the media, make sure you have a media page on your website. Add your new interview to your media page and clip the logo of the publication or media outlet to add to your website for social proof. See an example of my media page here. And check out Australia Counselling member Jodie Gale who puts the logos of her media interviews on her website here.
In the end, my phone interview was for about 5 minutes and they used about 20 seconds – one sound bite – which is not unusual. If you’re interested in listening to my interview, you can check out the replay here.
Want to learn more about how to ethically and effective promote your therapy practice? If so, sign up for my FREE 5-part eCourse called 5 Ethical Practice Building Strategies for Counsellors.