BONUS FREEBIE: Your message deserves the media’s attention. So how do you get out there in a bigger way? I’ve got you covered. CLICK HERE to grab my free “Checklist to Become a Go-To Media Expert.”

How’s your relationship with the media?

If you find yourself singing Adele’s “Hello” to producers and editors, and all you hear back is Beyonce’s “Sorry,” it might be time to step up your seduction. Here are three tips to woo the media this year.

Don’t Be Desperate: Swipe Right AND Left

Don’t be that person who swipes right on anything with a pulse. A quick perusal of someone’s profile may not tell you whether someone is your soulmate, but it can certainly help you find a real connection—and rule out the red flags.

The same goes for your match with the media: Know the person receiving your pitch and their work. What kinds of stories do they love? Do they tend to gravitate toward a certain style? They will know when you haven’t done your homework—and it will make them want to “ghost” on you fast.

Get to know the person receiving your pitch by checking out their social media presence. Do they engage their followers? See if you can strike up a light conversation over a tweet or post. Are they attending networking events? Try to meet them in person. (Warning: Coming on too strong is disastrous in love and in media. Definitely keep it light).

But also ask yourself: Are they a good match for ME? While it may be tempting to throw yourself at every reporter, producer, booker or editor who comes your way, that plan can backfire in the long run. If all goes according to plan, this is the start of something ongoing—better to be single than entangled in a bad romance.

Make Yourself Irresistible

If you want to get rejected by the hot girl, ramble on about her looks while you ask her out. Likewise, the media knows it’s sexy—and it doesn’t want you to use it for its body.

Another surefire way to get rejected? Toot your own horn so much, you compose a symphony to your greatness. Confidence is hot, but narcissism is a real turn-off.

The key to being irresistible is simple: Be a giver, not a taker. If you want to woo the media, you’ve got to sell yourself as an attentive partner. Always link your pitch back to the audience: Why should those people care? How can you help them? How will your expertise transform their life? Show the editor or producer that you get what they do and you’re here to offer your help—not to use their platform, love ‘em and leave ‘em.

Sweep Them Off Their Feet

Picture this: You’ve just cancelled a date because you caught a monster flu. You’re a little bummed, but you were only lukewarm about the date in the first place. Thirty minutes later, the doorbell rings. You open the door and find a care package of chicken noodle soup, emergenc-C, tea, and a “Get Well Soon” card from your date. And just like that, things start heating up.

If you want to sweep the media off its feet, be the producer or editor’s hero. Don’t just figure out what they need—give it to them when they need it most.

The media needs pieces that link back to the top trending hashtags. If you’re a parenting expert, the Grammys would be the perfect moment to pitch a story on how celebrity feminists like Beyonce are changing the way our culture views motherhood. If you’re a constitutional lawyer, start drafting that pitch on what will happen next with Trump’s expanded travel ban. Do the producer or editor’s work for them—they’ll thank you for it.

BONUS FREEBIE: Your message deserves the media’s attention. So how do you get out there in a bigger way? I’ve got you covered. CLICK HERE to grab my free “Checklist to Become a Go-To Media Expert.”

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

You probably have set your sights on some big goals for this year. Like, life goals: Get in shape. Eat cleaner. Read more. Earn more. Finally (finally) get that website up and running.

What does it take? One step at a time: one workout at a time, one page at a time, one hour at a time.

But what about your media goals? Yes. Media goals.

Because just as you wouldn’t simply wait for weight to fall off, or hope a website magically appears, it’s not enough to hope your favorite publication or TV show reaches out.

That doesn’t mean you can’t make media happen!

Rather than make “doing more media” out to be some huge, impossible thing, think of media as another key strategy for reaching your professional goals—just as you might look at writing blog posts, or going to networking events, or doing more public speaking.

So let’s do this! Here are some simple steps to making your media goals a reality this year.

Step 1: Make your media wish list

Go for it—do a brain dump of the kinds of media where you’d like to pitch and be featured. And while the Today show, Oprah magazine, Real Simple, and NBC Nightly News may be high on the list, don’t limit yourself to the big media beasts.

  • Make a list of your big-dream publications and shows
  • Make a list of your next-level media properties (regional news and magazines, podcasts, websites).
  • Write down what you’d be most excited to see yourself doing—whether it’s more on-air segments, more podcasts, or getting quoted as a resource in print stories.
  • Now, take a good hard look at those media outlets. Study who and what they’re covering, and where you see yourself contributing!

Step 2: Generate content ideas

If you’re going to get on TV, you’ve got to have something to say, right? You already know plenty about your field, your topic, your expertise. What you have to do next is not get smarter, but savvier in how you share what you know.

Getting the attention of producers and editors starts with fresh ideas, relevant, timely takes, on what you do and what you have to offer.

  • Keep a notebook on hand when you’re consuming your favorite media—on TV, podcasts, or blogs, and jot down ideas you go. Don’t second guess! Just get it all down so you have ideas to work with.
  • Think about what opinions, facts, and perspectives that maybe weren’t cons
  • Check out this recent post to spark new inspiration for generating ideas.

Step 3: Hit “record”

Getting comfy in front of the camera is key to getting asked to be (and crushing it on) TV.

In a recent post, we talked about how to leverage Facebook Live to get on TV. It’s easy, free, and low stakes—with the potential to be more. So start practicing. Take one of your ideas, something you want to teach, hit “go live,” and start talking about what you know best!

The future of the internet is video content. You can get better at this—but not by thinking about it.

Step 4: Brush up on your pitching skills

As we’ve said over and over, there’s a right, and a wrong, way to go about pitching media!

First things first, you have to think about your topic and expertise the way someone would who knows nothing about what you do. Find out how to be sure your pitch passes the fifth grade test. And then, be sure to double check it with our pitching checklist.

Step 5: Learn from the experts

Who do you think we learned from? Pros who have gone before us and who are leading the way. And we keep learning. So yes, while we have a few things to share that we know work, we also make it a point to listen to and talk to the pros to make sure we’re making the best decisions we can.

And now we can all learn together—because we’ll be interviewing entrepreneurs, authors, and industry experts (including folks you have heard of) on our new radio show (that’s right) on Voice America!

Our weekly show, “Lights Camera Expert: Unleash Your Expertise” airs every Monday at 3pm ET / 12p PT!  

That one of OUR big goals—practicing what we preach and being our own producers! We couldn’t be more excited for this! Be sure to pop by and check it out (and you can listen to all the episodes here as well as on iTunes and Stitcher.

What are YOUR media goals? We want to know! Pop on over to the LCE Facebook page and share it!

In the age of social media, one word has the power to make our clients do their very best horror film victim impression—brand. (That is, until they talk to us). We know that branding yourself can feel abstract at best and a little hokey at worst. To find your brand, first you have to get clear on what it’s not.

Your brand is not:

  • What you do
  • Your credentials
  • Your title
  • Your accolades
  • Any label you can find in a dropdown menu

Your credentials, title, and accolades are all a resource for your wisdom. But they don’t lead—you do. And by you, we mean the person behind those titles—the one with passion, drive, opinions, a distinct mission. You are who we want to connect with—not Random Harvard Doctor #4. And your brand is the first point of contact and sum of your customer’s engagement with you.

To find your brand, ask yourself these three questions:


1. Why you? Why this thing?

To connect with you, we need to know your story—your why. What was the moment, the exact scene, you discovered what you were meant to do? What happened that triggered your burning desire to help people with this problem? Your struggles draw us in as much as your expertise.

For example, Dorie Clark is passionate about helping people take control of their professional lives because there were very few opportunities for success in her North Carolina hometown, and she believes everyone should be able to get paid for doing what they love. Farnoosh Torabi is passionate about personal finance because she was once 22 years old, $30k in debt, living in NYC and eating canned tuna. And as she grew up and out of debt, she realized there was a hole in our country’s financial literacy that was leaving young people out to dry.

Your story may make you feel vulnerable. Good. That vulnerability is exactly what let’s your audience in and allows them to feel something for you. Get us invested in your story and we’ll follow you anywhere.


2. Who are you passionate about helping?

One of our favorite exercises to give clients is this fill-in-the-blank:

“I help (people who need/want X) to (benefit #1) and (benefit #2).”

Who are your people? Get specific. Sure, in your practice, you may help everyone. But who do you want to be known for helping? Who do you passionately advocate for or think gets overlooked? There’s a certain demographic of your clientele that hits your expertise sweet spot.

Don’t be afraid to lean into that one thing—your thing. Getting specific about your brand doesn’t limit you—it does the opposite. You have to be specific enough to cut through the din. And once you’ve got people’s attention, your brand can pivot with you—because it is you!

Take Game of Thrones fan favorite Jon Snow. Jon Snow’s brand isn’t “The Night’s Watch.” It’s “honest to a fault, heroic beyond reason, constantly taking up for the underdog.” Who does he love to help? Samwell Tarly. The Wildlings. The downtrodden and abandoned. And because his brand is who he is, it follows him into larger adventures (hello, dragons). It doesn’t limit him—catapults him into his true destiny (R+L=J, y’all) and expands his capabilities. Okay, we’ll stop geeking out.


3. What’s your favorite way to help people?

Get specific about how you help people. For example, say you’re an autoimmune disease expert. Maybe you like to get in the weeds one on one with clients and overhaul their nutrition plan. Or maybe you’re a fabulous curator of autoimmune-safe products, recipes, and routines. Those are two brands that, technically, speak to many of the same things. But how they want to help people sets their brands apart.

And when it comes to your media brand, there are only so many hours in a day. You may want to write a book, host a podcast, give a TED talk, teach an online course, create a YouTube channel, and start a blog. And, in due time, we believe you can do all or most of those things! But right now, start with what you love and the rest will follow. Ask yourself, “Am I itching to write this book or to develop this course?” Your brand will ring truer if you lead with who you are and how you love to be of service. And that will pique the media’s interest.


About Paula & Terri:

Terri Trespicio, Co-Founder, Lights Camera Expert, LLC

Terri Trespicio is a New York–based branding pro and keynote speaker who helps companies and individuals nail their messaging and engage clients, customers, and fans. She speaks widely at conferences and events, and her TEDx talk, “Stop Searching for Your Passion,” has earned more than 3 million views.

A former magazine editor at Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine and radio host at Sirius XM, she has appeared on the Today show, Dr. Oz, The Early Show, and The Anderson Cooper Show. She’s been featured in Oprah magazine, Marie Claire, Prevention, Business Insider, and, among others. An in-demand speaker and TEDx coach, Terri speaks widely and was rated the #1 speaker at Barron’s Top Women Advisors Summit and How Design live.


Paula Rizzo, Co-Founder, Lights Camera Expert, LLC

A best-selling author and Emmy-award winning television producer for nearly 20 years, Paula has produced health, wellness, and lifestyle segments with a range of top experts, including JJ Virgin, Jillian Michaels, and Deepak Chopra. Most recently she served as the senior health producer for Fox News Channel in New York City for more than a decade.

Paula’s the founder of the productivity site and best-selling author of Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed, which has been translated into 12 languages and has been featured on many media outlets including Fox News, Fox Business, Prevention, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Brides and made it on’s list of “Self Help Books That Actually Help.”

You want to be known for what you do. You’re hustling to become a go-to media expert to build your brand, get your business in the spotlight, and change as many lives as you can.

Entrepreneurs want to build their brand, monetize their expertise, and extend their reach to a whole new stream of clients.

Sound familiar?

Becoming a go-to media expert is its own entrepreneurial side hustle—and it’s often in addition to meeting the demands of your own thriving business. And while media attention alone is sometimes it’s own reward, the truth is, you need to monetize and streamline that hustle so that it works for you and your business.

Why? So that you can do more of what you care about and do less of the heavy lifting—e.g. more time changing the world with your expertise, less time learning Hootsuite features.  

Enter our friend Dorie Clark’s new book, Entrepreneurial You.  Dorie is a marketing strategy consultant and professional speaker who teaches for Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, is a Grammy-winning jazz producer, and her most recent book, Stand Out, was named the #1 Leadership Book of 2015 by Inc. magazine.

In her latest book, she shares detailed specifics on how to build a thriving business and create multiple streams of income – something that’s valuable not just for entrepreneurs, but also for regular professionals who want to create more security and opportunity in their lives. She shares the stories of entrepreneurs of all kinds—from consultants and coaches to podcasters, bloggers, and online marketers—who have generated six- and seven-figure incomes. It’s a roadmap to becoming the master of your own destiny and getting paid to do what you love.

You can pick up a copy of Entrepreneurial You here, and download Dorie’s free 88-Question Entrepreneurial You self-assessment.

On August 18th-20th, we had our very first event called Lights Camera Expert LIVE! We are beyond grateful to have finally laid eyes (sans screen) on some of our amazing students from our course. Participants flew into Manhattan from all over the country for a weekend jam-packed with media training, brand excavation, pitch development, and networking.

We kicked things off Friday night with a delicious dinner at Urban Fare, where participants got to network with producers, editors, and established media experts. Then, Saturday and Sunday were packed to the gills with workshops, seminars, and on-camera interview training.

Though we may have technically been the teachers, we learned a lot from our students over the weekend:

1. Your expertise doesn’t lead—you do.

Saturday afternoon, Terri led a seminar on storytelling—how to set the scene, pull from all five senses, and plop your audience into the moment you’re sharing. It’s easy to get bogged down in the how and what of your mission, but as we dug into each student’s origin story, we reconnected to who they really are and why they do what they do.

As each student shared, each of us became invested in their mission on a much deeper, more personal level. It became clear that when you lead with your story and your passion—and lean into the power of your vulnerability—your audience can’t help but connect with you (and root for your success).

2. You are a secret pitch machine (yes, you!)

Believe us: There is no subject too dry, no niche too narrow. By following Paula’s Anatomy of the Pitch, we saw how thinking outside the box can produce limitless ideas for content. First, each student brainstormed possible topics and angles. Paula walked them through what is most likely to catch a producer’s eye. We zoomed in on one angle and gathered all of the possible talking points and, most importantly, audience takeaways. In the process, not only did every student come away with a ready-to-send pitch, they generated a long list of potential pitches that have already been crowdsourced.

A lot of people think that by getting too specific, they’ll lose something in the process. But this weekend, we were blown away by how many new pitch ideas were generated when students committed to going deep on one idea. Getting specific about one thing doesn’t discard other possibilities—it sheds a brighter light on all of them.

3. Don’t pitch your expertise—sell the transformation.

Often, as experts, we get bogged down in selling the features and facts (because we love our facts)! Our passion for a particular subject leads us to believe that it should be the focal point. But our Avengers Team of expert students this weekend came from a multitude of backgrounds. And when they explained how they help people, as opposed to what they do, eyes around the room lit up. Questions poured out and ears perked up, no matter how unfamiliar the subject matter.

Bottom line: Not everyone cares about sleep studies, but everyone wants to feel well-rested. If you can tell us how to change our lives for the better, any subject is sexy! Your brand can be summed up in one fill-in-the-blank sentence: “I help (these kinds of people) to (benefit #1) and (benefit #2).” That’s it!

4. Your media career should boost your brand (not the other way around)

One of our students said, “Money makes a great servant and a terrible master.” The same goes for media. When we looked out at our group, we saw an encouraging variety of talents, voices, and strengths. Some of them have started their own podcasts and TV shows, while others are already heavy hitters on the radio circuit or getting published in major publications. It was refreshing to see how each student has made their media journey fit their needs, strengths, and vision.

There is no set, traditional media path! If your real strength is hosting the conversation, start a podcast. (We can help you do it! Email us at if you want to start one but don’t know where to start) If being the world’s best radio guest fits better than the Today Show, do it! You are launching a media career to aid your mission—not the other way around. Do what serves and the results will follow.

If you’re not already hosting a weekly Facebook Live show, it’s time to start putting yourself out there. That handy-dandy LIVE function at the top of your newsfeed is not only a powerful marketing tool for boosting your business and brand, it’s a free, simple, and convenient way to demonstrate your on-air potential to producers.

Not to mention you’ll get much needed practice capturing an audience’s attention—and a clear sense of what makes them keep scrolling.

So here it is. Your step-by-step guide to hosting your own show on Facebook Live!

Step 1: Set Up Your Space

First things first, be sure you have a Facebook Page for your business—and not just a personal page. You can—and should—share your professional page posts via your personal profile. But having a business page will allow you to track the analytics of engagement—vital information for growing your following.

Second, having the right gear can make all the difference in quality. Putting your iPhone on a tripod, setting it in widescreen, and using a wide lens accessory can make your shoot look more professional. We  swear by this microphone from Amazon and this stand. If you want to be fancy, here’s a great clip-on lav mic that we use. And the right lighting and scenery can make you look like a total pro. Don’t be afraid to experiment in your home with what makes you look best!

(Pro tip: Do NOT shoot directly into a window or direct lighting (meaning, don’t shoot with a bright light or window behind you) – it will make your shot dark and unusable.)

Step 2: Plan Your Broadcast

The beauty of Facebook Live is that it doesn’t have to high production quality, it just has to deliver high value to your audience. Use our media-readiness test to make sure your content will resonate.

Get creative about what you share. The next wave of social media influencers don’t just share their wisdom, they are all about demonstrating the process—just look at the impact of Snapchat and Instagram stories. Don’t be afraid to give your viewers a behind the scenes look at what you do and how you do it!

Keep in mind that FB Live isn’t only live: Create your content with the repost in mind. People will be watching this way after you hit stop.

Step 3: Go Live!

Here’s a structure to keep you on track throughout your broadcast:

    1. Give a brief, powerful introduction. Give 1–2 sentences about what you’ll be sharing—and why you’re the person who is qualified to share it. “Hi guys, today I’m going to share with you the five reasons your business isn’t getting enough attention. I’m a video producer with 25 years of experience in helping brands boost their visibility.”
    2. Get into the meat of your content. This is where you deliver on the promise of the premise. Give the people what they want and share your wisdom here!
    3. Have a Q&A. Encourage viewers to post their questions in the comments. And look, if you’re new to this and no one tunes in the first time, don’t sweat it. Skip the Q&A until you’ve got a following of even a couple of people—or get your network to jump on and ask some good questions!
    4. Call to action. Ask them to subscribe to your page or mailing list, check out your site, message you with questions or topics they’d like you to address, and follow follow follow.

Finally, and this is a biggie, share it with your network well in advance so they know when it’s happening, can get excited, and are sure to attend!

Step 4: Edit and Share

Once you’re finished, your broadcast gets posted as a video. But here’s a beautiful insider tip: You can (and should) edit that video! See that cute little drop down in the top right hand corner of your post? Click Edit Video and it will let you change the title, thumbnail, add subtitles, etc. Here’s a quick tutorial.

Be sure to pick a fun and flattering thumbnail. Edit your post for posterity—change any “LIVE NOW” text to simply reflect the title.

And, most important of all, be sure to follow this tutorial to add captions to your video. The truth is, 80% of videos on Facebook are viewed with no sound at all! (Raise your hand if you watched videos at work with captions only. Yea, we thought so). That visual component can make all the difference in quality and capturing views moving forward—don’t skip it!

And now that you’re up and rolling, keep your viewers coming back for more.

Plan out weekly broadcasts and keep evolving your content based on the response. In no time, you’ll have a devoted following—and plenty of media worthy clips to share with producers.

If you’re interested in a new FB Live training we’re putting together click here and add your name to our early notification list. You’ll be the first to know when the step-by-step training class is happening!

You did it! You took the plunge, crafted a pitch you’re proud of, and you’re chomping at the bit to finally hit send on that Bad Mama Jama. And let’s be clear—we’re super proud of you! You’re facing your fears, owning your expertise, and finally stepping into the spotlight where you belong.

But before you hit send, let’s double check your work one more time. Because both of us know firsthand that there are a few key things that help greenlight a great pitch—and without these pieces, your great idea could end up in the bad pitch folder. Consider this your pre-send checklist for pitch perfect media outreach.

Check One: Is your pitch specific?

Make sure your pitch is as specific as possible. Tell them what problem you’re solving, how you’re solving it and—the most important part—why their audience should care! And if you can do all of that while passing the ultimate media-readiness test, you’ve nailed a great pitch.

BONUS: Give them a counterintuitive angle with an interesting hook. What does everyone get wrong or have backwards about your industry? What small detail changes your clients’ lives in a big way?

Producers would much rather book the nutritionist who says, “Our culture has bought into the lie that fat is the enemy. I’d love to do a segment on why bacon is healthy—and how a fat rich diet actually melts body fat.” Now THAT has our attention!

Check Two: Does it match their brand?

Pitching isn’t as easy as creating a template and blasting a thousand emails into the media ether. What works for Buzzfeed will not work for MindBodyGreen will not work for The New Yorker. It’s kind of like television: You could probably pick up a script for a comedy TV pilot and figure out pretty quickly whether it belongs on CBS or HBO.

You significantly increase your chances of rising to the top of the flood of pitches producers and editors receive if you make it clear that you understand the media outlet’s brand. What kinds of stories have they run in the past? How do they incorporate humor? Are they family-friendly or edgy? Is there a throughline or theme to the kind of content they gravitate toward?

Check Three: Will it resonate with their audience?

The best pitches visualize one very specific person and tailor the advice to helping that person solve a problem. To take your pitch to the next level, you need to identify who that ideal audience member is for each outlet you pitch. And it helps to get as specific as possible.

Let’s pretend that the walking embodiment of a Today Show viewer is a 38-year-old mother of two living in Mesquite, Texas. And let’s pretend that the walking embodiment of a HelloGiggles reader is a 24-year-old administrative assistant living in Brooklyn.

If you were a relationship therapist, you would approach those two clients entirely differently—and the same goes for your pitch. You might pitch a piece on surviving the “Seven Year Itch” to the Today Show, but a piece on tweaking your Tinder profile might go over better at HelloGiggles. By researching the outlet’s audience, you also save yourself—and producers and editors—precious time by not wasting good material on people who don’t need it.

There’s a mythology created around superstars that talent makes success easy. It perpetuates the idea that if you’re good enough, the world will open its arms and throw you opportunities. But it’s a myth—pure and simple. Everybody gets rejected over and over again. Steve Jobs. Oprah. Beyonce. Everybody.

You’ve heard that fortune favors the brave, but the media favors the persistent. The people who continually put themselves out there, who aim for the one “yes” in a sea of 100 nos. And if you want to make it in the media, you not only have to learn to stay hungry—you have to be able to stomach rejection.

Here are 4 ways to make rejection go down a little more smoothly:

1. Follow up…

Producers and editors are constantly inundated with emails. Before you bust out the pint of Ben & Jerry’s, it’s imperative that you give your pitch a follow up bump to ensure it was, in fact, rejected.

But, whatever you do, do not send a blanket email that just says, “So…what did you think of my pitch?” They’re not going to go digging for your pitch—and this is a surefire way to get a Liz Lemon level eyeroll in response. Acknowledge that they are busy people, give them a brief summary, and link them back to your full original pitch.  So, for example:

“I’m very aware that you get tons of emails every single day and might have missed this one. I wanted to pop it back up to the top of the pile and hopefully catch your eye.  As a quick reminder — I’m a GI doc and I’m using a new diagnostic tool in my office that is helping patients knockout acid reflux sooner than ever before. Here’s a clip of me on ABC talking about it.  Full details below.  Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!”

Now, that’s a great follow up!

2…but know when they’re just not that into you.

Let’s be real: If you followed up, and heard nothing, she’s just not that into you. And look, as you learned in our Valentine’s Day post, you’re building relationships in the media—and not everyone is going to be a perfect match at first. Better to cut your losses and move on in pursuit of the right fit.

And sure, you never know—culture may shift, the news cycle make quake, and suddenly, the producer that got away may remember your now perfectly relevant pitch and pick up the phone. But we can guarantee that if you’ve harangued them with email after email—with no reply—they will be hesitant to pick up the phone, even if you’re an ideal fit.

3. Tweak your pitch.

If you try the same pickup line every night for a week in a row—and nobody bites—it’s time to rethink your approach. The same goes for your pitch. Look it over with a fresh pair of eyes and try to see it from a producer/editor’s perspective. Is it clear and concise? Are the stakes high or are you doing the old “letting you know about this” pitch (which never really works)? Is it specific? Does it solve a problem? Also, ask a trusted friend for honest feedback (keyword: honest). If she didn’t know you, would she keep reading?

4. Keep it in perspective.

There is a cacophony of factors producers and editors have to consider (timing, topic, have they just covered this recently, does their boss not like this topic as a rule, etc). It may have nothing to do with your talent level, the validity of your idea, or the power of your message.

Rejection is, in so many ways, completely the wrong term for what’s happening when someone passes on your pitch. It’s not always a flat-out rejection, but more like a swing and a miss—and there are lots of those.

Remember they’re trying to solve a very specific puzzle, and both you and the producer are hoping your pitch is the right piece. It may not complete this picture, but it might be the exact right fit for the next one. Keep getting better at what you do, stay persistent, learn from every no—and eventually, the pieces will fall into place.

Imagine this: You’ve finally scored a pre-interview call with a producer or editor. They liked your initial pitch enough to reach out, but they’re really interested in hearing what else you’ve got. Do your eyes go wide with panic, brain scrambling for something—anything—to say? Or do you say, “No problem! I’ve got seven ideas locked and loaded.”

The media, like opportunity, only knocks once: When you answer the door, will you be ready—or standing in your bathrobe?

The time to stock up on content is now. And the truth is, creating content is as much about habit as it is about talent—the more often you flex your creative muscle, the stronger it will be. This week, we’re throwing you three prompts to stretch and flex your old ideas into fresh content. Three prompts. Zero excuses. Let’s do this!


Mine pop culture.  Producers and editors are always looking for pieces that tap into what’s relevant right now—and using pop culture is a great way to make your topic resonate with audiences. Take something that’s buzzed about this week—a TV show, album release, Comeybowl—and use it as inspiration.  Look at how many op-eds you saw last week about how Comey’s experience with Trump mirrored what it’s like to be a woman in the workplace. Or how many experts have used mega-hits like Wonder Woman and Game of Thrones to shed light on their field of expertise.


What is everyone missing? Cassandra once famously yelled, “HEY! THAT HORSE IS FULL OF GREEKS, YOU IDIOTS!” (But, you know, in Homeric Greek). Be the Cassandra of your field:

  • What big problem are we ignoring?
  • What small problems do we dismiss that might have a huge impact down the line? What’s the one thing that—if we all just paid a little more attention—would change everything about X?
  • What does everyone assume is great, but is actually awful.

Write about that! For example, New York Times comedy critic Jason Zinoman recently wrote a brilliant counterintuitive take on Dear Evan Hansen, the most beloved Broadway musical of the season, called Dear Evan Hansen: You’re a Creep. Especially after Sunday’s TONY win for best musical, his article stands out.


Hack it. Write down five super simple, hyper-specific actions people can take right now that will change their life. In other words, give us five ways to hack (insert your field here).

Five things we can do right now to help us sleep better that aren’t “go to bed earlier.” Five easy, one-step things I can do right now to start a personal savings. Little life-hacks like this are a producer/editor’s dream. And look, while we both know you’ve got a brilliant thesis or book in you, segments and articles are all about small but potent bursts of information.

Now get out there and create some content!

To make your pitch stand out to a producer or editor, you have to find a counterintuitive hook or shiny new angle that will grab audiences’ attention. And finding that angle often requires some creativity—and a fully stocked pond of inspiration.

Often, experts make the mistake of bearing down on their domain too hard, mining and stripping it for all they can, shaking their fists at the sky when they come up short. But the key to a fresh take is to actually think outside your niche.

The power of your pitch lies in its relevance. And if you’ve got tunnel vision, you miss the little details and nuances of the real world—what’s driving us, what we need, what’s popular, how we relate to one another—that, when weaved into your pitch, make it stand head and shoulders above the rest.

If you’re in desperate need of inspiration, fear not! Here are four places to start looking for it right away.

1. Get out of your head and observe what’s around you

When tunnel vision is at its strongest, sometimes the best move is to grab a cup of coffee, go to the park, and just take in the world around you. Do some people watching, make up colorful backstories, soak in some nature, or narrate the passing dogs inner monologues with fun voices (no? Maybe that’s just us).

Wherever you go or whatever you do, give yourself a moment to get out of your head and just soak in your environment. Watching two entangled dog walkers solve a problem can spark the perfect pitch. Allowing a little silence can give inspiration that was otherwise suffocated much needed room to breathe.

2. Reignite your other passions

The media is obviously looking for passionate experts. But if you’re pulling a Whitney Houston and saving all your love for your work, you’ve got it backwards. Passion begets more passion—and you can risk burnout if you rely on your work as your only source.

Dive back into a hobby. Pick up a book to read for pure pleasure. Indulge in something that provokes a sense of wonder, curiosity, and joy. Big ideas usually strike when you’re lost in something completely different (Einstein said he always got his best ideas in the shower).

But even more importantly, reconnect with the people you love. Spend time with your friends, family, significant other deep in conversation or do something fun. Give yourself a chance to be vulnerable, loved, connected, and comfortable. It’s so much easier to put yourself out there with confidence when you know your emotional safety net is firmly in place.

3. Unplug and reconnect to yourself

In order to stand out to the media, you’ve got to know what your thing is. And since you are the heartbeat of your brand, you’ve got to make time for yourself! Step away from the pitch, away from the computer, turn off the phone (we know, we’re asking a lot) and give yourself some time to unplug.

  • Three pages of stream of conscious journaling can unearth ideas you didn’t know you had.
  • Meditation can remove some of the unconscious blocks that are keeping you stuck. (We love the Calm app!)
  • Try something new and learn about another side of yourself. The better you know yourself, the more specific and interesting your brand will be.

4. Up your pop culture game

Ah, water cooler talk. It’s so deliciously zeitgeisty. The beauty of pop culture—be it TV, movies, music, or viral videos—is that it gives us something to discuss with anyone. Even your coworker with whom you have nothing in common.

But when it comes to your pitch, pop culture opens up a world of metaphors and common experiences that can bridge the gap between your material and the audience. The best of pop culture inspires us to get lost in stories about humans overcoming massive problems. And since, as a media expert, you’re now in the business of solving problems for hundreds of people, getting lost in a story or two can spark the imagination.

Plus, referencing everyone’s favorite Netflix binge shows you’ve got your thumb on the pulse of what’s happening—and that shows producers and editors you understand the demands placed upon them to find relevant, timely content.