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Annie Scranton, founder of Pace PR, knows a thing or two about the media. She and I met as producers at Fox News Channel, but she’s also worked at MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, HLN, and even Good Morning America!

With all that insider knowledge, Annie can predict what the future holds when it comes to getting on TV as an expert. She knows what it takes for people to get their message out there, because she helps people do that very thing every day.

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It’s Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re celebrating singlehood or blissfully coupled, romance is on the brain today. And there’s no better time to consider 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 travel ban. Do the producer or editor’s work for them—they’ll thank you for it. 

 

How do you know you’re ready for TV (or media in general)? You probably have your own made-up ideas about it. Everyone does. You think you need: a bestselling book; a regular column; a PhD; a TED talk. Perhaps you think you need to have worked somewhere special or worked for yourself or started your own company, or earned your first million.

Nope.

Fact is, you don’t need all or even one of these things to get media attention. It’s true. These things help, for sure—and the more you create and demonstrate your expertise, well, the easier it is to get media. But how do you know you’re ready to start doing media?

I’ll tell you. Here are five signs that tell me you’re ready:

  1. You know a thing or two. In other words, you have a specific area of expertise, based on years of practice, study, reading, doing, what have you.Don’t get thrown by the word “expert”; all it means, by definition, is “a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.” You don’t have to be THE expert or the world’s best known expert. You’re an expert. And whether that means you’re an expert in parenting, gardening, or underwater basket weaving, it doesn’t matter.
  2. You are burning to share a specific message. In short, you’re on a mission. And I don’t just mean “to make the world a better place” or “empower women.” I mean, a specific thing you are going to share and teach. You know what people get wrong about whatever it is you’re passionate about, and what’s more, you have the tools and insights to help us change our minds about it, and improve some aspect of our lives as a result.
  3. You’re able to explain what you do and why it matters. More importantly, you’re able to do this for people who may not actually be sure they care—which includes producers, editor, their readers and their viewers. Because while you believe in what you do and why, no one else necessarily does. They’re not mean or willfully ignorant; they’re just busy. The people who catch the media’s eye know how to make what they care about compelling to other people.  
  4. You want to create content. I don’t mean you have to be a writer or a journalist, or spend all day blogging. But in order to teach people and to write pitches, you do have to love the idea of coming up with content to share.Because even if you never blogged once, you still have to be able to flesh out an idea for a producer and that means you need to know how to turn your expertise into content. You have to be ready to tell them what they should be thinking, trying, or doing differently, and that means being able to can offer a smart, counterintuitive take on what you do.
  5. You’ve been watching long enough. You’ve been reading interviews in magazines and in blogs, watching experts chat it up on morning shows, evening news. And you think, “I could do that. I know I could.”You’re ready to stop watching from the sidelines as experts in your industry take up all the airtime sharing the kinds of insights you could be sharing. Why not you? That very tug you feel, to get in the game, to raise your hand, to step up? That’s probably the most important sign of all.

Terri Trespicio is the co-creator of Lights Camera Expert, a six-week program that teaches experts, authors, entrepreneurs how to get, and keep, media attention. Visit her at territrespicio.com.