How To Become A Recognized Expert In The Media With Lee Caraher

by | Apr 21, 2022 | Podcasts

SWGR 105 | Media Recognized Expert

 

Becoming a recognized expert in the media can be a long, tedious process. Elizabeth Bachman welcomes Lee Caraher, the founder and CEO of Double Forte. Lee explains that there are ways to make the process easier. The first thing you need to do is to write the expert sheet. Identify that you are an expert in. Where can you provide interesting, relevant information actionable for your target audience? Then identify five newspapers, magazines, and trade publications that you think will care about your topic. Need more tips? Listen to this episode.

Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here


 

How To Become A Recognized Expert In The Media With Lee Caraher

How To Be The One They Call

This is the show where we interview experts from around the world on such subjects as presentation skills, visibility, leadership, and communication challenges. Before we go into the interview, I’d like to invite you to see how your presentation skills are going by taking our free four-minute quiz at SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. That’s where you could find out where your presentation skills are strong and where perhaps a little bit of support could get you the results you need and the recognition that you deserve. This is important because my guest is Lee Caraher of Double Forte PR firm. She is going to talk to us about how to be a resource for the media, how you get on TV, how you get quoted in the newspaper, and how reporters know about you so that you’re the one they call.

Lee has a lot to say about that. There’s a lot of jam-packed full of information in our conversation. Her official bio is Lee McEnany Caraher, the Founder and CEO of Double Forte, a national independent public relations and strategic communications agency. She’s headquartered in San Francisco with offices in New York and Eau Claire, Wisconsin. As an acclaimed communications strategist, Lee is known for her practical solutions to big problems. Her company works with some of the top consumer lifestyle, digital life, and wine brands in the country. At many stages, from startups to mid-cap, public-private, and B-Corp companies.

Lee has a reputation for building cohesive high, producing teams who get a lot done well and have fun at the same time. She’s a straight talker who doesn’t hold too many punches, although she does her best to be pleasant about it. Her big laugh and her sense of humor have gotten her out of a lot of trouble. I particularly liked this part. She’s a graduate of Carleton College with a degree in Medieval History, which she finds useful every day. Lee lives in Western Wisconsin. She splits her time between San Francisco, New York, and Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She’s fun and interesting. She’s got a lot to say. Stay tuned now for a full interview with Lee Caraher.

Lee Caraher, I finally got you on to Speakers Who Get Results. Welcome.

Welcome to me. I’m so excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

I’ve been following you for some time and I’ve heard you a couple of times. I thought, “I’ve got to get her onto my show,” and we have tried several times. It’s finally mattering. That’s cool because this gets to be part of presentation skills month, and your information is what I want my audience to have access to. Before we get to ask you about how to be a media expert, even TV, let me ask you about your dream interview. If you were to interview someone from history, who would it be? What would you ask them? Who should be listening?

I’ll preface it with the fact that I have a degree in Medieval History, which frankly is the first period of my career that it’s been useful because I did my thesis on the impact of the Black Death on England. When you talk about the plague, I have something relevant to share, COVID. Catherine of Siena would be my dream interview. I did several studies on her. She lived smack dab in the middle of the 14th century. She was a Dominican Order and she was living in Italy. She had tremendous influence. Often, we think about women in the church, particularly the Catholic church, of not having an influence on world order or anything. That is not true.

She went into the church very young against the will of her parents. Pope Gregory XI used her as an envoy in different wars, battles, and skirmishes between different parts of Italy. She had tremendous influence not just on the peace of Italy but also on the Catholic Church throughout Europe. It’s all against your parents’ wishes in a very patriarchal structure. I would want to interview her. As we think about it, we met through How Women Lead, which is about getting women to understand their power and step into their power, not have imposter syndrome.

Here’s a woman who did it in the 14th Century. I would love to talk to her. Who should listen? Everybody should listen. I’m not a Catholic. I’m an Episcopalian. Regardless of your faith or not, she’s an inspiration. Not only as a woman, as a feminist in the anti-feminist organization, but as a woman who didn’t let anything stop her.

Let me ask you a little bit more about that because I think a lot about historical cycles. It’s what allows me to sleep at night that you were talking about your knowledge of the Black Death and what happened to English society. When I look at the horrible things human beings do to each other nowadays, I like to look back into history and see where we’ve been before. It’s always a cycle.

We have been here a million times before.

Somehow, we survived. That’s the thing. When I look at the things people are saying or the messages that are coming around again and I think there is also a history of getting past these issues. Instances we’re not getting past these issues or you don’t get past the issues through a lot of bloodshed. Anyway, back to Catherine of Siena, did she become a saint?

 

Women need to understand, step into their power, and not have imposter syndrome. Click To Tweet

 

Yes.

In her lifetime, I’m guessing her family had some power or they wouldn’t have listened to her if she was only a farmer’s daughter.

Correct. She’s also Dominican and she rose up in her house.

Was it through her writing?

She was writing. She had an incredible influence on Italian literature in the 14th and 15th centuries. You have to remember that Italy has been the center of Western culture for a long time, but in the 14th century, coming out of the Black Death, absolutely.

I’m going to come to that lecture.

Brush that up by saying, “Oh my gosh.”

SWGR 105 | Media Recognized Expert

Media Recognized Expert: Things are better. It’s only we want them to be even better.

Maybe you and I should have another conversation in which we geek out on history details. I love that part.

Thinking about history though, I want to say one thing. People say, “This is the worst time in history.” It’s not. We are living through it, so it sucks. In general, we are not dying of horrible deaths. In general, we are not drinking from fetid water and not having pain relief, and not having clean water. In general, we are in a better place. Although, there’s war everywhere all the time.

I’m in the United States now and we may not see it all the time. Now, we think of the worst war is Russia and Ukraine. Actually, the worst war happening now is in Ethiopia. More people have died in Ethiopia over the few years than will ever die in Russia and Ukraine unless they go nuclear. What we do, we get over it. In general, we’re in a better place. Living through it with our higher expectations, it’s anachronistic to think of it that this is the worst because we’re living through it.

I think that’s a very good point. It’s the expectations, the things that were not able to happen. The things we thought were going to happen a few years ago. I’ve been checking in with things a few years ago where I thought, “We’ll be on hold for 3 or 4 weeks, then everything is going back to normal.” I believed that. I didn’t think it was going to last this long.

In our lifetime, women couldn’t have their own checking accounts if they were married. They couldn’t have their own bank accounts or credit cards. The fact that the little girl who went through, who was the lone soldier going into a white school is still alive, so things are better. It’s just that we want them to be even better.

In order to make it better, since you, as a PR expert and I, as a presentation skills expert, we do a lot around helping people get their messages out to the world. I could talk a lot about how to speak, but how do you become one of the experts on TV? One of the experts who’s quoted in the media? That’s a nut I have not cracked, something I have not approached yet.

I don’t think you’ve tried it because if you would have tried it, you have cracked that nut.

I haven’t tried mostly because I’m scared, frankly.

A lot of people are scared of it.

It’s an area I don’t know my way around. I wanted to get you on here because one of the joys of being a podcast host is I can invite people who know a whole lot more about a subject than I do and learn from them. I’m asking you the questions I want to know because if I ever get my act together, I’m going to get out there.

You will. You have the technology and the power.

 

Earned media has more influence than anything in building someone's credibility. Click To Tweet

 

I might have to hire you to kick me in the rear end to get me out there.

You can do it but without us. We’re very happy to help you if you want to. We met through a presentation series I was doing to help women specifically learn how to do it themselves because it’s daunting. It’s not impossible. Once you get the groove, you’re in there.

As with anything else worth doing, you have to take the time to do it the first couple of times.

It takes a while. You have to push the boulder up the hill and you get there like, “It’s not so bad up here.” It gets easier once you’ve done it a few times.

There are some scary statistics about how few women are the experts who are called on. Can you talk a little bit about that, why it’s still such a minority?

In 2022, it’s gotten a little worse in a few years as so many women have left the workforce and senior women and experts. However, about 70% of the people quoted in the media are men, and that leaves 30% for women. The workforce is tilted towards the woman, not towards the man. On the front page, we used to call it the above the fold. If everyone is reading a newspaper, above the fold is when they deliver it to your house. If you get a newspaper, it’s what you look at first. It’s the first two scrolls on a website. It’s the first ten minutes of a television show. It’s what you read first in an article. About 90% of the people who are quoted in there that get their attention moment are men. If you are a woman of color, it’s even more disastrous.

In the sciences, although there are more women going into science, men are quoted even more drastically more often than women are. When we think about the role of media in our culture, either our work culture or our home culture or politics, whatever, the media has an incredible role in deciding who is important. You can always see if you go to a website to buy glasses, “As seen on TV or even in the New York Times.” It gives you so much third-party validation because the media do not have to use you. You’re not paying input. You can pay for it but what I’m talking about is earned media when you’re not paying for the placement.

Earned media has more influence than anything in terms of building someone’s credibility. Agendas are being set by who speaks to the media, “So-and-so said this is true.” I don’t know the ones that are right. The media doesn’t have to. They’re supposed to get two sides of the coin but it doesn’t mean they have to get a man and a woman. It doesn’t mean they have to get two sides of the coin. Ever since cable news came, it’s all decimated. That’s the sanctity of having two sides on every topic. When you think about what happens in your industry about who should get paid what? What should be the rules about culture? What should be the rules about what you wear to work?

SWGR 105 | Media Recognized Expert

Media Recognized Expert: Be ready with something you think is relevant when a story idea comes up.

You google, “What should I wear to work?” what comes up first are news articles now. That’s the current world. When you read the news article, it’s, “This expert got quoted and this expert got quoted.” I was reading an article in The Wall Street Journal about workplace attire. People are coming back to the workplace and it’s free for all, and a lot of companies don’t like it. It was all about this one person talking about how he’s become the wardrobe police at his office. Now, I guarantee you that that article is flying around Wall Street saying, “Here’s what the new standard is because this guy said so.”

How did they find this guy?

I’m sorry, I’m not going to put the article up but the person who wrote the article is a woman. She talks about Wall Street culture and fashion as well. It’s on her beat, things that she cares about. She’s always fishing around. Reporters are always fishing around for stories that will land in the paper. A reporter doesn’t get to decide, “I’m going to write about greeting cards.” They don’t get to decide. They come up with an idea then they go to their editor. The editor says, “Make sure you have Joe in there. Instead of doing Wall Street, why don’t you do Midtown? Midtown is so much different.” It’s a collaborative process and they have an idea.

For our international audience, we’re talking about New York. The difference between Midtown New York or Main Street or the Village Square.

They’ll decide where. Wall Street Journal writes it from the Wall Street perspective. They’re always going to choose Wall Street in general. She’s fishing around for an idea for a story, “Here’s a good idea.” She goes fishing through the people she knows like, “I’m going to write a story about this,” because Banana Republic launched a new line of casual work that has a hoodie underneath a jacket. Amazon is promoting now work-appropriate yoga pants. “Is this real?” She’s finding out if it’s real or not. She writes a story because she could see what’s being sold at retail. She basically calls around and goes, “Who has an issue on this?” It doesn’t take very long.

There are several different resources, which I can share with your audience where you can put your, “Here’s my query.” You sent it out to all the PR people in the world and you go, “I have a person who could talk about that or maybe she knows him from before.” Maybe he might have sent her an email and said, “Do you know what the biggest problem I’m having now? Based on all this is I’ve become the wardrobe police,” and that’s a hook. “Wardrobe police? What do you mean? What’s your real job?”

He may have pitched her. She may have looked at the trends in retail at work where. March 2022 was the biggest going back to work month so far since COVID shut us down a few years ago. Maybe her editor said, “We’re going to write ten stories about going back to work, what’s going on.” You don’t necessarily know where it came from. The point is to be ready with something you think is relevant when a story idea comes up.

Let me ask you there. I talk a lot on this show about having your stories ready, your polished stories. I know you did a wonderful image about what a one-sheet would look like. It lists the areas of expertise and the industries, which is not what I normally do when I’m talking about speaking. I say, “I do this, this and this. Here’s what the audience would do.” As a one-sheet for the media, talk about that a little bit. A one-sheet is a speaker profile.

Instead of a speaker profile, we call it an expert sheet. It’s the same thing. Let me go back up one level. One level is saying you are an expert. The first problem people have is saying, “I’m an expert.” Women have a harder time with this than men. This is documented. We know that women don’t apply for jobs unless they could tick all the ten different requirements, then men will take three and say, “I can do that job.” We know this. There’s a lot of data on this.

We are socialized that way as children.

 

Know who you're talking to. Don't go in blind. Click To Tweet

 

The first thing to know if you’re a senior vice president and you see another senior vice president or a vice president, you know your stuff and you see a different person quoted in the media and you go, “I could do that. Why are they talking to them? Why aren’t they talking to me?” First, I want you to question why they’re not talking to you if you are in the same role. If you’re reading an article about a topic that you are well-versed in and have an opinion on, you see who’s quoted, the first question I want you to ask is, “Why didn’t they call me?”

There had to be a phone call or an email somewhere. Why didn’t they ask me? A lot of the time, they didn’t ask you because you didn’t put yourself in the position to be asked. Reporters are super busy. Reporters now, one, there are fewer of them and they have more jobs. Meaning they used to say, “I’ll get the photographer, the sound guy, and I’ll get this.” Now, reporters have to do it all. They get a photo, a video and the audio. They do it all. There’s not a lot of time.

If they can get a good quote out of somebody, they’ll go to that person over and over again because the sound bite, what gets picked up in quotes in an article, is good so they’ll go over it. The first thing I want you to do is say, “Why didn’t they call me? They should call me,” and know that you have something to offer. Often, you might read something, and I said this in the first presentation that I was in with you, Elizabeth was like, “Who’s that guy?”

A lot of people come to me for training because they have sat in a conference or a webinar or something and they thought, “I am twice as smart as this person. Why isn’t that me up there?”

It’s all about who puts himself in that position. It also can be about what company you work for. Those two things matter. What is your position and what’s the company you work for, who do you represent? People who work for Twitter and Amazon have an easy time getting speaking engagements at conferences because people want to know what the leaders in that category do. If you work for a company that is up against Amazon or up against Twitter, you need to make sure that the reporter or the speaker, where you want to be on the conference, understands how you are juxtaposed. If you’re going to talk to Facebook, you need to talk to us too because you need a David and Goliath because that’s what makes stories interesting.

The first question is, “Why don’t they call me?” The next question is, “I want to be called.” What do you need to do? The expert sheet is a one-sheet that sometimes you have to cut and paste and put in your email, or maybe you have a PR team. If you work at a big company, go to your PR team and say, “You should be using me as a spokesperson on these topics. Here’s what I can talk about,” and serve it up to them. Basically, the expert sheet is who am I, with an interesting bio, not a boring bio. You can share how you make an interesting bio because when they read like a resume, most bios are like, “Blah, blah, blah.” You have to make it interesting and use great words like, “Noted expert on.”

Your mother notes you. It’s fine. It’s good. Then what are you experts in? For my expert sheet, I’m an expert on crisis communications, social media, and strategic marketing. I’ve written two books on building positive work cultures, intergenerational work teams, personal branding, and working women. Those are the things I want to talk about. That’s where I have a lot of credibility. The industries that I’ve worked in are video games, food and bev, consumer lifestyle, nonprofit and board management. If you are a reporter, now Skippy has to do a recall.

Skippy, the peanut butter, we’re talking about?

Yes, they have a foreign object. A piece of steel has been found in several of their jars of peanut butter. They have to do a recall. They’re recalling about 200,000 jars of peanut butter. Crisis communication, I’ve already been called twice about, “What should you do if you have to do a recall?” That’s crisis communications and food right there. You have to also put in how do people reach you, your email, phone number, website, LinkedIn and Twitter. You must have a Twitter address.

 

SWGR 105 | Media Recognized Expert

Media Recognized Expert: Reporters only want to talk to experts.

 

I know that women particularly don’t want to be on Twitter. You don’t have to engage in the trolling and the crap on Twitter, but the more you’re on Twitter, the easier you’ll be found by reporters because every reporter has a Twitter handle because they’re required. They get compensated. They rise up themselves when they build their own brand as a journalist, and Twitter’s the easiest way to do it. It’s a one-sheet that says, “Here’s who I am, what I’m an expert in, what industries can I talk about, and here’s how you find me.” That’s what you need. You could also make this as a Google doc like, “Here’s my link to my expert sheet if you need it and pull some things out.”

Do you call it an expert sheet? I like that.

I call it an expert sheet because it puts the word expert upfront, and reporters only want to talk to experts. What I’d love to talk to is a newbie. They might want to talk to a newbie. If you talk to a newbie in the business, you’re always going to talk to an expert too. Someone higher up the chain, always.

Say it’s a radio or TV interview, it’s maybe a maximum of three minutes. How do you figure out what to talk to? How do you keep it under three minutes?

The first piece is you’re an expert in those things but you’re going to decide what is your point of view on a few things? If you work for a company and you’re announcing a product or you’re in the middle of a controversy or whatever, first, you want to decide what is relevant now? This expert sheet is evergreen. You’re always working in a moment in time or something’s relevant and timely.

Particularly on television, it’s going to be relevant and timely because it’s hard to get that’s not irrelevant, then it’s irrelevant and it doesn’t matter. What’s relevant and timely? If you think about the people who have been thrust into the television and radio media and print and online in the last few years, so many doctors look into this. They’re over here and they go, “It’s bad.”

No screen presence, whatsoever.

You never see those people again. They find somebody new. What is relevant about now? It means that in your industry, it could be only three publications that would ever matter. If three publications matter, it is industry-worthy. It is setting some agenda.

Here’s the thing is when you have been quoted in the media, you become somebody within your company to be recognized, which helps your career and prepares you for the next career. That helps you get the speaking gigs within your industry, things like that.

 

Be concise and relevant. Click To Tweet

 

It builds to gravitas. It’s a calling card. If you’re at a certain level and you want to go somewhere else, the more you are findable as an expert in the industry, not just in your company, the more options you will have and the more everything, title, compensation, where you live, the whole thing.

Continuing with reporters, for instance, you had a wonderful list of dos and don’ts for an interview. Let’s talk about that. There were a lot of them, I know. The top things not to do and the top three things to do, maybe.

Let’s start with what not to do. Don’t lie ever.

Don’t lie. You will always get caught.

If you don’t know the answer, say, “I don’t know the answer. I’ll get back to you.” Feel comfortable. Just because you’re an expert doesn’t mean you need to know everything. Know who you’re talking to. Don’t go in blind. Don’t go in like, “I have no idea who’s calling me in ten minutes.” You want to know who’s talking to you. Do they have an agenda? What publication are they from? What television show are they from because that will tell you a lot. Do they work for Fox or do they work for MSNBC? That’s going to tell you a lot about who’s going to call you.

For them, it’s all about who their listeners are. Who are you talking to? Who are their listeners?

Who do they have to satisfy? That’s the whole piece. The other piece is to avoid talking in negative quotes. It’s instead of saying no or bashing somebody else. Although there is a lot of drama, there are a lot of performative interviews that go on, once you start doing that, you will not do that.

You’ll always be the person who bashes someone.

You’ll always be the basher.

 

SWGR 105 | Media Recognized Expert

Media Recognized Expert: The first thing you need to do is write the expert sheet.

 

That’s not good for women either.

I was about to say that. Men who bash get away with it much easier than women who bash because all of the misogynistic labels come out, “She’s a B. She’s aggressive,” but you still play into it. Be positive. Focus on yourself, not anybody else. Be prepared. You’re going to go in and say, “I’m talking to Joe. We’re talking about X. What could be sensitive? What’s controversial? Nothing. What could he ask me about?” If you don’t know the answer, say, “I don’t know the answer to that but I will find out for you.”

What if they are coming in planning to trap you?

If they’re coming in planning to trap you, you decide if you want to do it or not. There’s nothing that says you have to go to an interview, “Was not available for comment. Did not respond to the email.” Someone decided they weren’t going to show up because they didn’t see a win. Not all media interviews are wins. The vast majority in business, of interviews but not the things we see on political news or that stuff, but the vast majority of media are not about what’s happening with COVID or what’s happening in Ukraine.

They are about industry, trade, what’s going on, how do you deal with it. The biggest thing you can talk about right now is how you deal with the supply chain and how you do with talent. Those two things are the biggest thing across the board. If you have a point of view on talent or supply chain that impacts a business and an industry, you got something to say, “Are you solving it? How are you solving it? What did you do instead? What do you use instead? How are you keeping people? What was the problem? How did you solve it?” That’s the vast majority of media. Not necessarily what you do when you turn on the television and watch the news.

That’s very helpful. If you’re positioning yourself as a resource, are there any particular questions we should watch out for or when the reporter says, “Tell me about yourself,” and it’s because they haven’t done their homework? I get that in podcasts and as a podcast guest a lot.

If we’re talking about television, it’s different because it’s live, or you may not know how they’re going to edit it. If it’s an interview over the phone or in-person or even over a Zoom, that’s not recorded to be used as video, don’t waste time. When someone says, “Tell me about yourself.” “I live half the time in Austria and I live half the time in Seattle. I do this and I do that.” No, start with, “I’m here to talk about X and this is why.” Concise and relevant. You asked me a question like, “Who would you want to be talked to?” I gave you the relevance of like, “I’m going to tell you who this person is and this is why it’s interesting. Who is that person but why would I even think about her because I have this background.” If I had only said Catherine of Siena, you’d be like, “Who the heck? What?”

A degree in Medieval History, having studied the Black Death, the effect of the plague on a society, that gives you things to talk about.

Yes. It’s like, “I’m Lee Caraher. I’ve been in this business for a long time. What I’m here to talk about is I’m very concerned about X, Y or Z, or I’m very excited about A, B or C. There are three things going on that no one seems to be talking about but I think you should. Here’s an opportunity to talk about it.” Tee up your conversation.

 

When you have something to say, say it out loud. Click To Tweet

 

That’s a great phrase. I don’t hear people talking about this and I think it’s important.

Tee up the conversation as opposed to, “I was born in New Jersey and now I live in Wisconsin.”

Lee, I think I might have to sit down and listen to you for several hours, but I don’t have that much of this, so where could somebody start? If they’ve already said, “I want to be called,” where do you start?

The first thing I want you to do is I want you to write that expert sheet. What are you an expert in? Where can you provide interesting, relevant information that is actionable for the people who matter to you in your industry, your community, whatever it is that you want to talk about? Then I want you to identify five newspapers, news outlets, magazines, trade publications, whatever it is, where you think that you care about for what you want to talk about.

In my business, if you want to talk about the evolution of public relations, it’s PR week, it’s Ad Age, it’s New York Times or Wall Street. Write those publications down. Do five. No one ever does five. They gave me fifteen. Identify the reporters at those publications. We focus on publications here that write about your topic. You’d go to the publication and search for your company, your competitors, your industry, and the topics you are doing something on. In that publication, you will identify who matters. If you don’t know what publications matter, do it from Google and do it by topic. See who shows up on top and the reporters under the News. I click over to the News and see who shows up on top.

Now, you’ve written experts. You’ve identified five publications and identified up to twenty people amongst those five publications who might be a good context for you, and people who would be interested in talking to you because you’re an expert in the field they have written about before. The easiest thing to do if you don’t have a piece of news but you want to be used for commentary is to go person by person and see what they’ve written about that’s relevant to you in the last twelve months.

Elizabeth, you’ve written seven different stories about speaking, and how speaking is changing so much and what happened during COVID. You’ve talked to these people. You know who you’re talking to. Then you’re going to write an email and your subject head is going to say, “Expert available on this topic.” Put it right there in the subject line because reporters keep their emails and they sort them. When they need an expert, they go into their email and they use the search part, expert plus speaking. They see what shows up in their email first because those people are already in their emails faster. They’re looking for speed. “Expert at X is available for commentary or whatever,” something like that.

Introduce yourself. I’d be the reporter here, “Hello, Lee. I’ve enjoyed reading the last four articles about XYZ. I am an expert in BBC. Here’s my title and my job. I thought you might be interested in a different point of view on some things, regardless. I’m very happy to talk to you about these things at your convenience.” They’re probably going to ignore you. Don’t worry about it, but the fact that you know who the heck they are, you gave it to them in a way and the subject line is so important. Not only introduction or hi, none of that. “Expert on X available for commentary,” or if you have news, we call it trend jacking.

The pieces of steel in the peanut butter jars.

SWGR 105 | Media Recognized Expert

Media Recognized Expert: If they don’t respond, don’t get offended. It’s a long process.

 

You could say, “Deep experience in a foreign object in food available for commentary.” Foreign object and food are what that is when something that doesn’t belong in the food item is in the food item. That’s called foreign object, and anyone covering this topic will know that’s what it’s called, or you could say recalls. Since I’m a communications person, I can talk about what’s the process? What do you do to make sure everyone’s safe? How do you regain trust in the consumer who has now purchased something that they have to return to the store? All those things.

What should a store do if I’m talking to a trade retail publication? What should a store do? How do you prepare the people at the grocery store to receive 200,000 jars of peanut butter back? The introduction email is not a timely thing. It’s a very specific thing that is targeted from you to that one reporter based on what they’ve read. This is why it takes so long. This is why people hire agencies like ours because it is a lot of work. You can’t do it. That’s why I asked you to only find five because you can start with five then you can build.

If it’s timely, this foreign object thing shows up. This is when you’ve already identified the five publications and you decide, “Who is going to be the most useful at all of those five who might write about this topic?” You write it in, “Expert in the topic.” For me, “Foreign object food, available for commentary,” then you put a little thing in there. The same thing, “This is who I am. Hi, I know you’ve spoken about this in the past. I see this issue around the peanut butter recall. I do have experience in two peanut butter recalls, and here’s who I am. Here’s my company. Here’s what I could talk about if you’re interested. Happy to be of help,” and send it out.

If they don’t respond, do not get offended. It is a long process. In our world, sometimes we announce new products, and it happened to one of my team members. We had announced a product in October 2022 and the publication we wanted, which is really simple, they emailed back few months later. They found us because it’s going to be spring. The flavor is spring-like and they know us because we’ve talked to them a lot. They just searched, “I know I talked to somebody. There it is. There’s the email. Can you send me some of that?” That was a few months later.

Lee, it’s such a delight to have you on the show. Thank you so much. That’s so much useful news. Go look her up, Lee Caraher. I would echo what you were saying about it taking time. Hire an agency or hire someone to help because when I think about how long it would take me to do something and what I charge per hour, it makes so much more sense to pay someone to do it for me.

It will elevate you. You need to know when you’re doing this work of media relations, it is a long-tail process. There’s a lot of work that goes into this. That’s why I want when you’re doing it yourself, get a limit so that you can do something because it’s overwhelming. If you do hire a firm, you can hire a firm to get you started too. We have a program that’s called Get On The Map that does all this stuff, “Here’s your message. Here’s your story. Here’s your stuff.” Other agencies do this too and they tell you how to do it, or they can do it for you. That’s why big companies or even small companies hire people and agencies like us because it’s a lot of work. It’s incredibly high touch. There’s not very much automation in our work because it’s so individual.

It’s all about relationships.

The person changes. Many people have lost their jobs and have turned into freelancers but you can do this. Please hear from me. One, you have something to say. Say that you have something to say. Say it out loud. Two, you can do it one publication at a time or one reporter at a time, but it’s a long tail.

Once you’re mentioned, you can always remind everybody.

Once you’re mentioned, then you want to amplify the crap out of that on LinkedIn and on Twitter. Surely, once you are mentioned then twice, you will find out you’ll be asked more because reporters, A) Can find you, and B) They know you’re willing to have a conversation. The worst thing for investigative reporters, they’ll dig deep for months and months to find beef, but most reporters aren’t doing that. It’s all about time.

Lee, thank you so very much for being a guest on the show. It’s great to have you. Everybody, pay attention to this. If you’ve been reading, go back. We’ve got all these sorts of information about Lee. Thank you. This has been Speakers Who Get Results. I’m Elizabeth Bachman, your host. Let me remind you that if you’re curious about your presentation skills and where you’re strong, especially if you’re ready to get in the intervention in the media, you can take our free four-minute quiz at SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. That’s where we can find out where you are strong in your presentation skills, and where perhaps a little bit of support could get you the recognition you need, the results you need, and the recognition you deserve. Thank you very much, Lee Caraher. I’ll see you on the next one.

Thanks for having me.

 

Important Links

 

About Lee Caraher

SWGR 105 | Media Recognized ExpertLee McEnany Caraher is the founder and CEO of Double Forte, a national independent Public Relations and Strategic Communication agency headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in New York and Eau Claire, WI. An acclaimed communication strategist, Lee is known for her practical solutions to big problems. Her company works with some of the top consumer lifestyle, digital life, and wine brands in the country at many stages from startups to mid-cap public, private and B-Corp companies.

Lee has a reputation for building cohesive, high producing teams who get a lot done well and have fun at the same time. She is a straight talker who doesn’t hold too many punches, although she does her best to be pleasant about it. Her big laugh and sense of humor have gotten her out of a lot of trouble.

She is the author of Millennials & Management based on her experience with epically failing and then succeeding at retaining Millennials in her business. Her second book, The Boomerang Principle: Inspiring Lifetime Loyalty From Employees provides a practical guide to building positive, high performing workplaces. She started her career in communications in Boston and then moved to California, working with high profile and groundbreaking companies along the way.

She moved to the Bay Area in 1995 to serve as the Vice President of Corporate and Consumer Communications at the $1.6 Billion SEGA of America. She then served as Executive Vice President of The Weber Group and Founder and President of Red Whistle Communications, both Interpublic companies. Lee is active in the community and currently serves on the Executive Committee for Farm Technology Days, and on the Public Advocates Board of Governors.

Previously Lee served as vice chair of the Board of KQED Public Media, Executive Committee for the Grace Cathedral Board of Trustees, Chair of the Board for Community Gatepath, Menlo College’s Board of Trustees, The Board of Directors for The Marine Mammal Center, and was the founding Chair of the Board for the St. Paul’s Choir School. She consults with other non-profits on effective board organization and practices.
A graduate of Carleton College, with a degree in Medieval History, which she finds useful every day, Lee lives in Western Wisconsin. She splits her time between San Francisco, New York and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.