Your “IT” Factor – Why Media Interviews Matter With Lisa Simone Richards

by | Feb 16, 2023 | Podcasts

SWGR | Media Interviews

 

Media Interviews are an efficient tool to help bring your brand to the public. By getting yourself and your offers out there, you can significantly improve your impact and potentially tap great opportunities. In this episode, Lisa Simone Richards shares the power of media interviews in brand building and how they can help you get that “IT” factor. She shares her experience as a publicist who helps healthcare practitioners, doctors, and other professionals become regular guest experts on television and other major media channels. Lisa also discusses how media actually works and how to niche yourself according to what recruiters are looking for. Tune in now and learn how to increase your visibility and target the right audience.

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Your “IT” Factor – Why Media Interviews Matter With Lisa Simone Richards

Before I get into the conversation with our guest, I’d like to invite you to see how your presentation skills are doing by taking our free four-minute assessment at SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. That’s where you can see 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.

My guest is public relations specialist, Lisa Simone Richards. Lisa is based in Canada but works with clients mostly in North America. One of the things that I wanted to ask her was how you can use PR to appear on television, in magazines, and on the radio, why it matters, and how you find the time to do it. It’s worth investing a little bit of time so that once you want to do it, you can do it at a moment’s notice. Being in the media, you have to be ready at a moment’s notice, but if you take a little time to prepare, you can do that.

Lisa Simone Richards is a publicist, working mostly for doctors and health professionals these days but has spent many years with various brands in the fitness and fashion industry. She helps subject matter experts become regular guest experts on TV, top-rated podcasts, and other major media. After working with her, Lisa’s clients are recognized as industry-thought leaders and can add an extra comma to their annual revenue and increase the IT factor of a sold-out personal brand. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to ask Lisa about this. She’s good at helping you position yourself as the expert, which is the best way to be visible and valued.

Lisa’s brand experience includes Virgin Mobile, Staples, Crayola, and more. She gives consummate experts access to the same PR strategies that international multimillion-dollar companies are using to scale their businesses. Her clients often start by getting press on national media, including Fox, NBC, Forbes Magazine, and more during their first 30 days of working with her. On weekends, you can find her playing in the kitchen with her husband, petting all the dogs in the park, and watching way too many fashion styling videos on YouTube. I had a delightful conversation with Lisa Simone Richards.

Lisa Simone Richards, welcome to the show.

Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited for our conversation.

We met and I said, “I got to get her on the show. It’s going to be fun.” Before I dive into the many useful things you have to say, let me ask you, if you were going to interview somebody who’s no longer with us, who would it be, what would you ask them, and who should be listening? Who have you always wanted to have a conversation with?

It’s someone that’s very relevant to the moment. The person that would be for me is Princess Diana, especially with everything going on with the book releases and the Netflix shows right now.

We’re having this conversation in January 2023 and Prince Harry has released a book about more or less why he left the Royal Family and there’s a Netflix deal and so forth. If you don’t follow the Royal Family of Britain, that’s what it’s about.

The royal theme is top of mind right now. It was interesting watching The Crown and seeing Diana’s version of events fictionalized, but it’d be very interesting to have a conversation with her.

That’s very interesting. Certainly, she knew a lot about publicity, the good, and the bad. Would you have taken her as a client with all the things we know about her now?

No. I like PR that’s relatively chill. I will acknowledge I’m very good at crisis communications, but it’s not the fuel I want to be running on all day.

You’ve done a lot in the fashion space, and pop culture. You’ve also been working mostly with doctors or specialists. This relates to anybody who is a subject matter expert. One of the smart things you’ve done is position yourself with a niche, which doesn’t mean you don’t work with other people. Talk a little bit about choosing a niche and whom to talk to. For those of you in corporate jobs who are reading, this will be relevant, so stay with us.

If you say, “I can help anyone,” then it’s hard for people to place, “She’s good with anyone.” The truth is a lot of the work that all of us do could probably support so many people. When we niche ourselves in a specific way, it makes it so much easier for someone to identify, “I could work with her,” or it makes it so much easier for someone to refer me. They’re like, “Lisa, I know you work with doctors. I know this doctor who’s looking for X, Y, and Z.” It’s easy to connect me with them. There’s always the positioning of whom I work with and what I do, but on the backend, I have a lot of different brands coming my way and asking for support that I work with. It may not be publicized, but that is what’s happening.

When we niche ourselves in a specific position, it makes it so much easier for someone to identify if we are the person they need. Share on X

Part of what I find with my clients, especially the high-level women in corporate is having a PR agent first of all, saves you time, getting on the media, getting out there, and being heard. Knowing what to say is one thing, but finding the gigs is time-consuming. Having someone who specializes in that is very important.

It’s great to have someone who can understand what your end goal is when it comes to visibility, whether you’re looking to get in front of an audience that’s going to buy from you or you’re looking to gain established credibility and position yourself as an authority and an expert so that you’re commanding respect. It’s nice to have an understanding of what that intention is so that somebody like me is able to say, “If this is the desired result that you want from the outcome, here are my recommendations. This is where it makes sense for you to be seen and the message you deliver so that we can create that result that you’re intentionally putting yourself out there to create.”

Talk more about the value of actively positioning yourself as an authority.

We have to remember the psychological that goes along with it. Think about when you’re looking to try a new restaurant or maybe you’re looking at purchasing something. If you log onto the website or you see on a storefront, “As seen on NBC, Fox, Forbes,” or whatever those logos might be without even seeing the news piece or an article, psychologically you’re like, “If this person got featured in these places, they must know what they’re talking about because Forbes isn’t going to feature a nobody or somebody who doesn’t know what they’re discussing.”

You’re talking about Forbes, the international business magazine?

Yes. Having those as seen on logos is something that automatically positions you. It’s something that within a few seconds, it changes the way that people perceive you. I can always remember when I first started my business in 2015. My mother is my biggest cheerleader in the world, but she was very much like, “Lisa, maybe you should go get your Master’s degree. You should work for another job first.” I got featured in a magazine for my business. It was a four-page spread. I did a shoot with a photographer.

When I gave her that magazine, that was the moment that she was like, “She can do this.” Not that she didn’t know that. My mom is fully aware of my education and the clients that I worked with in the past, but there was something about that tangible moment for her to see that created that belief. When you can do the same thing for yourself, always think about what is the other person going to see or think. That’s a quick way to create that shift in how you are perceived.

That’s very important for the strategy part of visibility. It’s raising your visibility to show your value, because there’s nothing like getting printed in a respected online source and then sharing it to make your colleagues go, “Lisa in the Harvard Business Review. I didn’t know she knew all that.”

One thing that I find even more interesting beyond how other people see when you get featured somewhere, is the confidence that you have in yourself when you see that magazine spread or on television. A lot of the time we might take our own gifts for granted, but when we see it from that third-party perspective, it’s like, “I do know what I’m talking about. I did do a great interview.” There’s also not only that external shift but an internal one as well.

That’s very important. That’s one of the reasons why if you work with a professional, they can say, ” this is awesome.” I’ve got various people that I work with and sometimes I’ll say, “Is this a thing? Should I be talking about that?” They go, “Yes. There’s nobody else talking about this. You should be talking about this.” That’s the other thing is to learn to be aware or notice, this might be something worth talking about. The more you do it, the more you can do it for yourself, and then say, “I should do an episode about that,” for instance. From your point of view, why it’s worth working with a PR expert if you have a job?

A lot of the time, we’re looking to move up the corporate ladder. One thing that happens to a lot of my clients is they start off by proactively looking for opportunities, but how cool is it when things reactively fall in your lap? Let’s say you’re speaking on a stage in your industry about your subject matter expertise or maybe you’re talking about it on a podcast and somebody else sees that. That could be a job opportunity opening up for you because somebody wants to chat with you after.

We’re usually looking to move up the corporate ladder by proactively looking for opportunities. But imagine how great it would be when things fall reactively in your lap? That’s what media interviews can do for you. Share on X

Talking from a media perspective, I had clients who got on television and it’s a national show, and a radio producer was watching it. That radio producer called the office later and asked them to come on the radio show. A magazine editor saw that segment as well and called the office and asked the client if they could write an article for their magazine. Those came to them. They didn’t have to do anything for it. By extension of that, it amplified the number of people who saw them and the logos they had backing them. Putting yourself out there for these opportunities also has things reactively fall in your lap as well.

You don’t have to spend time looking for opportunities once you’ve built up enough momentum.

If I can come back to that because I even think about my own career speaking on stages across Canada and the States. From 2017 through 2019, I spent a lot of time looking up the right stages and applying to speak at various events. Sometimes I wouldn’t get to the main stage and maybe I’d get a fireside chat. Fast forward to around 2020 and 2021, I wasn’t doing the applications anymore. I had relationships and people were coming to me saying, “Lisa, this is our event. Are you available to speak? This is what the rate is.” It’s nice to have that come to you.

One of my favorite ways of finding places to speak is talking to other speakers or the people we’ve made relationships. Talk a little bit about the value of those relationships and how you find the right opportunities.

You never know who knows someone who knows somebody else, especially if you’re speaking on a stage and they’re speaking on a stage, you’re all probably doing similar events as well. To be able to have that warm introduction to a meeting planner, rather than having to pitch to them from scratch is so powerful when someone can do a casual conversation, “There’s this event coming up. You should chat with Lisa.” It’s being able to be in the green room before you step on stage and connect with the other speakers, follow them on social media, add them on LinkedIn, and keep the conversation going long after you’ve stepped off the stage.

SWGR | Media Interviews

Media Interviews: You never know who knows someone who knows somebody else.

 

Thinking back to July 2022 when I was in Los Angeles speaking, there are contacts that I met at an event and we are chatting on Instagram. They’re mentioning things that could be a good opportunity for me. It’s so cool to see from those 45 minutes of interaction with three other individuals, a couple of months ago, we are still talking and sharing.

That’s great. I always say that the best resource for speaking gigs is other speakers.

I do my research to find what could be relevant and it’s so amazing that they know events and mention things I’ve never come across before. How awesome is it that you’re building your own presence on stage, getting in front of a new audience, or meeting the meeting planners, but also connecting with the other speakers as well? All of that is in exchange for 45 or 60 minutes of your time.

It’s probably a good time to point out that if you want to get from the director or senior director to vice president or C-level, you have to position yourself as a strategic thinker. Most people can get up to director more or less through skill and ability, but then you have to position yourself as a leader and a strategic thinker. That’s when speaking outside your organization is one of the best ways of doing it.

Especially, when other people can see you. Imagine one of your competitors is watching you speak on stage. That almost makes you a little more valuable to your current employer knowing that a competitor is watching and might want to poach you. It gives the incentive to hang on to you. We’re talking to people who are entrepreneurs versus running their own companies, but if you were to hire a life coach and had the budget, would you hire Tony Robbins or Joe Blow around the corner? You probably want to go for the person who has a bigger presence and is well-known. Think about doing your own internal branding that way as well.

SWGR | Media Interviews

Media Interviews: Imagine one of your competitors is watching you speak on stage. It almost makes you a little more valuable to your current employer knowing that a competitor might want to poach you.

 

People often come to me and say, “I can talk about what I do at the office, but I’m passionate about this problem. My industry needs to pay attention to this problem. How do I get out and speak about that?” which is some of the most fun stuff to work on. That’s where you start building your thought leadership. I get a subject matter expert.

That’s exactly what I was going to say. It shows that you’re not just somebody who knows how to do a job, you’re somebody who is forward-thinking, anticipates, and sees trends, and that’s valuable.

That’s what you need at the higher levels. One of the things that you can do is say it if you know that you’re being thought of as a worker. I had a wonderful client who worked for a major manufacturing company, a very famous brand. As she was one of the few women in the tech space, she was always being asked to come and speak as a woman at tech things. She is a strategic thinker and she wasn’t seen that way.

When she started out, she would do the speech, but she would start it by saying, “You invited me here because of my tech skills and because I do all of this stuff, but I’m a strategic thinker, so I’m going to talk about the strategic thinking behind this.” One of the board members heard that speech and called the CEO and say, “Did you know that Priya was talking about all of this? She’s very impressive.” With a recommendation from the board, she got that promotion.

That’s such a powerful story.

You talked about the ABCs of publicity. What are they?

This is where it comes back to intention. We started to talk about this a little bit at the beginning of our conversation. Anytime I work with a client, I want to understand what is the purpose of getting this visibility. It’s fantastic to be seen and it’s nice to collect the as seen on logos, but what is the end game? It comes down typically to A, B, or C and I’m sure the readers could find themselves in one of these three. I’m willing to bet which one most of them are going to fall into.

A stands for building Awareness. A lot of the time, for entrepreneurs, when they want to get in front of their ideal client or the person who’s going to hire them, this is when the person that you want to work with needs to know about you and that you exist because you can’t be the best kept secret. B stands for Buzz. Let’s say a movie’s coming out. You don’t hear about the movie once. It is all over the place.

The actors are on Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood. When somebody’s probably in a new relationship or broke up, there is a buzz going around that has everyone talking about it. It’s probably why I came up with Princess Diana as the answer at the beginning of this conversation because there’s so much buzz.

C stands for credibility. This is where a lot of the readers are going to find value. Credibility is when you want to get into the same room as the experts, the mentors, and the coaches that you have hired. You want to be seen at that level. This is now where you’re paying attention within your industry and be one of those names. You want to be Tony Robbins or whatever that name might be.

SWGR | Media Interviews

Media Interviews: Credibility is getting into the same room as the experts, mentors, and coaches you have hired. You want to be seen at that level.

 

This is where it’s going to be maybe a trade publication. Let’s say you’re a director of marketing and you’re looking at a marketing magazine or marketing conference. It’s not getting in front of the consumer, but you’re building your credibility, your thought leadership, and your expert status by being featured in these places.

When we were setting up this interview, you were talking about industry awards. I mentioned it to a client who said, “Yes, but I can’t nominate myself,” or can you?

It certainly depends on the award that’s being presented. There are some you can present yourself for. You could also nudge a colleague or somebody else you know in the industry to ask if they would be willing to nominate you. There are other awards that are going to be voted on by the consumers, not typically in this conversation that you and I are having, but there are different ways to approach it. I’m willing to bet that anybody in an industry probably has 1 or 2 colleagues that they could nudge and ask if they could put their name forward for them.

How do you do that without being that obnoxious bragging person?

Is it really bragging to acknowledge that we’re good at something? It all comes from the approach. Many times, we’re working on being humble, but we can put our hands up and say, “I’m good at that and I’d love to be highlighted for it.” I will pat myself on the back and not so-humble brag and say, ” I’m amazing at getting people on television.” People I work with, within 30 days will do their first segment, and some of my clients have done 60 segments without having been on television before. I might put myself out for some publicity award because I can help more people when people know that I exist and I’m good at that skill. There’s a way that we can frame it.

You mentioned being on television, which takes me to the next question I had for you. How can you find the time to be ready when there’s a trending topic and you are the person who should be speaking? How do you take people through this?

Let’s say you work in marketing, pharmaceuticals, or whatever your industry is, something that I like to do is go on Google, type in the word of that industry and when you get the results, it’ll show shopping, images, video, news, etc. I click on the newsfeed and see what’s the conversation in this industry. Something that’s interesting, especially from a television perspective is that producers, the people behind the cameras or behind the scenes are planning what you’re watching on television. They have a lot of FOMO.

What’s FOMO for our international readers?

It’s Fear of Missing Out. I have a friend who was a producer and an on-air reporter for a television show. She shared with me that they would have their post-episode meetings. Let’s say she worked for ABC. They would be in their production meeting and the executive producer would be like, “ABC was talking about this. How come we didn’t cover it?”

When you can see, “This is a trending topic in the industry,” I’ll go to a television producer and be like, “A lot of people are talking about XYZ. I thought on this station and I could bring it here with a different spin.” That gets their wheels going like, “There’s a conversation happening. We’re behind it. Someone’s here to bring us a different perspective.” That’s my hack for coming up with something newsworthy that’s going to get their attention.

Can you pre-write things or your talking points and then adapt them when something comes up?

I often think about newsworthy content versus evergreen content. When it’s evergreen, it’s a little bit easier to have those points already mapped out and talk about the same content over and over again. When it’s something that’s a little more newsworthy, it’s digging back to that evergreen content and seeing what you can tie in because some principles are always going to be relevant.

The other thing I would want to say when we are talking about television, depending on what television show you are going for, we have to remember that television has more of a general audience. Let’s say you’re going for a morning news show versus a podcast that’s very specific with a specific listener in mind. If one of my clients says to me, “I like to be on morning television talking about workouts for new moms,” which could fly, but I have to be like, “Remember, we’re eliminating 50% of the audience as soon as we make it about moms.” We also have to think about based on who’s paying attention to this medium so we’re giving them content that is going to be relevant to their audience.

That’s where I’m going to want help. I don’t know if anybody else reading this is the person who thinks about the perfect thing to say a few days after stories left the publicity. I need someone like you who’s paying attention. How about the time it takes to be ready for something like this?

What’s interesting about the media is that they’re not necessarily working with the best person in any area. They’re working with a person who is two things that my mother always asked me never to be. They’re working with the person who is the fastest and the easiest. If you respond to emails quickly like, “If you have a question, feel free to text me.” If you’re that person who’s super resourceful and can send them sources, they are going to work with you.

The media doesn’t necessarily work with the best person in a particular area. They're working with someone who is the easiest and the fastest. Share on X

There’s a resource out there called Help A Reporter Out or HARO, for those people who may not be familiar with it. With HARO, they send out queries from reporters who are looking for experts to codify their stories. “We need a quote from a doctor or a CEO on this subject.” Some people will spend so much time thinking about what the right answer to say is and I’m always like, “Be the first person to respond to that.” You can come up with something better later, but they’re not going to go through hundreds of responses to see which the best one is. One of the first five people who responds to them is probably the person who’s going to get that opportunity.

Be fast and be easy. Those are the most important things. Once you get in, then you have some time to be a little more thoughtful with what content you’re going to provide in your answers. Don’t spend too much time thinking about the content first because the opportunity can pass along to not necessarily someone who’s better than you, but somebody who is faster.

This is where I would delegate somebody to pay attention to this for me so that I don’t have to deal with it because I have a business to run and work in an organization. I’m in meetings all day, every day, all week, but if you’ve got someone who’s paying attention who can then ping you and say, “You should be talking about this.”

I did this with a client not too long ago who talks about why companies aren’t updating their technical resources. We had the whole mess with Southwest Airlines. Again, it’s January 2023 and Southwest Airlines had their systems crashed during the holiday travel season. I got my client out there to talk about that because she’s got good things to say about it. I said, “You should be talking about this.” Every once in a while, I’m the person that has an idea and usually for somebody else.

Let me ask you another question about building your credibility. People want to say, “I’ve heard of her somewhere.” What else can we do in terms of building credibility without spending too much time if we are working seven days a week and probably getting our actual work done on the weekends because we’re in meetings all the time? How can you shorten the process?

How I might reverse-engineer that is I would start by thinking, “Where could I get featured that would instantly create credibility for me? What is the publication, the podcast, the stage, the newspaper, or whatever it might be?” Let’s say for somebody in business, that could be Harvard Business Review or Forbes. I would go onto those websites and narrow down what this section would make the most sense for me.

We know if we go on Forbes.com, for example, there are small businesses, women in business, marketing, and different other areas. Narrow down which one of those sections would make the most sense for you. Click on that section and open it up and you’re going to see a list of articles that have come out. Scan through the names on that and see if there’s one name that keeps showing up over and over again. Maybe there’s one person who’s authored four articles on that page. That gives you a hint that this is a person who has the ins to get me in on this site. Let me see if I can figure out how to contact them and give them an idea for a story that would be the fastest way of reverse engineer it.

For something like this, this is where you want to take the time to focus on your long-term results because it’s so easy to open up your email first thing in the morning, and then spend the whole day dealing with other people’s asks and requests. This is why I hire people to help me with this. It’s only when someone’s sitting there across from me or sitting there on Zoom to say, “What do you want to do?” That’s the only thing that makes me do that, but that’s me. I’m an Olympic class procrastinator, so I don’t do anything without accountability.

We all have our systems. For me, I’ve got to get things done before I check emails, or else, I’m going to be putting out other files all day versus starting off intentionally with what is planned for that day.

One of the things that I try to do is reserve a two-hour session where I am working on a long-term something with my phone off and I’m not on Wi-Fi or at least with the email program is off. If I’m on Wi-Fi researching, I don’t have the email open because once I do that, I’m lost. Lisa, this has been so interesting. If somebody wants to get more publicity and wants to get help, what’s the first thing we can do or the first action we can take?

The first thing I would say is always going back to the ABCs of visibility as we talked about, and getting clear on the intention.

Those are Awareness, Buzz, and Credibility.

Get crystal clear on what the point of visibility is. I used to work in the fitness industry. I was doing PR for a fitness company. I ended up becoming a trainer and an instructor, but that’s beside the point. It’s very interesting that I’ll have so many studio owners come to me and want to work with me. They’ll say, “Lisa, I have a gym and I work with people who are going to the gym for the first time.” Women who are going for the first time, for example. “I would love to be featured in strong muscle, fitness, or hardcore bodybuilding magazines.”

When getting on media interviews, be crystal clear on the point of visibility you want to achieve. Share on X

I have to share with them, “If you get featured there, that’s going to build your credibility, but it’s not going to satisfy your objective of getting people who are going to the gym for the first time. Someone who’s going to the gym for the first time is not reading a hardcore muscle-building magazine. They may be going through shape or something a little gentler like that.” That’s an example of someone who could get visibility, but it wouldn’t serve the purpose. Getting clear on that intention is always the first thing because you can get the visibility but not get the result.

Lisa, it’s wonderful having you here on the show. Thank you very much. This has been very useful for me. It’s given me notes of things I need to do for my visibility. Thank you for joining us.

Thank you so much. I hope that everyone reading this knows, even if you’re working inside of an organization, amplify yourself, position yourself, and get seen as that subject matter expert. If you love your job, stay, but who knows what else might come falling out of the sky at you too.

SWGR | Media Interviews

Media Interviews: Amplify and position yourself even when working inside an organization. Get seen as a subject-matter expert. Nobody knows what else might come falling out of the sky at you just by doing this.

 

If you enjoyed this conversation, please tell your friends and rate us on Apple Podcasts. That’s the one that matters. You could follow us on YouTube. I’ll see you on the next one.

 

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About Lisa Simone Richards

SWGR | Media InterviewsLisa Simone Richards is a publicist for doctors and health professionals who want to become regular guest experts on TV, top-rated podcasts, and other major media. After working with her, Lisa’s clients are recognized as industry thought leaders, add an extra comma to their annual revenue, and increase their ‘IT’ factor with a sold-out brand. With brand experience including Virgin Mobile, Staples, Crayola, and more, she gives consummate experts access to the same PR strategies that international, multi-million companies are using to scale their businesses. Her clients often start getting press on national media including FOX, NBC, Forbes and more during their first 30 days of working with her. On weekends you can find her playing in the kitchen with her husband, petting ALL the dogs in the park, and watching way too many fashion styling videos on YouTube.