Whether you are an expert on spa treatments, skin care trends, massage techniques or business development and management, there are many opportunities for you as a wellness professional to harness your expertise as a resource for the media. With the 24-hour news cycle, local media producing constant content, and the public’s desire for instant gratification, thought leaders who can communicate important, interesting and timely messages are in high demand.
Think about the experts in your local market (such as doctors, businesspeople, chefs, real estate agents, finance experts, etc.) who always seem to be on the news or quoted in articles. What are they doing to make themselves the media’s go-to experts, and how can you do the same?
These 10 tips will help you to position yourself as an expert resource in your local media and beyond.
1. Carve out your niche
You can’t—and shouldn’t—be everything to everyone. Pinpoint the topic or topics for which you are an expert and use them to position yourself. Don’t go too broad; you want to be and sound authentic and credible when speaking on your topics.
2. Know your story
No one else has your history or your experiences, so own it. When writing your story or that of your business, think about why it was created, your mission and vision, what the spa or wellness center is meant to do and why it’s unique. A good story is timely, impacts a large audience, contains compelling sound bites or quotes and resonates with viewers or readers.
3. Engage with the media
Journalists are pleased when they know you follow their work. I suggest retweeting, sharing or liking social media posts and, when applicable, comment with your expert thoughts to get media attention. Specifically, you should use LinkedIn to showcase your expertise and thought leadership. Keep your profile updated with your specific areas of expertise so journalists can easily identify
you and see you as credible. When others comment on your posts and stories, be timely and thoughtful in responding. Creating that dialogue is a great way to build your following.
4. Know what it means to be a resource
A dynamic spokesperson is often the difference between being included in a story or not. An effective resource must have a wide knowledge of the product or organization they represent. Yet, they must be able to speak in layman’s terms in a warm, authentic tone. Speaking in sound bites, especially while on camera, isn’t natural. Therefore, I suggest media training be part of your education system while building yourself into an expert resource.
5. Follow the news
Keep an eye on the news of the day and, when applicable, offer yourself as an expert resource to tie in with it. This even applies to national stories and trends. If mushrooms are the new go-to ingredient for health as cited by medical professionals, share that information in a pitch and tie in how your spa or wellness center uses mushroom in treatments and products. Be sure to give the “why” to back it up.
6. Write bylined articles
Publishing articles under your name is a smart way to be noticed by the media. Bylined articles include op-ed columns, letters to the editor and articles for trade publications, such as WellSpa 360. By contributing your wealth of knowledge through articles, you position yourself as a legitimate expert in the eyes of readers
and the media.
7. Reach out—even when you aren’t a fit
There may be times when you can direct journalists to breaking news or introduce a writer to specific experts in your community and industry. Use those instances as an opportunity to show that you’re tuned in to the news, connected to the industry and a great resource. Build that relationship!
8. Reply quickly
Journalists are almost always on deadline, so when they contact you, being responsive shows that you are reliable. A quick reply can be the difference between landing you coverage over a competitor who may be on the journalist’s list, too. If acting fast is an issue, consider hiring a PR professional; meeting deadlines is a huge part of being a publicist.
9. Be gracious
If you are included in a story, say thank you. Journalists talk with other journalists; if you make a good impression, you’ll be called on again. Kindness and gratitude go a long way.
10. Be a community resource
Promote your expertise by speaking in front of nonprofits, civic groups, women’s groups, etc. Consider joining associations, serving on boards and committees, and making donations to charitable fundraisers. The time you give will come back to you in spades. Plus, the more people who connect with you and your specialties, the more opportunities will come your way.
Known for her communication skills and media relationships, Debra Locker has worked in PR and journalism for nearly three decades. She is the president of Debra Locker Group (debralockergroup.com), an agency specializing in lifestyle, spa, wellness and beauty. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Locker was the PR director for the International SPA Association (ISPA), as well as a TV journalist.