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Street Cred in the Media World

streetcred

I recently presented to a group of bloggers in Vancouver who wanted media coverage. Like many, this group has a particular challenge in the area of demonstrating credibility.

This is a big challenge to overcome when you’re trying to get the media’s attention – a challenge anyone – blogger or business – would have. Unfortunately, many behind the scenes in journalism have a natural skepticism. It’s important that an editor, producer or publisher know that the material they’re putting out there is credible. A writer or interviewee that turns out to be a crackpot or fake will reflect badly on that medium and can compromise its reputation.

So if you are interested in writing a column or guest blog, or being interviewed as an expert, you want to make sure that you focus at least part of your pitch on demonstrating your credibility.

This can be done in three ways:
1. Education/degrees. Would you go to a dentist that didn’t have any formal education? That might not seem as relevant if you are pitching yourself as an expert about fashion, but even in that scenario, someone who has any kind of education behind them will stand out above someone pitching the same topic without that background. Highlight this in your pitch.

2. Personal experience. There are many authorities that are only called experts due to the experience they have, rather than formal education. Think of parents, travellers or athletes. It’s the years of experience behind them that makes a difference, rather than having sat in a classroom or written a test. If this is what’s giving you your street cred, emphasize it.

3. Previous appearance in media. Rather than reaching for the larger media (network TV stations, daily newspapers, etc.) from the start, look first to smaller players like community papers or free magazines you can often find outside supermarkets. Getting into these will allow you to start to build a media page. You can then use a link to that page in a media pitch, and the recipient can use it to determine how credible you sound. The fact that another media outlet used your content raises you a couple of notches as an authority, and makes it easier for another media outlet to make the decision to contact you.

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