Earning Traditional Media Coverage Without Paying For Ads with Christina Nicholson
Pitching the media is tough. Afterall, you’re competing with basically anyone who has something to say. So how do you make yourself stand out? That’s what Christina Nicholson is teaching us today. She’ll cover everything from coming up with an idea to landing the media spot to converting those viewers to your audience. This one is a MUST listen.
- Pitch your story by following the “new, now, next” framework. You should be able to answer what’s new about your story, why it needs to be covered now, and what’s coming next to pitch effectively
- This is a long game. Earned media is not about immediate ROI, because earned media is forever. So think of this as a long-term investment, not a get-rich-quick scheme.
- Every time you go into an interview, you need to think of the end goal. What you want will determine not only your CTA but also what kind of media you’ll pitch.
- Christina Nicholson
- Christina on Facebook
- Christina on Instagram
- Christina on Twitter
- Christina on Linkedin
- Christina on YouTube
- Christina on TikTok
- BecomaAMediaMaven Podcast
- MediaMaven on IG
- Boomerang for Gmail
- How To Build a $1000/year Membership with Jay Clouse
- Media Mentoring Program
Joe Casabona: Pitching media is tough. After all, you’re competing with basically anyone who has something to say. So how do you make yourself stand out among a bunch of pitches? That’s what Christina Nicholson is teaching us today. And she’s the one to do it. After all, she is the media maven. I saw her speak at Podcast Movement a few years ago, and I am so excited to have her on the show.
She’s going to tell us everything from coming up with a good idea to actually writing pitches that win you media spots to converting those viewers to people in your audience. This one is a must-listen. And look for these top takeaways, how to pitch yourself by following the new, now, next framework, understanding that earned media is not about immediate ROI because earned media is forever, and how to goal set, not just to determine your call to action, but also what type of media you’re going to pitch.
Christina drops a lot of fantastic advice on us in this episode, and I just found myself nodding my head in agreement the whole time. So I know you’re going to love this episode, there’s a lot of resources, so definitely head over to the show notes, which you can find over at howibuilt.it/318. That’s howibuilt.it/318. Thanks so much for listening. Now let’s get into the intro, and then the interview.
Intro: Hey everybody, and welcome to How I Built It, the podcast where you get free coaching calls from successful creators. Each week you get actionable advice on how you can build a better content business to increase revenue and establish yourself as an authority. I’m your host Joe Casabona. Now let’s get to it.
Joe Casabona: All right, I am here with Christina Nicholson. She’s the owner of Media Maven. And I am so excited to have her on the show because I saw her speak at Podcast Movement a few years ago. What we’re going to talk about is earning traditional media coverage without paying for ads, something I think a lot of creators struggle with. So Christina, thanks so much for coming on the show.
Christina Nicholson: Thank you for having me, Joe. And thanks for watching me at Podcast Movement. I feel like that was forever ago. I was pregnant with my third child and he is now three.
Joe Casabona: Were you really? Oh, wow. First of all, as a gentleman, I never make that assumption at any stage of the pregnancy.
Christina Nicholson: Smart. Smart.
Joe Casabona: But I had no idea.
Christina Nicholson: You’re kind.
Joe Casabona: Thank you. At that time… What was that? 2019 I guess?
Christina Nicholson: Yeah, yeah, 2019.
Joe Casabona: I had one. And then in several months’ time, we would find out we were having our second. We bookended the pandemic with children.
Christina Nicholson: Yeah, well, I mean-
Joe Casabona: So you know, it’s fun. Well, thanks so much for coming on the show. I want to talk to you about this. Because first of all, I feel like pitching post-pandemic has gotten harder, right? I think a lot more people are doing it. Also, I get so many bad pitches that I actually commissioned an illustrator to make this graphic that’s like “the seven bad pitch archetypes” that I’ll share. I haven’t shared. I had it done last summer and I haven’t done anything with it yet. I just liked it. But there’s just so many bad pitches out there.
So the first thing I want to cover because I’m a podcaster, you have newsroom experience, how does the newsroom operate? Can I just like email email@example.com and be like, “Hey, I want to talk about podcasting”?
Christina Nicholson: You can. But just be aware that you are one of tens of thousands of people emailing that same email address. And they’re going to sometimes be like, “Okay, well, what is podcasting? Why do you want to talk about podcasting?” You’re gonna need a little bit more in there to get that pitch accepted. But yeah, that really is how it’s done. You just need to be a little bit more strategic about it.
Joe Casabona: Interesting. So I guess my first question is, what’s the likelihood that you’ll get a response?
Christina Nicholson: Most of the time you won’t get a response. Most of the time you won’t get a response. Very rarely will you get somebody to respond and say no and tell you why it’s a no. Like, if you get that you should be very grateful because that’s a learning lesson. And then very rarely will you get a yes. Earning media is competitive. If it were easy, we would all be in the media all the time, and it would not lend to you gaining authority and credibility. Like that’s why you get so much authority and credibility when you earn media exposure because it is competitive.
And that’s why this is a long-term game. A lot of people want to hire PR for a month or two because they think they’re saving money by doing it. But really you’re not doing anything. It’s like doing SEO for a month or two. That stuff takes time. It’s competitive.
You have to think about the way you purchase things. And the way you purchase things nine times out of ten it’s because you saw somebody multiple times and multiple places over a period of time. And it’s really just about being top of mind that when somebody is ready to work with you, they already know all about you, they already know, like, and trust you because they’ve seen you in a variety of places.
Joe Casabona: That’s really interesting. And I like this because it builds on… I’ve had a couple of PR people on the show in the past one is Brittney Lynn, who-
Christina Nicholson: I know her.
Joe Casabona: Oh, yeah She’s so nice. She helped me out with a little branding stuff. We were talking about her experience getting like Pat Flynn on to TV. And she basically says like the topic needs to be in the zeitgeist or something interesting. And we specifically talked about how podcasting, at least back then—so this is like a couple years ago—podcasting was viewed as almost competitive to traditional news, so maybe that wouldn’t be a good topic to pitch. How do you come up with an idea for the pitch? Is it just like, “I know this topic and so I’m gonna pitch this,” or is it like you need to keep an eye on what they’re covering and kind of what’s happening in the world?
Christina Nicholson: Well, first, I want to touch on what you just said about podcasting being competitive to traditional news. I don’t think it is. Because if you look at a lot of podcasts, a lot of news outlets have a podcast to go along with what they’re putting on their platform. And it’s a totally different medium. With TV news, you have to be watching it at that time. With online, you’re reading. I just think it’s a different one. And I think it’s complimentary. I don’t think anybody in any media would look at a podcast as a competitor, honestly, unless it’s a fellow podcaster.
But to go back to your question about what makes a good pitch, what you should pitch, what you should put in the pitch, nine times out of ten, it is going to be our expertise. I would say for your listeners, it is 100% going to be your expertise. But this is where you have to look at your expertise and really drill down. And Joe, I’m sure you can speak to this, to the podcast pitches you get, I have a podcast myself, and I would say most of the pitches I get are so generic, that it’s like, ugh, why would like… I’ve heard this a million times before, I don’t know what my audience is going to get out of it, I don’t know what I’m going to learn.
Like, it’s somebody who is a marketing expert and they’re going to tell me how to build my business through marketing, okay, that could be a million things. That could be marketing through events. That could be marketing through Facebook ads. That could be marketing through using Pinterest organically.
So you have to get super specific. And if you don’t get super specific, you’re gonna get passed by. when you pitch your expertise, you want the podcast host to say, “Oh my gosh, I have never had this pitch before so I’m gonna book this person,” or “I don’t know about this, and I want to learn more. So I’m going to book you for this.” And that is what comes with being so specific, not just in what you’re talking about, but also put some numbers, put some stats, put some data into it.
So, for example, if you’re going to pitch about how to build a podcast, the stats about podcasting and the growth and what people do after they listen to a podcast are insane. So put some of those most recent stats into your pitch because that gives the person a reason to want to do that story now. You’re not just sharing your opinion on why this is important, you’re sharing hard data. And that will make the person receiving your pitch look at it with a whole new lens. Like, okay, this is legit, this is important now.
And then in the talking points, you want to share something that nobody has shared before. So, for example, something I do when I pitch podcasts, my talking points are how I got Amy Porterfield on headline news, how I got a start-up on the Today Show, how I turned one podcast interview into tens of thousands of dollars. Those three talking points, nobody else can pitch because those are true experiences that happened to me and I can break down how those things happened.
Joe Casabona: This is such great advice. Because, again, if you’re talking about your expertise, like you should have those numbers. You should be able to get specific. I think at least a trap I fell into when I first started making online courses was I thought I could make an online course on there’s anything I knew how to do. Right? But like you can’t. You need to be viewed as an expert in that field.
And the same thing goes for pitching, right? So like, when I pitched myself on the show, they said, “Hey, we don’t really want to talk about this topic but we want to talk about like building community. Are you up for that?” And I’m like, “No, I am not an expert. I have failed so many times trying to build a community.”
Christina Nicholson: And I would disagree with you on that though, Joe, because I feel like you could say, “Yeah, I can talk about how you can build a community through podcasting,” because you have a community of listeners. Like I really think it’s just about tweaking the messaging. Like for example, when I got Amy Porterfield on CNN, the pitch we sent, this was around May, so we were like, “Well, what’s timely now?” And the pitch we sent was a lot of people are graduating but they don’t have to go to college, they could take an online course to learn what they want to do.
And they said, Well, we like the online course angle. But instead of that, why don’t we talk about how moms can make money from home by creating their own online course. Because this was going to air the Friday before Mother’s Day. So it’s a completely different story but online course is the foundation. So like, while you’re pitching podcasting, they want to talk about community, how can you incorporate community into podcasting. It’s just a matter about getting creative. And you totally could have done it. You could have talked about community with the podcasting spin.
Joe Casabona: I like that a lot. And then it goes back to the timely bit like zeitgeist bit, too, right? You mentioned the titling before Mother’s Day. So obviously the news wants to have that nice end-of-the-news recency effect piece, right? That’s like, you know, they start with the doom and gloom, and then they have a piece that makes you feel nice so that you don’t come away from the news like hating it.
Christina Nicholson: That’s so true. And the doom and gloom, I have to tell you, even though everybody complains about it, there is a saying in news: if it bleeds, it leads. And that is because we get the ratings. Like in TV, we would have a piece of paper on the wall and it would show the ratings. And people watch that sad, depressing, disturbing stories. Like that’s just what gets ratings. And everybody wants to complain about it but that’s what they’re watching. I’d like to talk about the timely element of it all.
When I worked in Fort Myers at the CBS station, in the conference room where we had our morning meetings, there was a sign, and it said: “new, now, next”. And if you could not answer those three questions, you are not allowed to pitch your story idea. You had to say what’s new about it, why do we have to do this story now, and then what’s next. Like what are we going to end the story with?
And if you couldn’t answer those three questions, you couldn’t pitch. So I would challenge your listeners to do the same. Like if you can’t answer those three questions in a pitch, then go back and kind of tweak it so you can answer those questions, and it will make your pitch a million times better.
Joe Casabona: That’s so great. New, now, next. I love that. That’s one of the top takeaways when I do the summary for this, because it’s so true. I like “if it bleeds, it leads”. I mean, this is why… I don’t want to get too political here. But you know, the Dominion voting system lawsuits going on and all of these Fox News emails have been made public, and they’re basically like, “We need to tell our people the election was…” Like people wanted to hear that, they wanted to watch that. So it’s really interesting to kind of see, I guess, the back alley horse trading that goes on. Again, we won’t apply this to all new stations or anything like that. That’s just one-
Christina Nicholson: No. I wouldn’t call that a news station. I would call that entertainment. And they’re catering to their audience. They know their audience, and they’re catering to their audience. And I think they’re learning that you can’t say you’re a new station, and then just say whatever the hell sounds good. But people have to be smarter too. People who consume content, they’re freaking idiots, honest to God.
I did a TEDx talk a few years ago in Boca, and it was titled Fake News. It’s Your Fault. And in that talk, I talked about a lot of things. It could have been longer than seven minutes. But I use the Kardashians as an example. And I said, Next time you’re scrolling through social media and you see a post about the Kardashians, just go to the comment section. Everybody in the comment section is talking about how they’re famous for no reason, their faces, their bodies. Like it’s all hate.
But the people who are posting that, say it’s Us Weekly, when they go to their back end and look at their insights, they’re going to be like, “Oh, the Kardashians got the most engagement. Let’s keep posting about that.” They don’t care if your posts are positive or negative. They just see it’s making you react. So you control what you see by giving it attention.
Joe Casabona: I love that. I didn’t mean to bait you there but I’m glad that you kind of made that statement. I feel the same way. I’m sorry if we’re gonna lose listeners who don’t feel that way. But I’m not that sorry. Right? Because it’s true, right?
Christina Nicholson: We don’t push you anyway.
Joe Casabona: I mean, I’m like very much “I want to know the truth no matter what”. Like people will give me feedback and they’ll be like, “Sorry, if this sounds harsh.” And I’m like, I want to know if I’m wrong. I want to know the truth. I want to know. So like, don’t worry about hurting my feelings because I’d rather have my feelings hurt in the short term than feel like an idiot in the long term.
Christina Nicholson: Right. Or look like an idiot. I feel the same way. Even if I’m saying something wrong, you best tell me because then I’ll look like an idiot for longer than I need to.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, right. Have you ever seen How I Met Your Mother?
Christina Nicholson: I know of it, but I’ve never watched it. Ted is a college professor and he calls this architect and architectural chameleon except he says in architectural shameleon. And he’s like, “I’ve never said that word out loud.” It was just a really funny moment.
So back on track: new, next, now. I love this. Most pitches I get and I’m sure that you get or you’ve seen are self-promotional, right? “Jim Grandstand is the greatest baseball player ever to come out of Harvard. He has started his own company that improves people’s batting average or whatever. Do you want to have them on the show?” No, you didn’t tell me anything about how this helps my audience of creators, you just kind of told me how great you are.
Christina Nicholson: I mean, that’s an important fact but put it at the end. Put it at the end after you wowed me with your talking points.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, that’s exactly right. So how do you come up with an idea to pitch that’s not promotional?
Christina Nicholson: Well, first, you got to keep it short, sweet to the point. Because you think your inbox is full, like imagine the inboxes of people who are fielding this stuff all day, every day. And like you said, like what you said, a lot of people will start their pitches like that, and then that’s when people just tune out. Like it’s on to the next because it does look self-promotional.
Instead, I call this your unique selling point, your USP, this is what I teach in my Media Mentoring program. It’s important to have that. You have to have that. Because sometimes before writers will even pass along the questions for you to answer—this isn’t pitching this is responding to like a call for I need a quote from this person—they won’t even pass along the questions, they just want your unique selling point.
So that’s when you put that in there. Like why are you the one to talk to about this? So you have to have that. Out of all of the most amazing home run hitters, why are you the one that should answer these questions? So that’s important to have. But put it at the bottom.
At the top, you just want to get to the point quickly. Like, Listen, this is what your audience needs to hear, this is why they need to hear it, and this is how I can break down the specifics of it so they can actually walk away with something tangible. And this is why I’m the one to do it. You just need those four things. And people they want to share I think too much so they make it too long. Or they write it in such a formal way that it’s a turn-off. Stop writing press releases. Those worked great in the 70s and 80s. It’s a different time now. We need to get to the point quickly.
And we need to just answer those questions. Because it’s your job to help the podcast host do his or her job, to help the writer, the booker, the editor, the producer, whoever it is. The easier you can make their job, the more likely you are to get booked and get that attention for free.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, you don’t want to make work for them. You don’t want to make homework for them. You want to save them time having to find a piece to end a segment sometime in the next month or whatever, the next two months, whatever.
I want to dig in on a couple of these. The four things you said: the top, get to the point quickly; what they need to hear, why they need to hear it; something tangible; and why you’re the best to make that point. I’ll just say I get like a few pitches a day probably. But if they start with a bio, they’re gonna get rejected.
Christina Nicholson: And it could be amazing. You just don’t get past the bio, because it’s like, “Oh, Jesus, here we go with this person wanting me to give them a free commercial.”
Joe Casabona: Yeah. And I try to help the people out a little bit because I send them to a form like howibuilt.it/apply that asks them very pointed questions, and it tells them I’m not interested in founder stories because this is still what I get. How bla bla started this company. Like, everybody tells founder stories. I don’t want to tell founder stories.
And then like the other tell is like, what episodes did you like of the show? Like what made you want to reach out to me? Maybe not applicable with mass media because it’s like, well, I reached out to CNN or ABC because they’re CNN and ABC. But as a podcaster, I want to know why you think my show is good fit. Because I want to know what you can do for my audience. There is what’s in it for me, there’s what’s in it for my audience.
Christina Nicholson: Exactly. And that’s all it should be. But when people pitch, they’re only thinking about what’s in it for me, the person pitching. And then that’s when they get overly promotional. I once had a pitch, and it was actually a good pitch. And I don’t know if this person hired a podcast booking agency, but it wasn’t the actual person who was pitching, which by the way, we don’t care who pitches. A good pitch is a good pitch. We don’t care where it comes from. Some people think it gives them authority if they have somebody else send it. It doesn’t matter.
But this person, it was a good pitch and I booked them on the podcast. This was a couple years ago, and I did interview podcasts. I don’t anymore. But I booked them. And then from that time to before we recorded, I got maybe two emails and it was all about this person’s book. First time I’m like, “Okay, great, you know, we can talk about what’s in the book. That’s fine.
And then the email after that… And mind you I didn’t know this person. It wasn’t like we had a relationship outside of this. If we did, it would have been different. But I didn’t know this person like that. So then the second email before we record, they’re like, Oh, well, they really want to talk about their book and their book gets released on this day. So if you could release the podcast episode around this day.”
And then I was like, Okay, there’s a way to ask, but when you keep emailing me before we even record, I don’t know you like that, this person’s never even attempted to reach out to me on social and you’re like, keep emailing me and make it very clear that you like, want me to promote this book, even though that’s not my job. Like, I’m not on your marketing team. I just canceled the interview because I was annoyed by whatever PR person this person hired. I was just like, “Screw it. I’m not doing it.”
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve had the same thing. Like people have pitched and I’ve accepted, and they’re like, “Oh, by the way, we’re going to be talking about this conference and it’s this day. So the episode needs to come up before then.” I said, “Oh, that’s a sponsorship. If you want to promote your thing for a specific date, you can sponsor.” And I still had him on the show but I read in the riot act before I was like, “If you promote this conference, I will not release this interview, and we’ll just have wasted an hour of both of our times.
Christina Nicholson: And the funny thing is, is you could have had an amazing conversation with that person and they could have talked about the conference in conversation, and it would have been a non-issue. But because they came to you like they were entitled and telling you how to run your podcast, it put a bad taste in your mouth.
Joe Casabona: And then it shields up, right? If he mentioned the conference at all, I was like, “Well, I’m cutting this.” But I did just have a guest on. He talks about his book kind of a lot. But it was like, all kinds of contextual. And he never said he wants to promote it. He just kind of, Oh, I touch on this in my book.” And I’m like, “All right, let’s like mention your book explicitly now and then get it out of the way.” But it was a good interview so I’m still gonna release it.
Christina Nicholson: Yeah. And that’s how you do it. That’s how it should be done. Because obviously, you want media exposure to promote yourself and promote your brand. But you can’t lead with that. If it’s, like you said, if it’s in context, like if you’re adding something to make a point or to give value, then it makes perfect sense and it’s not going to be an issue. But when you’re just like saying it, and over and over again, to the point where it’s like, Dear God, is this like an infomercial or is this like a laid-back podcast interview? It gets to a point where it’s just like you’re trying too hard and that’s defeating the purpose because it’s not going to land with people.
Joe Casabona: Right. It feels a little desperate, right? Especially if you’re paying somebody and you’re like, “Oh, well, I’m paying this person whatever, $5,000 a month to get me on the shows, and so I’ve got to make $5,001 a month.” It feels a little bit desperate.
Christina Nicholson: Yeah. And that’s not how it works. Remember, it’s a long-term game. I hate it when people try to measure like that. Because another thing too, with earned media, that coverage lasts forever. So you don’t have to say, “Oh, I’m paying $5,000 a month, I need to get $5,000 a month.” There are podcast interviews that I have done, like from years ago, that people are still finding. And they’re investing in me from finding something four years ago.
With ads, when you stop spending money on ads, it goes away forever. But when you earn exposure, it’s going to stay there for the life of whatever platform you’re on because it is earned. So you don’t need to worry about getting your money back right away, because one media hit builds on another and then eventually, you have this snowball effect. And people will come to you.
People will say, “Hey, will you be on my podcast? Can I interview you for this?” And then you pitch less and less. You just have to start at the beginning with pitching more and more and then slowly you gain that authority and credibility that it’s not necessary for you to put much work out there. It just happens organically. So like the measuring of money incoming versus what’s going out, it’s just silly to do when it comes to public relations.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, the people who are investing in that should know that, right? It is a long-term game. It’s just like posting on social media. Like you can’t post on LinkedIn, Hey, I’m launching a course today, you should buy it. Nobody’s going to do that. But I’ve seen my follower count on LinkedIn go up pretty steadily over the last few months. I’m actually explicitly keeping track of it. So it’s increased 15% since January 1st. We’re recording on April 5th, just to timestamp this episode. That’s always a good podcast move.
So I’ve seen no one’s bought directly from me, but I know that I’m using that opportunity to establish my authority, to learn about my audience too. And PR and media is the same thing, right? You want people to know you’re an expert, so that, like you said, the seventh or eighth or fifteenth time they hear you now they’re ready to buy because they trust you.
Christina Nicholson: Exactly. It’s just like you’re building leads. It’s like right now what you mentioned what you’re doing with social media. You’re just building leads. You have to have… I mean, I think a few years ago, it was like seven to eight touchpoints to get somebody to want to buy something. I think that number is a lot higher now.
Again, it’s just about setting expectations. I feel like I do this all the time at Media Maven is set expectations, because I’ll have people who will reach out and they’ll say, “My total budget is $5,000. But I want to hire an agency to get publicity.” And it’s like, well, first of all, if you hire an agency, you’re gonna have to commit for a minimum of six months and you’re gonna pay at least $2,000 a month. At least. And even for that, you’re probably just getting like one freelancer. So already, you got $12,000 there at the very minimum if you’re going to hire an agency.
So I suggest you learn how to do it yourself. And it’s so easy to learn how to do it yourself. Like something I teach in my program is two hours a week. Just give me two hours a week, and I will tell you exactly what to do with those two hours a week. And if you don’t want to spend two hours a week, then have your VA execute it.
And I feel like there’s a problem in today’s society where people like they want the results super quick. So it’s like, Nope, I just want a PR agency for a couple months. Well, it doesn’t work like that, you’re not going to see success. This is a long-term game. And if you’re not going to spend the money doing it, you need to spend the time doing it. Like it’s one or the other to build a business. And I feel like so many people are like, Well, I want to spend a little money and no time. And it’s like, no, that’s not how business works.
And it’s a constant education and setting expectations. That it’s just like… I almost feel like I’m going crazy because it’s like, Are people not listening to me? Do people not know this? Like I’m saying this over and over and over again. Honey, I wish it works that way. I wish it was quick and easy and it costs less, and it works faster. But anything good and meaningful and strategic usually doesn’t.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. I love that. And it’s true, right? I see the same thing with sponsors. They’re like, we just want to sponsor one episode for now. And if it does well for us, then we’ll do more. And I’m like, it’s not going to do well for you. A third of my audience is going to hear it, they’re going to hear it once or skip it or forget about it. I require a minimum of four episodes, I recommend you do at least three months. And they’re like, “Well, we can’t do that.” And I’m like, “You’re gonna waste your money. It’s just not gonna work out for you. I’m not saying that as a sales tactic. I’m saying that because I know how many-
Christina Nicholson: It’s how it works.
Joe Casabona: Like how many podcast ads have you heard once, and we’re like, “I need to buy that.”
Christina Nicholson: Exactly. I do the same thing with my clients. Like I have a client that has a Med Spa in Miami, and they want to bring influencers in. And I’m like, Okay, but I don’t want an influencer to come in and be one and done. They need to come in once a month and get a treatment once a month for three, six months, so their audience and the people following them see “Oh, they got this done at that place. Oh, look.” And then literally two minutes later they’re gonna forget what they just saw.
So next month, they’re reminded, “Oh, they got this at that place,” four minutes later they’re gonna forget. Three months later, maybe the person seeing that content is in a different headspace. And I’m like, “Oh, yeah, there’s that person posting about that same thing again. Now, let me move on that because I’ve seen this person talk about this so much, and now I want to do it. So I’m going to move on it.” That is how it works.
Joe Casabona: This is why car commercials are so ubiquitous, right? Like Ford doesn’t just run a car commercial at the Super Bowl and hope for the best. They run them constantly because they don’t know when someone’s going to be ready to buy a car. But when someone’s ready to buy a car, they want to think about the F150 or the Toyota Sienna or whatever. I got the Toyota Sienna. It’s fantastic. I was anti-minivan before I got a minivan. Now I’m very pro minivan.
Christina Nicholson: Oh my gosh, we both have SUVs and my husband wanted a Honda Odyssey for whatever reason. And I was like, “No. Because what happens when I need to drive it? I am not driving a minivan.” I just don’t look cool in a minivan. And even though I know it just makes so much more sense, it’s so much more convenient for kids and especially like we have kids that play sports. But I’m like, I can’t.
Joe Casabona: That is initially how I felt buying it. And then I’m like, “We’re gonna have three cars. We’re gonna have a booster seat and two car seats.
Christina Nicholson: I know. We need the space.
Joe Casabona: And now I’m like, it’s like driving a spaceship. It’s amazing. I love it.
Christina Nicholson: And the sliding doors. I can’t even imagine.
Joe Casabona: I know. Which my kids just love. They like press the button. If my son sticks his head while closing, it stops, which is good.
Christina Nicholson: But you’re still not gonna sell me on a minivan, Joe.
Joe Casabona: No, I’m not. I’m not trying. No, I’m just excited about the minivan. We’ve talked about what to include in your pitch. You also said like most of the time you’re just not going to hear back. How do we follow up without being annoying?
Christina Nicholson: Oh, good question. And it’s funny because I just saw a tweet about this from a journalist who was like, “Listen, there are ways to follow up and then there’s not.” And this person said somebody… She’s like a health writer, and somebody sent her a pitch about something. They sent her the actual snacks and then they followed up with her and they followed up like… I think she said 26 times. At some point, if you don’t get a response, it’s going to be a no.
And this is the thing when you pitch, if we’re following the new, now, next model, that now part is going to change in a few weeks because that now part will have expired. So that really limits you to follow-up. I suggest two times in the course of two to three weeks. And if you haven’t heard back in that timeframe, then it’s time to tweak the pitch or it’s time to ping the person you’re pitching on social media and just be like, “Hey, I sent you a pitch. Haven’t heard back yet. Would love to talk to you about XYZ.” Something like that.
That’s what I did when I pitched Amy Porterfield to CNN. Because I know that their inboxes are crazy, I tweeted the host of the show, the booker, and the producer. Because nobody really knows who the booker or the producer is. Like they’re not front facing, you know and I knew they had a busy inbox and they’re more likely to pay attention to a notification on social media than they are an email in their inbox.
So I pinged them… It wasn’t even a follow-up. It was just after I pitched. I was like, “Hey, just heads up, I pitched you a story idea about this, that, and the other.” So that’s something you could do to follow up too. It doesn’t just have to be email, it can also be on social media. But I also like the email tracker, like where it tells you if somebody’s opened the email, or if they’ve clicked on an email because if they have opened it, and you have followed up twice, try a different angle, try a different pitch.
But if they haven’t opened it, then maybe move to social media or instead of replying to that email just send a whole other pitch altogether. So that’s what I would suggest. Following up too much with the same thing like, “Hey, just following up on this.” I think there’s other ways to say that. Something I use is, I just hit reply… I use Boomerang, first of all. I use the Boomerang extension in Gmail, and then it will just come back to my email if they haven’t replied. I usually set that for a week. And then I reply to that email… That’s like my reminder to follow up. You don’t have to write anything down, you don’t have to keep track of anything, it just comes back to your email.
So then I’ll reply all and I’ll say, “Just bumping this up to ensure I’m not lost in your busy inbox.” I just feel like that’s a better way to say, “Hey, just following up.” Because it could be lost in the inbox. Like sometimes I treat my inbox, and this is a terrible thing to do. But I treat my inbox as my list of things to do. Like, I will just leave it there if I have to get to that later.
Like my real list of things to do, like, Okay, I’m going to do this but I’m going to leave this here because I need to get to it later. So if somebody pitches me and I want to get to it later, then they send me an update, it’s like, Oh, thank you for the reminder because I actually was going to get back to them.
Joe Casabona: This is a good thing to cover in the How I Built It Pro I think is inbox management philosophies. Because I’m like very like inbox zero all the time.
Christina Nicholson: Oh, the way to live.
Joe Casabona: So if you want to hear that conversation, you can sign up over at howibuilt.it/pro. You’ll get ad-free extended versions of every episode, as well as a Friday members-only email on automation. So again, that’s howibuilt.it/pro. It’s just five bucks a month or 50 bucks a year. I paid more than five bucks for a coffee recently and it hurt me physically. But this will last a long day.
Christina Nicholson: That’s nothing. Oh my God, that’s nothing, especially when you think about like just the automation portion of it. Like think about how much time you’re saving people by getting all of that information. Time is money, honey. Like 50 bucks a year, that’s nothing.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, exactly. So thank you, Christina.
Christina Nicholson: You’re welcome.
Joe Casabona: So you can hear that and all of the Pro versions of the show, which I think are like the best parts to be honest.
Christina Nicholson: I’m gonna share all my secrets there later, so you better fork out some money for Joe.
Joe Casabona: Boom. Also, we’re gonna touch on your self-paced course later because I want to talk about that.
Christina Nicholson: Okay.
Joe Casabona: But I like just bumping this up and making sure it didn’t get lost in your inbox. The absolute worst follow-up, I’m gonna see if you agree with this, “Hey, can you respond to this so I can check it off my to-do list?” I don’t care about your to-do list. I care about my to-do list.”
Christina Nicholson: That one didn’t bother me so much. I have gotten that a couple of times. That one didn’t bother me so much. But yeah, I totally see your point. Like, my to-do list is to have inbox zero like Joe. So like get out of my inbox.
Joe Casabona: But again, it makes it very much about them and not about you. So just following up is… there are better ways to do that. Two times within two to three weeks. The “now” bid is important there. I like that. Because you got to create some urgency, right?
Christina Nicholson: Yeah.
Joe Casabona: It’s not like-
Christina Nicholson: You have to give them a reason to do the story now. Now, I will say when it comes to pitching podcast, this is where the now maybe isn’t as vital as every other their form of media just because a lot of podcasters batch their episodes, like you do, Joe. Like I’m recording this on April 5th, and it’s probably not gonna go live tomorrow.
Joe Casabona: As people are hearing this, if they’re listening on the day came out, it is June 12th.
Christina Nicholson: So we’re more than two months out. So if I pitch you something about like, for example, Trump getting arrested, not that I would because that’s not my expertise, but it’s going to be old news by the time this is released. But I will say something like podcasting stats, I use that example earlier, those are released like every month, and those numbers are only going up. And you can kind of share a pitch like that and then forecast for the future.
Another one that I did, this was for TV, I worked with Jessica Stansberry in my online course and she… if you’re unfamiliar with Jessica Stansberry, she is a YouTuber, she helps moms make money from home with online courses, digital products, all of the things, and she helps a lot of people with YouTube. And I was like, “Well, what you do is amazing. Like it’s super newsworthy. But how are we going to get you on TV now? Like, what talking points are we going to use?”
So we went to the Googler—the Googler is your friend—and we searched moms making money from home and we looked at recent news stories about it. And we found this recent study that said four out of ten women in the home are the breadwinners. So it’s like perfect. That’s like your hard stat. That is why we need to do this story now. And you teach people how to make money from home. So we use that stat because it was recent. So you can use that in a pitch.
And I don’t think something like that would age, you know, that differently a couple of months from now, it’s when you pick, you know, like Trump got arrested. That’s going to be old in a couple of months. So if you are pitching podcast specifically, that is something to keep in mind. Like you definitely want it to be timely but you don’t want it to be timely on a daily basis.
Joe Casabona: Right. I mean, to be honest, we could be reminding people right now that Trump got arrested. Like people could forget in two months’ time, right?
Christina Nicholson: That’s true. That’s true. Because Lord knows what’s gonna happen with that man, you know, in the next couple of months.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, exactly. So it’s just gonna… the new cycle happens. I mean, it feels like every major story is on kind of like a two-week cycle, right? So we get bored of it after two weeks is what it feels like. So I like the follow-up methods. And then tweak your pitch. I like that a lot, too. Because I think like too many times you just… the definition of insanity, right, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
At some point you need… I’m like, all four little experiments. So if my one pitch isn’t working, I’m gonna try something different. I’m gonna tweak the language. I’m gonna reach out on social media. I mean again, not to keep talking about LinkedIn but LinkedIn is the social network I’m focusing on right now. And I’ve made some good connections and I’ve gotten some good podcast guests from there. And I’ve landed podcast guests. opportunities from there.
Christina Nicholson: Oh, I love that. I love that. I’m trying to step up my LinkedIn game now too.
Joe Casabona: Nice.
Christina Nicholson: We’re both in The Lab with Jay Clouse and I think I said something to him on one of our calls about me looking at where I get my inbound leads from. And there’s not like one place. Like it’s all over the map. But if I had to pick one social media channel, it would be LinkedIn. So I’m kind of trying to post with a focus on LinkedIn first.
And then when it comes to my podcast, I’m posting or I’m recording, I guess, with a focus on YouTube first, and then pulling the audio and putting it on the podcast. Again, time-saving stuff. Like, let’s kill multiple birds with one stone. Just think of your goal and put that in the number one spot and then the rest can just trickle down.
Joe Casabona: I noticed that and we’re gonna go on a little side quest here before we talk about… we’ll end with—this is a very YouTube thing to do—we’ll end with what to do with the publicity you just earned. But I did notice this… And I wrote it down in my research document that I noticed you’re doing shorter episodes of your podcast. And while listening, I heard the sound effects and I was like, “Oh, this is video.” Is there a reason that you decided to do that, like do video first, do shorter episodes, things like that?
Christina Nicholson: Yeah. So when I was doing the interview show… this is actually why I stopped doing my interview show because I want just to make the videos look cooler. And I feel like it’s hard to do in an interview show because somebody’s like on Skype. You almost need them to like “set up your camera here”. We all don’t have cool studios like you do, Joe. Like you’ve got the lights and all the things. Some of us are in the corner of our bedroom, okay?
Joe Casabona: This is genuinely why I don’t have a video podcast because it’s just me and somebody else-
Christina Nicholson: No. But you got a cool setup, you could totally pull it off. And I was just thinking like I just need to do the same thing—just turn the camera on. And then I have all of this other content, and I could turn it into short-form video and put it on TikTok and Instagram reels and all of the places. It just seemed like to me such an easy tweak to make boatloads more content. So that’s why I did that. And I was like, “Listen, I was a TV reporter and anchor forever and I still act as a freelance TV host. Like, why I’m not doing YouTube and doing more video is just stupid. So that’s when I was like, Okay, let me do this.
But to be transparent, nobody watches the YouTube videos. I probably get like 40 views on a video. But I just started doing this in the beginning of 2023. So I know this stuff takes time. I know there’s a lot to learn. And I did… Jessica Stansberry I brought her up before. I am paying her for an audit. She’s going to audit my channel and all of that.
So I’m trying to step up the YouTube game. I also just like that it’s… it could be evergreen content, and it’s a search engine. It’s not like, you know, social media, where it’s like you move down the feed, and then like, a week later nobody will see it. So I like that aspect of it too.
Joe Casabona: Absolutely. It’s like a lot less ephemeral. I had a guest on the show, say like, a tweet has a life span of like 21 minutes.
Christina Nicholson: It used to. Not anymore. It’s because now they change the algorithm. So they last a little bit longer. But then we got the whole Twitter drama with Elon, and there’s… Who knows what’s going on there?
Joe Casabona: Yeah, if you’re using Twitter blue, it last 18 hours. It’s less more than four hours.
Christina Nicholson: And it changes every day. Like they’re always changing their algorithm. That’s why I understand social media is such a beneficial place to like be, but it’s like so hard to rely on it because it’s out of your control.
Joe Casabona: I feel like this is like the new I’m a vegan… Sorry, if you’re vegan. I left Twitter. I feel like how do you know when someone left Twitter? Like they tell you they left Twitter. But I left Twitter when they killed third-party apps because like they changed the algorithm and I just started seeing more stuff that aggravated me and I realized, like, I don’t really care about people’s ephemeral thoughts again. Ephemeral is like apparently a million-dollar word that, dear listener, means like transient or short-term. It’s just like a thing that happens very quickly and then goes away. I said that somebody recently and they’re like, “What’s that?” And I’m like, “Oh, sorry.”
Christina Nicholson: Joe and his big word.
Joe Casabona: My toxic trait is I need everybody to know I’m the smart… like I’m super smart. Like, I need people to know that.
Christina Nicholson: You’re so smart.
Joe Casabona: Thank you. Thank you. But when I left Twitter, I was worried, right? I’m like, am I leaving theoretical money on the table? Am I leaving relationships behind? I would reliably be able to tweet like, Oh, a sponsorship just opened up for next month? Does anybody want it? And like it would get filled.
Christina Nicholson: Oh.
Joe Casabona: Same thing happened on LinkedIn recently. So I’m feeling pretty good about it. But I was a little worried about that so far. So like several months in so far, so good. I haven’t felt the pull to go back.
Christina Nicholson: And then not to like undo everything I just said. But when it comes to earning profit from your publicity, like after you earn it, you have to share it on social media. Like if you don’t share it on social media, that will hurt you, honestly. I have had members of the media tell me, We’re not going to cover your client anymore because they didn’t share the last few pieces of coverage we gave them on social media. This is like so important.
I don’t know about you, Joe. But I know when I had guests on my podcast, if I brought them on, and they were a guest on my podcast, and they didn’t share it with their audience, I would be like, “That’s so freakin’ rude. I just gave you 30 minutes to talk all about yourself and what you do, plug you and your business and you can’t even give me the common courtesy of saying, ‘Hey, here’s a link, Listen to me on Christina’s podcast.'” Like, it blew my mind.
Not only is it rude to the person giving you the coverage, but it’s dumb for you because other people who follow you will be like, “Oh, look, that person is written about in this article, that person is covered on TV, that person was a guest on this podcast. They’re legit because they got there.” Like it only increases your authority and credibility.
So not only is it disrespectful to the person giving you the coverage and it will not help you getting more coverage but it’s also just a dumb PR move on your part because that’s content that somebody else created to promote you. It blows my mind. That’s the biggest mistake people make after they earn coverage. And that’s the thing that they have to do. The more you do it and the more you tag the journalist or the outlet or the podcast host and they see you doing it, they are so much more likely to go back to you.
Joe Casabona: That makes perfect sense. And yes, all guests get an email automatically the day that the episode is published. This is like a little WordPress plug-in that I wrote because in a previous life I was a developer-
Christina Nicholson: He’s so smart. Joe is so smart, people.
Joe Casabona: Thank you. Thank you for that totally unprompted compliment. I’m gonna edit out the previous part. You’ll get an email saying like, “Hey, the episode’s live. I would love and appreciate if you shared it. Here’s the link.” I used to get upset if they didn’t. And now I’m just like, well, like 25… I’ve been doing this long enough to know that like about 25% of my guests share.
Christina Nicholson: And you make it so easy for them. You make it so easy for them. I did the same thing. Like it’s not hard, people, to copy and paste a link and say, “Hey, I was just featured here, click here to see XYZ.” It literally takes you less than a minute, and it can be life-changing for you. This is how one media hit leads to another. I can share so many examples of how it’s happened for me and my clients. It just blows my mind how many people leave money and opportunities on the table by not sharing all of their media coverage. It’s wild.
Joe Casabona: It’s social proof. Right? So follow-up question on this actually. Because like, again, I listened to like a lot of different news, politics podcasts. And that feels like a very online group of people. Journalists also feel like a very online group of people. Should I be sharing it on Twitter?
Christina Nicholson: Yes, yes. I don’t even let you finish the question because it’s yes. And then the reason it’s yes is because that’s like the journalist outlet. And I’m talking more traditional media. Podcasters, you know, they do their own thing. But when it comes to more traditional media, that’s where journalists hang out. Just because Twitter’s more of a breaking news platform.
You know, whatever you want to see what’s going on, you get on Twitter, and you’ll get it right away. Like, oh, is Instagram down? Let’s go on Twitter and check. Like who won this game last night I fell asleep. Let’s go on Twitter and check. That’s just where you see more things that are happening. So it’s just the news platform out of all of them, I would say.
Joe Casabona: Gotcha. So it sounds like if I want to do this, what I will do, here’s… Actually no, I’m going to share that in the pro show because we’re going to talk a little bit about automation, too. I want to end with… gah, what a tease.
Christina Nicholson: Five dollars a month.
Joe Casabona: Five bucks a month, and you can use Twitter without actually using Twitter. That’s what I’m gonna teach you. What do you do after you earn publicity to turn it into profit? You mentioned sharing it on social media, that creates a social proof. I find a lot of my guests… I always ask, where can people find you? And I think the best-converting ones are the ones who have a very clear call to action. And that’s my experience going on other podcasts as well. So what do you do after you earn the publicity?
Christina Nicholson: Well, you have to think every time you go into an interview of any kind, like, what is the end goal? Like, what do you want out of it? And if it’s to build email subscribers, then podcasts are probably going to be better for you. If it’s to get people to walk into your brick-and-mortar, then local media is going to be better for you. So like, you always want to go back to your goal. Like don’t get distracted by the big fancy names of the media outlets. You always have to focus on your goal and where your audience is.
But when it comes to sending people somewhere, if it is your website, where on your website? And is the URL easy? Like for example, I have a free webinar offer. The URL is mediamavenandmore/5-simple-steps-to-earn. Like it’s ridiculous. My own fault. Okay? So I bought a domain that is “earnmedianow.com.” And it will redirect you there. So that makes it so much easier to just say on a podcast interview than that ridiculous thing that I couldn’t even say because I forgot it because it was too long. So like URL domains, they’re your friend. They’re just $12 a month. Way more than paying to be in Joe x-
Joe Casabona: $12 a year.
Christina Nicholson: A year. Oh my gosh, yes. Even better. $12 a year. And so just make like some cute little short URL to drive people somewhere. Like even my main website is so long because somebody has mediamaven.com, and whenever I email them, they don’t respond. So I had to add “andmore” to the end of it. Whenever people ask for my email address, I’m like, “Okay, get ready. Are you ready? It’s a long one.”
Joe Casabona: Your pen needs up.
Christina Nicholson: But you want to make it easy. And then you also want to give people something that they want, you know. Like, if you send people to their homepage, then what are they going to do? So it’s important to have like a lead magnet, something that they would actually want that could tell people like, Okay, here’s the next step.
I also have another one, another lead magnet, that’s 16 Places That Are Accepting Contributors with pitch ideas and contact information. That URL is a little bit better. It’s a mediamavenandmore.com/contributor. But that’s still long as hell. So what did I do? I bought 16places.com. So go to 16places.com. It’s easier to remember. And then right when you get to that page, it’s like, here’s the prompt for your email and you will get this straight to you.
If you just send people to your homepage, it’s like, what are they going to do? And this is also important not just for getting leads. But if you are written about online, and you want a backlink, which this is like a big SEO tip as well, they will not just backlink to your homepage, they will backlink to something that builds on what you say.
So like Joe, if you’re talking about how to get more listeners on your podcast, and I know this from writing at Inc. Magazine for a couple of years, I’m not allowed to link to the homepage of your website because that’s too promotional. I need to link to a blog post that talks about how to get more listeners on your podcast because that adds on to the quote that I shared in that online outlet that I wrote about you in.
So you need to make sure that you’re creating content to drive people to… after you get that coverage. You got to give them like, Okay, what’s next? What’s the next step for them? And then just make it easy to find. If you have my problems with a crazy ass URL, then buy those domains for $12 a year and just make it easy for people. And it’s easy for you to remember too.
Joe Casabona: Yeah. It needs to be speakable and easy to remember, right? I’m like flabbergasted that you were able to get 16places.com.
Christina Nicholson: I know.
Joe Casabona: That feels like something that would have already been taken. Because I don’t have a crazy long domain, I have like Casabona.org and podcastliftoff.com, I usually like to do slash the host name. So I’ll do like casabona.org slash Craig or slash pat or whatever. Because then they kind of don’t need to remember the whole thing. [inaudible 00:51:26] stealing this, though, because I mean, I love domains, right? So I love buying domains.
Christina Nicholson: They can get addicting. They can get addicting. I bought the domains for all of my kids’ names.
Joe Casabona: Same.
Christina Nicholson: Except sometimes, you know, you have a kid and you’re like, Oh, somebody already has this.
Joe Casabona: Actually, while I’m thinking about this, I didn’t do it for my youngest.
Christina Nicholson: I know. I didn’t either. I didn’t either. But somebody already bought his domain and I’m like, Oh, geez, what is his gonna be? And then they both recently had an idea for children’s books. So we got them like written and used Canva to get the illustrations and I put them on Amazon. So now if you go to their names.com, it’ll just redirect to their Amazon page. And my kids are at school talking about their book. And I’m like, why just told them it’s on Amazon. And I’m like, “Honey, there’s a million things on Amazon. You got to tell them go to landandnicholson.com and it’ll take them straight there.
Joe Casabona: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. I want to be cognizant of time. But I implemented a zero-sum Domain Policy several years ago, where if I bought a new one, I’d have to let an old one expire.
Christina Nicholson: Oh, my gosh, you are addicted.
Joe Casabona: I know. Well, I had like, I don’t know, 70 domains or something like that. I’m like down to 40.
Christina Nicholson: Okay.
Joe Casabona: I mean, I had some for clients, which I don’t recommend. Like, if you do web design work, make your client buy the domain. Like you don’t want to be holding the bag for that, or whatever. Or like, if you disappear, then they are out a domain, right?
Anyway, it’s like ticked up a bit. Because I’ve had like different brand ideas or like program ideas. Like we’re both in The Lab, so you know, I’ve changed the name of my program like 14 times. So it’s ticked up a little bit. But I’m still trying to maintain that, like, maybe onesome domain. Like buy two, let one expire, or something like that. But I do love the idea of an easily speakable domain with a lead magnet based on what you talked about, right? Because people want that relevant content.
Christina Nicholson: For sure. For sure. And it just makes it easier for people to find. And they’re so inexpensive. So yeah, that’s just something to think about. Like, if you don’t have that in place yet, I would suggest like making that your homework because you want to profit off of the publicity. So you have to give people a place to go and you have to make it easy for them to go there.
Joe Casabona: I would recommend either hover.com or namecheap.com. Hover.com offers free privacy with your domains. Namecheap.com usually gives you a really good deal the first year so you’re not out. Like especially for like .fm domains are like 80 bucks. They’ll give you a good deal. And then if you don’t use it, you’re not out 80 bucks, you’re at like 30 bucks or something like that. So those are the two I recommend. Hashtag not a sponsor. Hover was one of the first sponsors of the show, but they’re not anymore.
Christina Nicholson: Joe’s just a fan.
Joe Casabona: I am. I am a fan. I stand hover. Is that what they say?
Christina Nicholson: Yeah. That’s what the kids are saying these days.
Joe Casabona: Because, see, this has been so amazing. First of all, I love your website. I went there and I love the tagline. I love the graphics. But you have a couple of offerings including a self-paced or like done-with-you offer. Is that right?
Christina Nicholson: Yeah. So I had my agency and the people were like, “Oh, well, I want this but I can’t afford it. So I’m like, Okay, well, let me just tell you what to do. So that’s how that all came about. So yeah, I have the media mentoring program. You can get that at mediamentoringprogram.com It’s just 997. You get lifetime access to the course and the Facebook group. Facebook group is my favorite part because I’m always posting media opportunities that my colleagues are working on. So you don’t even have to pitch. Just log into the Facebook group every day and see who needs a source. So there’s that.
And then also I mentioned my free masterclass. Hop in there at earnmedianow.com. I won’t share the long URL. Just go to medianow.com. You can hop in there. And then I have my podcast, Become a Media Maven, while you’re in the app, check me out there. And then on social media, I am @Christinaallday.
Joe Casabona: Nice. I love it. I will include that and everything we talked about. I think we mentioned Boomerang and Jay Clouse. All of that will be linked in the show notes over and howibuilt.it/318. You can also sign up to be a pro member over there because we’re gonna continue this conversation. But Christina, thanks for joining us today. I really appreciate it.
Christina Nicholson: Thank you, Joe. It was nice chatting.
Joe Casabona: Absolutely. And thank you for listening. And until next time, get out there and build something.