James Reed.
©Pic by Ian McIlgorm 2019
Licenced to PHA for Reed International, Global Press/PR

How to be a media commentator

A key aim of any corporate or personal PR campaign is having the public consider you a leading authority for your sector of work – be it in business, technology, fashion, sport or politics to name just a few.

This ideal can be achieved through a number of components that compliment and support each other over a sustained period of time, capable of not just informing your audience, but changing attitudes in the process.

It is a building process and doesn’t happen overnight, so here we look at the most important methods required to become a well-respected media commentator for your industry.

  1. Create a personal brand

Decide who you want to be and how you want to be perceived in the media. What do you believe in and how do you want to influence public opinion? Successful PR strategies have an established brand at their core, be it the company brand or that of the entrepreneur/spokesperson behind it. It’s vital to establish this identity early on so that all messaging referenced throughout the campaign supports this image.

If you are active on social media, your personal brand can start here, especially on Twitter and LinkedIn, the two most influential channels for content. This step is all about laying a foundation for the activity still to come, so think about it carefully but let it take over your time.

This is something we have done to great success for many clients, including Ian Baxter, owner and chairman of Baxter Freight, who we have positioned as a self-made SME champion commenting on a range of topical issues, from Russell Brand to the Migrant Crisis.

  1. Become a thought leader

Once you have established your brand, start creating informed content on topics that interest you and are relevant in your industry. These pieces can range from ‘top tips’ pieces to blogs and by-line articles, with the aim of securing coverage in the relevant national and trade press to demonstrate your proficiency while providing potential customers with valuable advice.

Quality thought-led content, in both print and online, will educate your readers, reinforce your expertise and drive readers (and customers) to your website, so it’s a vital piece of the puzzle to achieve the ultimate goal of winning new business.

For Purplebricks.com, we have worked with CEO Michael Bruce to create a wealth of well-written articles and placed these across the business, consumer and industry press, such as how to start a business with a sibling.

If you have a blog (company or personal) this is a good place to showcase your writing in the first instance, to then be shared across the social channels mentioned previously.

  1. React to the news agenda

Proactive thought leadership is key, but reactive media commentary is just as effective for establishing your reputation as an industry leader. They complement each other and you are more likely to secure national commentary opportunities with a bank of well-informed content behind you.

A key area of our success for clients is based around reacting to topical issues in the news. For instance, as we count down to the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, founder of Timebased Events, Richard Dodgson, and Events Director Jasmine Turner, were recently on CNBC and Sky News respectively – media appearances which gave them great credibility in the industry.

It’s important not to just wait for a story to break, but rather look for opportunities where your commentary may add something to the debate. Not every story will be headline news, so your input can be hugely valuable for smaller national stories that are significant in your industry.

  1. Say something unique

Once you have established your personal brand and your industry reputation, it’s important that the initial commentary used to break into the media space continues to develop over time. To keep your audience interested it’s important to explore new concepts and ideas – start making bolder claims to the extent that you are comfortable, and actively look to drive change in the wider industry.

Audiences are ruthless and they will switch off as soon as they no longer feel entertained or challenged. The best media commentators are the ones which keep their readers and listeners coming back for more through being controversial while remaining credible. This is a key aim for those striving to become a bona fide industry figurehead, and something which is very achievable with time.

Get in touch with the team