Being born and raised in the UK, is to grow up in an environment that doesn’t like to see people show off. British culture is very much rooted in humility and not making grand declarations that will draw too much attention to oneself. It’s OK to be great but don’t be too loud about your greatness. From a very early age I realised that that wasn’t quite making sense even if I couldn’t quite work out why. I’m Nigerian, Yoruba specifically, inherently we are a proud and vibrant people. We celebrate ourselves and each other boldly and so to be born in a country where that is frowned upon (unless of course you’re a sportsperson who has won a medal for the nation) is challenging. To make it more difficult is the constant knowledge that there are unspoken rules which dictate who is allowed to be boastful and who must always be “know their place”. It was clear and never really hidden that anti-black racism and discrimination and working class prejudice were going to be barriers not only to progress and entry to certain spaces but also to my confidence as a Black woman in the UK.
Joyful Black woman – photography by Prince Akachi via Unsplash
I grew up watching Black Hollywood or as I call it Amerinollywood films and content from the US in which Black women were given space to boldly declare their greatness. I grew up on Nollywood films and Nigerian music videos in which women were highly visible and never hidden. So seeing that and knowing intrinsically what I was capable of, I have often felt boxed in as a Black woman in the UK; like the environment in which I am living, though home, wants to contain me but not necessarily let me shine beyond a certain point. When I first started my business I was extremely gregarious, I knew what I wanted to accomplish and where I wanted to go. I was so full of ideas and energy and light, light that I think has been dimmed slightly along the way but I often find new ways of reigniting that light . I know I am not alone in this feeling I have often had conversations with other Black women in my network who have wondered whether their best bet is to leave this country. From my own personal experience the constant questions about what I’m doing, why I’m so active on certain social media platforms, why I’m so intentional about self-promotion have always to me come across as another way to remind me of my place in this society. This is not to say that there are not extremely successful Black women in the UK, but if you look around how many of them are allowed to take up space at anyone given time. In fact I would argue that by allowing this one at a time unspoken rule it not only gives the impression that the UK is “meritocracy” (this is not the case, hard work is not enough) but it makes those of us who are not given a spotlight despite being good at what we do, question whether we’re good enough and so continuing to “work twice as hard” even though we are more than good enough. As someone who proudly represents Black business owners, mainly but not exclusively women, I am a champion of ensuring that Black women receive their proverbial flowers. I am also an advocate for not waiting for those flowers to be given to you:
As a Black woman in this country you have to have a strong sense of self. You must rate yourself and give yourself your flowers otherwise you’ll be bamboozled and led astray.
By nature I am a confident person but the environment and society which I have been raised in made me question that confidence many times, I am not necessarily someone who requires a vast amount of attention to validate me in fact I do not require external validation to know what I am capable of. I have the humility of someone who knows that nothing in life is promised and this world is tough but I have the confidence to know that I can overcome – not immediately and not easily but I can overcome. I am not modest about my talents; I know that I am gifted, multi-faceted and that I do not wish to be contained to the limitations of society. I want all Black girls and Black women who read this to know that they do not have to be modest about their talents and gifts either. It’s absolutely OK to admit that you’re proud of yourself and even if you’re the only one in this moment who recognises it make sure you pat yourself on the back and give yourself the credit that you deserve. So many of us have been conditioned to downplay our achievements and accept the crumbs of opportunity that this country offers us when in fact we deserve more than crumbs we deserve the entire cake with tea.
I have highlighted how to prepare for a media interview a few times on this site and on my YouTube Channel and wanted to drill down on a major mistake that people make when they undertake a media interview.
Many people get very excited about the possibility of being featured by the press, particularly popular mainstream media outlets with, what is often perceived as having, wide reach. There is a reason why I have mentioned perceived here – but I will come back to this point further on in this piece. The excitement is justified and often quickly dampened by nerves or fear which is why preparation is essential – there are plenty of videos, blogs and courses that you can find which can help you with your media training needs. As an entrepreneur or professional who has been invited to speak on behalf of a business brand or for your expertise & personal brand – media training is essential.
But once you have undertaken media training or at least prepped for your interview what is the biggest mistake you can make when you undertake a media interview?
Not understanding the media itself. Undertaking an interview without understanding the dynamics and layers of media that exist means that you are not only limiting the impact of your message but you’re also misunderstanding the strategic value of media placements as a whole.
The PESO (Paid Earned Shared Owned) model illustrates the broad scope of the media. It’s not as simple as simply being featured on something and leaving it to chance or anticipating that because a platform has a large following or is well known that it will immediately make a difference to your reputation and brand positioning. There is a perception that being featured on a big media platform like the BBC or CNN for example will automatically reach your core audience but if you do not understand the media or understand the people you want to reach (customers/clients/stakeholders) then being featured by one of these media outlets will have little impact on your long term goals. By understanding different types of media and aligning your media relations strategy with your overall business strategy you might find that it makes more sense to focus your efforts on niche, targeted media or in fact building your owned media catalogue of content. If you don’t understand how earned media overlaps with shared media you might find that you’re not taking into consideration how your words (audio/written) will be shared or how you can share your interview/feature for your own content creation purposes. Media exposure is great but it is really only as good as your strategy otherwise it is an ego-driven exercise for vanity metrics.
PR tip of the day: When it comes to media relations think about the audiences you want to reach when positioning yourself to the media. It’s great for vanity metrics if you get a mainstream media placement but if who you want to reach isn’t getting the message what’s the point?
Podcasts are hot right now and they won’t be slowing down anytime soon, if you want to increase your visibility they are a fantastic way to do so. In fact according to an Infinite Dial report from 2019: The percentage of Americans who listen to online audio (defined as listening to AM/FM radio stations online and/or listening to streamed audio content available only on the internet aka) has doubled since 2012, growing from one-third of the population to two-thirds. In the UK according to a research report from Ofcom in 2019: around 7.1 million people in the UK now listen to podcasts each week. That’s one in eight people and is an increase of 24% over the past year – and more than double over the past five years.These figures reflect global trends and outside of the UK and USA podcasts have growing audiences with a wide reach to suit a variety of interests. Many small business owners and entrepreneurs focus on radio or other traditional media and sometimes neglect the lasting impact of podcasts. If you want to improve your personal brand visibility then look to engaging in the podcast space. One caveat and important thing to remember here is that visibility is nothing without credibility. While using podcast platforms to increase your visibility to your target audience always remember that your words will leave an audio-digital footprint.
Being visible is a great way to remind your audience and customers about your product or service but remember that TRUST and REPUTATION last longer. If you are credible then your audience will not only remain loyal but spread the word about your business on your behalf. pic.twitter.com/7dGqeveQ9S
Remember to always ask the important question of WHY when considering podcasts as part of your PR and comms and/or Media relations strategy. Once you have determined why you can then take the time to consider how you can use podcasts to increase your visibility. Here are 3 simple ways to increase your visibility:
Interview guesting – Podcast interviews and conversations are great ways to spotlight the important work that you do in your business and work. From my own personal experience I have been invited onto quite a few podcasts as a guest and it has been a great way to compound my expertise in my sector; it is also a great way for my prospective clients and audience base to get an understanding of what it is that I do. Remember that whatever you say will have an impact on your reputation so be mindful of this when accepting an invitation to speak on a podcast, many people underestimate the reach of podcasts and sometimes show them less respect than traditional radio which makes no sense since the output (if not necessarily the reach) is the same.
Content – Being on a podcast offers substantial content creation opportunities. I am a very big fan of re-purposing content and believe that just because you have something featured on one platform that doesn’t mean you can’t use it across the board on your own platforms, especially if you’re looking to improve your personal brand positioning – remember that you are your own brand ambassador. For example you can use an online app like Headliner to create clips from your podcast with visuals to share across social media. Sharing is key as you shouldn’t just rely on the platform to share the episode you should signal boost the episode too since it is your voice and it was your time spent sharing your voice – so make sure you share.
The above is an example of a clip I have repurposed on social media and embedded on this piece to illustrate my point, the content never really dies if it is useful!
Host your own – this requires commitment, consistency and tenacity and I would only really recommend it if you or your organisation takes the time to consider the benefits and long term impact. You may not get immediate audience ratings but podcasts are a great way to reach your audience and consumer/client base if you create something relevant and on the pulse. You can of course create a podcast based on your own interests outside of business or work but much like anything you will need to be consistent if you have aims for it to grow into something else. For instance if it is the case that you want to pivot into the media or do more public speaking or get advertising/sponsorship deals it is important to keep track of listener figures and reach and have a targeted approach to the way in which you market the podcast. I would recommend booking a course on podcasting or at least paying attention to the industry at large just to see what tactics are used and how you can differentiate yourself from others. Standing out will increase your visibility and in term enhance your credibility.
Remember that everything I’ve shared here requires commitment and consistency but the results will be absolutely worth it so start working on how you can incorporate podcasting into your PR and personal brand strategy sooner rather than later.