Some of the best media opportunities come from reading the news, and staying on top of current affairs.

This was certainly the case this week when I appeared on CNBC Asia Squawk Box to talk about Australian CEOs failing to embrace LinkedIn and Twitter, and why this is a missed opportunity to not only engage with stakeholders but to restore trust in a brand.

While you might think media opportunities like CNBC Asia or Sky News aren’t even in the realm of possibility for you, think again! You just need to know how to leverage a story and pitch how your expertise can address the issue.

Let me tell you how I did it, so you can do it too.

Piggy-back the news agenda
Recently, the Australian Financial Review published a story by Tony Boyd titled CEOs fail to embrace LinkedIn, Twitter, which investigated Australian CEOs “understanding of one of the most powerful business-related paradigm shifts in the 21st century” and the reasons behind why they aren’t embracing social media.

I have spent many hours speaking to leaders about social media, writing articles and doing media interviews on this topic.

So I knew I could add to the debate and provide valuable information which would help CEOs and their businesses.

Picking an outlet
No matter how good your story is it is important that you pitch it to the right media. There is no point pitching a story about business standards to Marie Claire magazine – they are never going to run it!

When consider who to contact regarding why CEOs need to embrace social media, I turned to a media outlet which I knew CEOs regularly watched and respected – CNBC Asia.

Previous interviewees on Squawk Box have included ANZ CEO, Mike Smith; Goldman Sachs Asia Pacific Managing Director, Timothy Moe; Morgan Stanley Managing Director, Jonathan Garner; and

EY CEO, Mark Weinberger. This was my audience – this is who I needed to share my story with.

The Pitch
Often I pitch myself, but in this case I was out of the office so my team drafted a tailored pitch to CNBC Asia which clearly demonstrated what I could speak about and why my message was important to be heard.

The key elements of the pitch where:

  • Reference to the AFR article
  • Outlining why I was a credible spokesperson on this topic
  • Why the current opinion of CEOs is wrong
  • A position on the issue
  • An outline of what I could speak about

Here is the pitch:

This week there was an article in AFR about Australia’s leading CEOs failing to embrace LinkedIn and Twitter, which has lead to questions about “their understanding of one of the most powerful business-related paradigm shifts in the 21st century”.

I thought CNBC Squawk Box might be interested in speaking with Catriona Pollard, social media expert and author of From Unknown To Expert, about why this is a missed opportunity for CEOs to not only engage with stakeholders, but to restore trust in a brand.

According to the article the “most common excuse from CEOs for not being on Twitter or becoming an influencer on LinkedIn is they see it as being narcissistic”.

Catriona believes CEOs need to look past this self-doubt and embrace their experience and expertise.

She says, CEOs who share valuable knowledge are the ones who create stronger, more authentic relationships with people both inside and outside the organisation. By building their profile on social media, senior leaders can open the doors to new opportunities, not only for their business but themselves.

According to Catriona, consumers are turning to social media for answers and businesses (and their representatives) need to be where their customers are if they are going to engage with customers and be successful.

In an interview, Catriona can discuss why Australian CEOs joining social media is about adding business value not ego-building, grandstanding.

She can also explain why CEOs need to rethink their perception of social media if they want to stay relevant in today’s market and the future.

We emailed the pitch to a news producer on CNBC Asia, and they replied asking for more information – they needed to be convinced. We sent them more information, and then they agreed and emailed interview times.

Preparing for the interview
Securing the interview was great, however preparing for the interview was the most important thing. In the lead up I drafted a list of potential questions I thought the journalists might ask and constructed possible answers.

With the audience in mind and focusing on my clear objectives, I also wrote a key set of messages to put across in the interview. You will note, throughout the interview, I continually refer back to these key messages in my answers.

Lucky I did, because the interview was not what we pitched. Watch the interview and you’ll see they asked the same question in several different ways, to get me to say what they wanted me to say! I stayed composed and stuck to my key messages. The preparation certainly helped.

I also researched a number of CEO LinkedIn and Twitter profiles and prepared a list of example which I could reference in the interview to demonstrate why LinkedIn and Twitter were essential for CEOs.

If you are keen to check them out, this list included:

I also looked at a number of international profiles, including Richard Branson (Virgin), Meg Whitman (Hewlett-Packard), T. Boone Pickens (BP Capital), Jeff Immelt (GE), and Mark Hurd (Oracle).

Securing the interview on CNBC Asia Squawk Box was a fantastic opportunity, which came about from staying on top of current affairs, embracing my expertise and knowing I had something to say that could help CEOs and Australian businesses.

The media loves experts and thought leaders. You too can secure fabulous media coverage like this - so pitch yourself today.

For more real life examples of pitches that have lead to millions of dollars of media coverage - get your copy of the Unknown To Expert Acceleration Pack.

Fast track your journey from unknown to a recognised expert and thought leader! Buy Catriona’s book From Unknown To Expert: How to use clever PR and social media to become a recognised expert. Accelerate your personal brand with the Unknown To Expert Acceleration Pack, packed with media lists, blogger lists, blog posts and media releases formats which have generated millions of dollars in coverage, more than 73 templates and so much more.

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