shAMA: Ask Me Anything – How to Get Media Attention and Respond to Skeptics

The next episode of shAMA: Ask Me Anything is here! In this episode, Shama talks about how to earn more media attention and respond to skeptics who think marketing is just hyping products that don’t deserve it. (Of course, it’s anything but that, as Shama explains around 1:50.) For a transcript, scroll on down.

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Full transcript:

Hi Zen Nation, Shama here. It’s time for Ask Me Anything, where I answer your questions. So let’s get started.

The first question comes from Bob McIntosh on Facebook. He asked, “What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to get on TV, aka: get more media attention?”

Well Bob, here’s what I have for you. My number one tip is make sure that it is a long game. You have to invest in building relationships with the media, with journalists. What does this mean? This means that when they call you at 5 p.m. and they say, “Hey Bob, we’ve got a story to fill for 6 p.m. and we don’t have anyone–can you do it?” you say yes.

If they come to you and say, “Hey, we’ve got a story on this, we know it’s not your exact expertise, but can you talk about this?” you say yes. When you say yes to the media, you make their life easier and in return, I promise you they will help you out whenever you need it. Really, you just have to spend that time building that relationship.

The second thing I can tell you is Newsjacking. It’s a great book by David Meerman Scott. He talked about how you can use recent news events to tie in to your product or brand to get more media attention.

So, for example, if you had anything to do with the auto industry right now you should be using Volkswagen incident to talk about branding, marketing, how that company can earn back consumer trust. That’s a huge issue right now.

If the American Heart Association comes out with new guidelines and you’re in the medical field, talk about how what you do intersects at that point with the news. So Newsjacking is a great read, and a really good thing to do to get media attention

The third thing I can tell you is make sure that you are leveraging media and sharing that across social networks. So when you get on TV, you’re sharing it with your social network, you’re putting it out there, because nothing breeds more media attention like—you guessed it—media attention.

The second question comes from Ria Singh, who is a marketing student—I love hearing from students by the way. She asked me on Facebook, she said “How do you respond to people who say marketing is evil? That marketing is really just to make products and services sound better than they are? Do you believe that marketing makes the world a better place, and if so how? Similarly, are there any evil the marketer inherently just can’t escape?”

So this is a great question coming from a student who’s studying marketing, and of course this is a question that I get a lot. People have a lot of misconceptions about marketing, and this is how I like to respond to them, Ria. You can say, “Is it evil to help people?” Most people would agree that no, it’s absolutely the opposite. It’s not evil to help people.

I think a lot of times when people say “marketing is evil,” or, you know, “advertising isn’t the best field,” what they’re really saying is being super-salesy, or being inauthentic or lying is not ideal. And let’s face it, a lot of marketing and advertising in the yesteryear—you know, you could say they did a lot of that. There was a lot of smoke and mirrors, of making things sound like they weren’t really what they were supposed to be. And it really was a buyer-beware scenario.

Today the world looks very different. In the age of social media and the digital era, that’s changed. Consumers have so much power, so it’s harder for marketing to just serve as a Band-Aid.

Good marketing connects people to the services and products they need, and it makes them aware of things they didn’t even know were out there. Remember the last time you found an app that made your life easier and you thought, “Oh my god, why didn’t I find that sooner?” That’s what good marketing does. If it’s a good product and a good service marketing amplifies it to be awesome. It’s about a good story.

If it’s an average product, that’s not going to benefit from marketing at all. In fact, it can actually hurt it. So yes, you really do have to have a good basis for marketing today to amplify what you have to offer.

So marketing is certainly not evil. Marketing done well—and by well I mean it’s relevant, it’s within context, it helps the end individual—can actually be the best thing out there. I hope that helps.

Alright guys, that’s it for today. If you have questions, be sure to ask them in the comments, or through Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin. Use the hashtag #shAMA so we can find all your questions.

Remember, Ask Me Anything comes to you every other Thursday. Until then, market like a Zen Master.


She is the founder & CEO of Zen Media. She has been named the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by Forbes, Businessweek, and Inc have all recognized her as one of the Top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs in the field of marketing. Shama has built a global audience and is known for helping brands succeed in the digital age. She is a bestselling author, an international keynote speaker, and has been named one of LinkedIn’s Top 10 Voices in Marketing for four years in a row.



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