#45 | Darine with Jennifer Singh on Uncover the Secrets to Unlocking Media Exposure
[00:00:00] Welcome to STANDOUT From The Crowd Podcast with your host, Darine, where we take a look inside the world of leadership. You can find us live on LinkedIn and YouTube, or on your favorite podcasting platforms. You will discover the stories of some of the brightest leaders and entrepreneurs of our time who reveal the blueprint behind their success.
[00:00:19] Join us for a thought provoking and no BS conversation, you will get the inspiration and practical steps to become the leader you were meant to be. Are you ready? Let's go.
[00:00:38] Welcome to STANDOUT From The Crowd, the first live podcast dedicated to no BS conversation on leadership. So today we are going to discuss what it takes to get media attention, to build your thought leadership, the kind of attention that will raise your visibility, influence, grow your impact and ultimately increase your revenue.
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[00:01:16] So media is a magnet for your personal brand and your business. If you're not building and leveraging your thought leadership, no one will ever know how great you are and the value that you bring to the table. Our STANDOUT guest, Jennifer Singh, is a former TV reporter, turned entrepreneur and speakers. She's now the CEO of She's Newsworthy Media where she helps women entrepreneurs land on TV so they can be seen and heard.
[00:01:45] So please help me welcome Jennifer.
[00:01:47] Hi, how are you?
[00:01:50] I'm doing wonderful. How are you doing?
[00:01:53] Good. Happy New Year.
[00:01:55] Yes. Happy New Year. Today's the 1st of February, but I was telling Jennifer just before we went live that, you know, I consider that I can wish people a happy new year, the first six months of the year, so, we're good , right?
[00:02:10] So Jennifer, thank you so much for joining us today. We are going to talk a topic that is juicy, you know, media, PR, how to get media attention. I feel like today the narrative is all around social media, but traditional media is still there and relevant, and we are going to talk all about it. But first of all, let's talk about you.
[00:02:32] I know you, you speak a lot on your Instagram and you share a lot about your professional journey, as a journalist first and what it takes, and you know, what it looked like to be a broadcast experts. So tell us a little bit more about the main factor that attracted you in the first place to start a career in the media?
[00:02:57] So I was a storyteller from the time I was eight. I loved to express my creativity through storytelling, and I actually had a really hard childhood and my parents split up when I was really young and I felt like writing was kind of a creative outlet for myself and I started, uh, you know, diving more into it, it was a way for expressing myself and thankfully I had like mentors and teachers along the way that recognized that gifted me and they encouraged me along the way. I started because I was in one of my classes, I think it was English class, and there was a bulletin on the back of the classroom that was looking for young journalist to write for a organization called Young People's Press. You work with editors and they work with younger people who are not actual journalists yet, and they edit your work for you and help you along. So I was first published at the age of 18 in the Toronto Star. So I first saw my byline. I kind of got the itch for it to keep going.
[00:03:59] So I was very much timid, I was shy, I always wanted to be a performer in some sort of sense, but never felt that I was good enough because I was told I wasn't gonna be good enough, or that somebody like me was not important of being represented. So I really was under this trajectory that I was gonna be a print reporter and TV was not for me.
[00:04:20] So that was kind of how the itch started for writing and for journalism.
[00:04:25] So, you know, and, and I'm sure many of you watching and listening to today conversation when I was younger I used to watch TV and watch the news on the tv, like the TV broadcaster. I would be a fan and I wanted to become her, like I would find her like, so beautiful, you know, so, so elegant and speaking in front of the camera, you know, like it's kind of dreamy when you are young and yet you look the news on tv. But tell us what it looks like, like from the other side, from behind the camera, what would like a typical day look like?
[00:05:01] So when I finally became a reporter, I had a couple different gigs. So I started off at Omni Television. I worked in the CBC newsroom. I've worked in the CTV newsroom as well as for CP 24 when I was working at Metrolinks. Uh, and the day is really fast paced. It is one of those industries where you have to be on all the time, and that's kind of the downfall of the industry if you're working in from a reporter or producer perspective because you actually wake up looking for problems. If you don't have a problem, you don't have a story, you don't have a hook, and you have no newscast. So you know, your brain is constantly looking for, you know, things that you could turn into a story and it's very fast paced.
[00:05:42] You normally don't get lunch. If you do have lunch, you're having it in a car, you know, driving to next location, you're writing your scripts in the car. Um, in my last position, I was, you know, my, my alarm was set for 4:15 AM and I had to be at work for five 30 every morning. And I just shared on social media that, you know, I still had to be there when there was a massive snowstorm.
[00:06:02] I, you know, had to trek there. And it was, you know, I get to work and I have to tell everybody, take transit. The roads are really bad. In the meantime, I had just, you know, risked my life to get to work, so you know, the glamor is there, and I'm not saying that every newsroom is like this, but it is a very hard job to have, and especially when you have a family.
[00:06:27] When you have a, it's very hard to juggle the hours. The off hours are the worst, am, pm, weekend, evenings, every shift in the book, and you do have to work extra hard even to be acknowledged and recognized, especially if you are a woman of color.
[00:06:42] So what was the shifting moment when you realized, okay, you know, working in the media as a journalist is no longer what I want to do, I want to transition into PR, I'm asking you the question because I know a lot of people are attracted by the media industry and a lot of people are attracted by the PR industry as well, but what was the aha moment? Did you face, a challenge that you were like, okay, it's enough, enough is enough, or that was the opposite? Did you realize that there was a gap or you could contribute in a different way to what you were passionate about?
[00:07:23] I think I just, it was a point of like I had to take control of my life and I wasn't in control of my life. And you know, we learned during the pandemic that work does not work for women, but work doesn't work for those working in news. And that was my situation. And nobody understood, you know, I was doing a three hour commute, um, you know, I was getting paid very poorly. Media is not known to be paid very well unless you're the top of the top.
[00:07:47] But I made a kind of slow transition out of it. I kind of, I developed anxiety, uh, when I was in my previous and hard news position because you're out there covering stories of murders and knocking on people's doors and being like, oh, I know your son was just shot, but I need a clip, right? Like you can't.
[00:08:06] It's like you get PTSD and trauma, right? So there's a lot of trauma. So when I moved back to the city after being out on the east coast of Canada, I actually was looking for a position where I could still be on tv and I ended up at Metrolinks, which was a transit position. And I was on CP 24, so I kind of thought I had the best of both worlds.
[00:08:24] I had the corporate PR stability, but then I was still on tv. But what happened was I was just so bored. I was honestly so bored out of my mind in that position because transit is not interesting or fascinating. It frankly isn't, I was doing it for four and a half years, and I can say that now because I'm successfully stabilized in my entrepreneurship journey, but it was, you know, , I think as well, working inside of Metrolinks, it taught me so much about how slow things move in government and in traditional PR, Public Relations and in a newsroom, you move really fast.
[00:09:00] You, you create an entire story, three interviews, and you could file that within three hours and get it to air and write the scripts and that's what really drove. So, when I was when, when I was laid off for Metrolinks, that's actually what happened. That was my third layoff in the industry. I was actually a few weeks pregnant and I said, thank God, because I'm not doing the 4:00 AM shift with, you know, being pregnant and going to all these appointments.
[00:09:23] I really realized that if my life was so difficult working in the news environment, um, when I didn't even have kids. What was it gonna be like when I did have kids? So that was kind of my, um, inclination to move to PR and I said, I want, I'm gonna make a difference. If I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do it my way.
[00:09:42] I'm gonna amplify voices, diverse voices, amplify voices of women, because as a reporter, frankly, I was tired of simply always interviewing men. You know, um, the industry and something nobody really talks about as well. There's lots of like, sexual harassment and you don't only deal with it within newsrooms, but you deal with it when you're out in the field alone interviewing other men, right?
[00:10:05] So I was like, I never wanna be in that sleazy situation, um, where people are making advances unnecessarily. And that's why that was part of the reason, honestly, I'm gonna, you know, move into this mission doing PR, helping women, but also I don't wanna work with sleazy men anymore. I really don't, right? That was kind of something I never really publicly talk about, but here you have it for the first time. Here it is.
[00:10:28] Yeah, and thank you. And I'm glad actually you are sharing this with us because it's true. I mean, We have heard obviously of the stories, you know, of women, like, uh, like and...
[00:10:40] Well, let's not name names. Let's not name names, right? No, no.
[00:10:42] But like sexual harassment and work places across.
[00:10:45] Exactly, across the world, right? Let's just say workplaces across the world.
[00:10:50] Exactly, but we have heard about it, you know, in the office, in the workplace but I never thought about it from a perspective of the journalists being out there interviewing people.
[00:11:01] So the perspective that you are bringing here is very interesting because now when I look at the news or you know, some reporters, that's something that I will keep at the back of my mind because you never know, and that's very true. So thank you for bringing that perspective to the conversation.
[00:11:18] So now you transition from the crazy and beautiful world of the media to start in PR and you were tired of interviewing men, as you said. Where does it come from this situation where we will see more men being interviewed in the media and being portrayed as expert in the industry as opposed of having a balance of men and women?
[00:11:45] So really it's a couple different things. Men have the access to the tools, the resources, and they have the relationships just like every other industry, right? Every, we can think about like the financial industry, we could think of, you know, any other industry where men are the predominant people who have those, um, who are at the top of the top.
[00:12:02] And really, I think it's one of those things as well. It's twofold. So yes, men have the connections and we could blame it on system, you know, issues, but also as a reporter, you know, for me, I was part of the problem too, because you're on deadline. If you are on deadline, you're just gonna go into the database and get the first person that you spoke to last time because you know that they're gonna give a great clip and they have been polishing their skills and they just happen to be men right?
[00:12:27] So we will know, uh, in the summer of 2020, a lot of the Canadian media newsrooms got a, like a massive racial reckoning of, you know, the lack of diversity and the experts that they are positioning, right? So there was, there's no actual, um, you know, when I was in the industry, there's no actual, nobody walks in the door and says, oh, we need to have more diverse voices.
[00:12:51] There's always, there was always that, that idea that it's kind of nice to have, but there was no action taken. And I will tell you since, you know, the issues of diversity have become more main mainstream. We have seen so many media outlets stepping up, being more inclusive. That doesn't mean that we don't have a lot more work to be done, but they are showcasing inclusive stories and they are looking for inclusive experts.
[00:13:17] I have reporters reaching out to me all the time and saying, I need a woman, or I need somebody from this community to speak about this. This is, these are practices that they may not have. Supported by management to take at the end of the day, right? It's the management who's at the top, at the top. So it's twofold, right?
[00:13:34] So we have, you know, statistics that show it's one in four women that are media experts. And that's because, you know, men have always had a headstart, but also women don't have, you know, the confidence piece. They don't have, they don't know what to say. It's a lot of mindset issues. When I was in the field, you know, and I was trying to bring women on camera and try, you know, you go to an event, you have to get, you pull somebody in for a quick clip.
[00:13:56] It was always the women that would say to me things like, well, I'm not dressed appropriately, or, I don't know what to say. Like they just had zero confidence in their ability and their expertise, but they may have just done like a keynote and you know, crushed it. Yeah. So that's kind of, you know, a combination of what we kind of need to do as women to believe in ourselves a little bit more. Know that we are the experts. I don't have to say that you're the expert, you've been doing your job for X number of years. You are an expert already. And that's, you know, we're coming back to that idea of thought leadership as well.
[00:14:28] Yeah. And, and we're gonna, we're gonna talk a little bit more in details, right after, but before, I would like to address the conversation that has been, you know, around for a couple of years now about media and how media is dead. And everyone is talking about social media, and I'm thinking about Gary Vee also who is always like, pushing, pushing and talking about social media as opposed to traditional media because people are no longer focusing their attention on traditional media, tv, newspaper, but more on social media. So what is your perspective on this topic, and why do you think still today in 2023 people and especially women, should get visible on the media?
[00:15:20] So I think first off, the media of course is a stamp of approval, right? It's a stamp of approval that your thought leadership is not just being pushed out on some social media posts. Everybody is on social media, but not everybody is in the media. And you gotta really think about that perspective. What does it take to get there?
[00:15:36] It takes a lot more than, you know, taking your social media posts and sending it to the media. You have to connect your thought leadership to the media's news cycle. And the media's news cycle is really connected to thought leadership ideas that are bigger than you and bigger than your business. So for example, if I'm gonna be doing an interview on, you know, I was interviewed by the CBC last year about employment numbers, sorry, not employment numbers.
[00:16:00] It was about an interview about should we be putting transparent should we have pay transparency on our job postings? And I have been hiring at the time, the reporter knew that, and this was something that obviously is a value of mine. So my job posting did have the pay up there. And one of the things that helped me do, I did an interview, you know, talking about the importance about that across the industry.
[00:16:26] And I will tell you that the amount of traffic that I got on that post and on my website, because I then took that interview and I amplified it and leveraged it onto social media, was more than if I had just posted on LinkedIn and said, Hey, I'm hiring for this position. So I really do think that the media is a way to be strategic.
[00:16:47] It is not the situation. I think when people say media is dead, they're thinking of the 1980s or the nineties or, or even 10 years ago, where perhaps you turn on the TV at six o'clock and you watch the news and you see an expert and you say, oh, I'm gonna hire that person. That's not really how I measure success. I measure it by the fact that you're able to leverage your thought leadership to then, you know, take your media interviews, leverage it on social media so that it can attract clients, you know, for speaking gigs, for corporate partnerships, for brand partnerships, you know, for, you know, courses into your business if you trying to get more sales for your book. I do kind of see it as that kind of funnel, and I think we have to think about it like that when we think of online marketing and online businesses right now.
[00:17:32] I like it. It's about leveraging your appearance on the media, but also, you know, like it or not, like when you are published in the newspaper or when you are interviewed in the media, it gives you more credibility.
[00:17:46] I think we still have this thought that, and it's quite accurate, that once you are being promoted or showcased in the media, it means that, oh, okay, she's serious about, she knows what she talks about, right?
[00:18:00] I Think yes, for sure but I also wanna have a caveat there because a lot of people who consume media don't understand how it actually works.
[00:18:08] So there are PR agencies like myself, and we pitch organic stories. We don't pay the media to put our experts on tv, but there's a lot of entrepreneurs that pay an agency, and it's called Pay for Play, right? You are gonna pay to get a byline in some of these big publications, and the publications should be very transparent that it is paid.
[00:18:29] So while the media can give you credibility, anybody can just pay and get a byline. So it's being really media savvy, understanding, being media literate as a consumer. So you know, many entrepreneurs want to be published and I want, I won't name the big publications because a lot of them feel like they're a bit scammy, but they're really big names.
[00:18:50] And they don't realize, to me it's a bit of a deception to your audience because for brand partnerships, we now have to say, paid brand partnership. Why is it not that you are gonna call yourself an expert and not say that you paid to get that? You know that spot, right? So, you know people are looking for credibility, but is it organic credibility or is it fake credibility at the end of the day?
[00:19:16] Yeah, that's, a very good point and I think, you know, it brings it back to your thought leadership and how you have a 360 view of your strategy. You know, because when you leverage your media and when you build up your thought leadership on LinkedIn, for example, then people when they will google they will see like your thought leadership because you would have spent time to strategically position yourself as an expert in your industry versus, you know, paying for something that maybe you haven't been communicating or positioning yourself as an expert about it for such and such years but then suddenly you are in the media.
[00:19:53] So I think also it's about, you know the windows of opportunity that we create for ourselves by continuously putting in the work to position ourself as a leader and as an expert in our industry. That's a very good point here. So now, for all the people watching us here, and I see you here people, so if you have any questions, if you have any comment, this is your time because, this is your one-time opportunity to ask Jennifer like, what you can do, what you shouldn't do, but let me ask you this question, Jennifer, I'm a woman entrepreneur, I know the answer obviously because I have been working with you.
[00:20:36] Yeah, I was gonna say, should we be transparent? Talking about transparency, I was just thinking about you're in my head and...
[00:20:43] I was on CTV, I was publishing the Globe and mail, and what I like about Jennifer approach as a PR company is that they ensure that you pitch media outlet that are relevant to what you do and that are well known and reputable, media outlet is not being everywhere, to be seen by, you know, like the people who may not have the same interest in what you do, but very strategically, yes.
[00:21:11] That being said, I'm a woman entrepreneur, I'm a woman leader, and I wanna, you know, position myself as a leader in my industry, I wanna build my thought leadership and I wanna get media attention. What should I start doing? Where should I start? Like, can you give us maybe the first few practical steps that we should take in order to be ready?
[00:21:34] Well, I think media, I think like that's actually a misconception in itself in the question, right? Like we feel like women especially feel like they have to do something in order to be ready for media. Well, there's nothing really that you have to do. You've been doing what you've, what you've been doing for years, you have been prepping.
[00:21:51] You actually have been prepping in your business if you have clients, if you have a thriving business, if you are, you know, talking about your thought leadership, even on social media, you have been prepping. But when I, um, you know, sit down and have a discovery call, my first question is, what is your big goal?
[00:22:04] I really do believe that if you are going to go into the media, w. , what is the goal? Are you trying to get more credibility to drive traffic to a course? Are you trying to build more credibility to, you know, create more leads into your funnel? So thinking about it from that spec perspective per first, because we don't wanna just market just for the sake of marketing, right?
[00:22:23] That's the first one.
[00:22:25] But then taking a look and saying, what is it that you do that is so unique from anybody else inside of your industry? So for example, someone like myself, I work specifically with women entrepreneurs to help them amplify their voice. There are tons of media people in this country and across North America, but I'm probably the only one that does specifically this..
[00:22:44] We specifically, 99% of the time pitched to television. So it's a very specific niche and thinking about what are my values and how is that connected to the media's news cycle? So you always have to say, what is my thought leadership? What is, what is different so that when I pitch that, the media is gonna say, oh yeah, that is an interesting perspective that I've never thought about.
[00:23:08] So if you are a woman entrepreneur right now, thinking ahead, looking forwards to International Women's Day, for example, taking a look to say what are the perspectives that have been left out of the conversation? What are the perspectives that are not being talked about? So we could use the pay transparency, uh, conversation as an example and say, yeah, this story has been done but what they're not talking about is, you know, while small businesses may be implementing, some small businesses can't, or scared to implement pay transparency on their postings because then it may lead to less leads coming in to grow their businesses. Therefore, women entrepreneurs can't grow.
[00:23:44] Like whatever the new angle is, that's really what you have to think. So how am I gonna position myself different from the other a hundred experts that are out there? And it's not about competition. It's about, what is gonna compliment, what's gonna compliment the conversation and what's gonna add to the conversation and staying in your lane and diving into that and not being afraid to show up and not being afraid to talk about your values and talk about transparency and talk about things that are difficult, right? Those are kind of the things, but having that confidence piece and knowing that you are ready because you've been running a business and nobody's more ready and nobody's more of an expert than you are right now.
[00:24:24] So the first piece will be then self-awareness and building the confidence about what you have been already doing. There is nothing extra that you need to do. You have been already doing it. So that would be self-awareness like and realize that yes, if you have been working like for five years, 10 years more or maybe less, you are an expert in your field because you know what you're doing, right? Hopefully, you know what you're doing, so that would be the first steps. Then maybe, you know, how do you know, like which media you should pitch? Like is there some kind of research, some kind of digging that needs to be done?
[00:25:03] Well, you'll only know who to pitch by watching the media, so looking at the content that they push out, because a lot of the media now leverages their content and pushes it out in social media as well. So I really want you to think about it in a simplified way as a career. Say you're looking for a corporate job and you're applying for jobs.
[00:25:21] You're not just gonna apply to any random company. You're gonna apply to companies that you know that you would be a fit, and you would be applying to those where you know that the values are in alignment. You're not gonna just send, well, you shouldn't. That's not a strategy. If you're on LinkedIn here listening to those, please do not apply to 100 jobs that don't fit your job description that's the fastest way to fail. So really thinking about where is my thought leadership versus, you know, I know this whole conversation of like, who's watching that audience. For example, let's say the Women in Work section of the Globe and Mail, entrepreneurs and women are gonna be reading that section, right? For sure, and they're gonna be interested. So you wanna definitely be featured. I was featured there, my business story was featured there, last year. And I cannot tell you the amount of clicks and credibility that that helped me you know amplify my thought leadership across the country, across the country, right? So yeah, it's also a really nice way to you know, especially for something like the Globe and Mail, have your story in a nutshell and have it there and it's credible and it's all there. So does that answer your question, right?
[00:26:25] It does, it does because you know, like you wanna be strategic, and I always say it, you know, like less is more.
[00:26:31] You wanna be strategic in the way you build your thought leadership, in the way you position yourself as a leader, in the way you increase your visibility. So for those of you who have been listening and watching me for a little while, this is what I'm all about. So it does, because sometimes I feel there is a confusion, you know, but, and it is kind of over of overwhelming, you know, the idea of being everywhere at the same time on all the social media platform and posting so many times and being, doing this and doing that because of the fear of missing, right? When actually, when you are strategic about what you want to achieve, as you said, what's your main goal, right? What do you want to achieve, and then look, reverse engineer the process and look at, okay, so what are the avenues that I need to look at in order to reach my goal? And if the media is one of them. And what I like about the media now is, as you said, you know now when you go in the media, you are visible in the media. They will take this clip and they will leverage it on their own social media platform.
[00:27:35] So it's a win-win, right? I really see that win-win.
[00:27:39] Especially when they tag you.
[00:27:40] Yeah. . . I haven't been tagged yet. I should pay more attention now. We'll, we'll, we should talk about that. We should talk about that. Okay, definitely. So lemme take a look at the comment here. I see a few, a few things and Salha who says, this is great, insightful subject.
[00:28:00] Yes. So if you wanna get yourself into the major industry, we talked a little bit about it. If you wanna get yourself some PR visibility to build your thought leadership and to grow your business, advance your career, because this is ultimately what we wanna do then feel free to reach out to Jennifer.
[00:28:19] She's really good at what she does, and I have been working with her myself for a couple of months now. So, uh, Jennifer, for the people who wanna reach out to you, how can they contact you?
[00:28:30] Well, the best way is to connect with me here on LinkedIn or on Instagram at shesnewsworthy.com. Uh, sorry on Instagram I'm at she's newsworthy. My website is shesnewsworthy.com, and you can head on over to the contact button and book in a discovery.
[00:28:45] Thank you so much for your time and you know, for sharing so much nuggets, uh, about the PR industry. If you have any following up questions, leave it in the comment. We will look at it and respond back, uh, later.
[00:28:58] You take care, you stay safe. I will see you next week Wednesday for another live episode of STANDOUT From the Crowd, in the meantime, you take care and you stay safe. Bye-bye everyone. Thank you, Jennifer.
[00:29:09] Thank you. Nice, thanks, nice to see you.