What it means to be part of Media Stable
As a Conflict Strategist and Mediator, I’m driven by a desire to influence change, to make a difference. I’ve always had this sense of purpose, wanting to help people navigate through conflict effectively and empower innovative problem solving. But there’s only so much growth you can have if you limit your reach, and my own lack of understanding about media was holding me back.
So, in 2020, I engaged with Media Stable. This coincided with a reimagining of my brand and company that had been emerging over the previous six months after I’d attended a global conference in Northern Ireland, which shifted my perception of what was possible.I’d had limited experience with media, basically confined to working with my local newspaper for a few years on issues of interest.
I’d done public speaking and written chapters for books, but I hadn’t really engaged formally with the media.
My engagement with Media Stable has helped me think differently about the clarity of messaging and how I influence change.
I’ve come a long way. My first story board and radio interview were kind of stilted, boring if I’m going to be honest. But with incredible support and encouragement from the experts at Media Stable, I’m now directly contacted by TV and radio for interviews and have weekly and monthly scheduled segments. I’ve written opinion pieces and had them published. I’ve joined morning breakfast TV via Zoom and had onsite interviews for news segments, and I’ve done radio interviews right across the country, from regional stations to mainstream.
I’m encouraged to provide content for Media Stable’s daily ‘Media Board’ that’s distributed to over 600 journalists nationally. Those stories reflect personality, incorporate a range of topics, and remain consistent with my expertise.
I’m so grateful that I stepped into this role. I love talking on radio and TV and it’s had a huge impact on elevating my brand. For me, engaging with media isn’t about me. It’s a way to educate and help others – the audience, the listeners, the readers.
This reframe gives me freedom. And I’ve learned that it’s ok if my message isn’t perfect or not everyone likes me. That isn’t what it is about. What does matter is the old lady that hunted down my details when she heard me on the radio. She wanted to talk and at the end of a conversation, she said, “you’ve helped me move forward.” That’s what matters.
Engaging with the media isn’t something to be scared of, just be clear on what drives you. My tips to finding your own voice are:
- It’s not about you. This has to be about your audience. What do they need, how do they speak, what matters to them, and as the expert in my field, how can I help, how can I share my knowledge?
- Make it easy for the media to engage with you. Do the work for them by giving them questions, creating a story, and being ready with examples.
- Have a conversation. Don’t take yourself too seriously or be too serious. Be able to laugh at yourself and keep it real.
- Stay in your lane. If you want to become an expert that keeps getting asked back to comment by media, stay focused on your expertise.
- Stay in it for the long haul. It’s really a three-year program. I’ve been with Media Stable for two years now. The first year is all about dipping your toe in the water, getting your profile out there so that media start to recognise you as an expert in your field, and honing your writing and interview styles. The second and third years are a great chance to refocus your efforts and think about which media challenges you and where you want to be seen next.
If you bring the right attitude to the partnership with Media Stable, you’ll be able to elevate your reach, resulting in new collaborations, growth and, yes, even unexpected friendships.
Looking forward, I want to push myself for more TV. It’s a challenge for me to connect and deliver with both content and humour – it has to be fun or interesting for the people watching. That aligns with a really exciting time for my business in 2023. I’m levelling up with sharp focus and my engagement with the media also needs to serve a purpose. For me that means better linkages back to products, services, and brand, and I’m excited to announce that 2023 will see the launch of my first on-line course, two books, and a not-for-profit focused on facilitating solutions for sustainability and social justice conflicts.
Like I said, I’ve come a long way, and I’ve partnered with Media Stable throughout my media journey. I’m looking forward to 2023 and where that takes me with media.
By Sarah Blake, Conflict Strategist and Mediator