I have been asked on a Linked In discussion post (on the group Successful Private Practice SW UK) how I managed to get a double page spread in the glossy Devon Life mag.Getting in print has been a long process – I hated that anyone would read my words and judge me on them.
Anyone else feel that way? Crazy if you are trying to build a practice so I had to change that! Here is a list of some baby steps I have taken to build my confidence in writing publicly.
- Get in practice with, would you believe – writing on Linked In (professional networking site). I looked carefully at what others wrote, prepared my comment, slept on it, looked at it again, then posted (sometimes not because I got scared of being controversial or criticised)
- Found a source or two grateful for my literary offerings – the journals of your training organisations are great. Also local network groups like Westcountry Association for Counselling. These places are desperate for articles, and the readers are friendly 🙂
- Recalibrated my thinking that I would be flooded with attention if I had anything in the public field – it is a drip-drip thing.
- Discovered that if I would like the press to cover something I am doing, they like it if you phone first and ask your target paper/mag/tv whether they might be interested in the item you are preparing. If not, no point in sending it. Even if they say yes, they may not use it if better news, or better written items come their way.
- Write FOR the press. News items have to be news, not blatant self-selling. Look at events you are involved with, or national news items that you have a local perspective on.
- Send them a well-thought out relevant piece and include an interesting good quality photo if possible (Express and Echo, for example, no longer has regular photographers on their team).
- If you are suggesting they do an item on you, send them a synopsis of what you are suggesting, with supporting materials. Eg. with Devon Life I referenced a national paper news item and said I was a local therapist dealing with this problem (of women damaging their bodies wearing heels). I also attached a research item saying UK women wear the highest heels in Europe – they used this in the article.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare. Your perspective, what points you want to get across, etc.
- For this article I was interviewed and gave a demo session too which the writer used as her basis for the article.
- Be kind, generous, helpful to everyone along the way. People remember that and if they don’t want you this time, they may want you next time – especially if they liked you. If in doubt, ask – “would it be okay to contact you again sometime” – it gave me confidence to hear a “yes”.
Most of all – it is the baby steps that build confidence. I found it is myself who judged me most eg. that what I had to say was too small, that no one would be interested, that I had made a comment on something and wouldn’t be able to back it up if challenged, etc, that people would think I was getting ‘up’ myself, and so on.
Maybe they do, but I no longer mind as my confidence grows with each step taken to becoming known for my work – and yours can too! What baby step could you take? (Comments written below count!)
© Cathy Towers 2013