In the modern era of startups and serial entrepreneurs, the role of CEO has taken on a bit of a rockstar quality. For instance, Elon Musk, Tim Cook, and Richard Branson are as much household names as their corporate counterparts, Tesla, Apple, and Virgin, keeping these leaders each constantly at the center of industry conversations.
So, the question becomes: How did they get there? Or more importantly, how can you get your CEO headed in that same direction? As a PR professional, your job is to do everything in your power to get your client top of mind through great media coverage and other smart communications strategies. Let’s share some important first steps for getting your CEO the attention and opportunities they deserve.
Know Their Strengths
It’s important to understand your CEO’s personal strengths (and weaknesses). Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better poised to create a plan of attack that makes the most of their skills. For example, if your CEO is an excellent speaker, but gets camera shy the moment the red light turns on, look into podcast opportunities. The same goes if they excel when it comes to writing or have a viewpoint to share. Pitch their content to online sources where you can lock in a byline opportunity. And of course, if your CEO can turn on the charm in the spotlight, an on-camera interview will highlight their strengths and allow them to shine.
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to the strengths of your CEO is the audience. Think about the audience to which their story or content will appeal, and target the platforms and outlets accordingly. This will ensure your executive’s moment in the spotlight is most impactful.
Bring A Unique Perspective To Life
Once you’ve determined the best type of media and outlet for your CEO, it’s time to reach out and secure that opportunity for them. Start by building your media list. Review your contacts at outlets that present good opportunities for your CEO and research new leads to create a cover-to-cover media strategy that helps you secure as much great media coverage as possible.
The next step is to identify the unique perspective your CEO brings to the market. What’s his or her vision for the company? How do they believe the industry will continue to evolve? Does your CEO have a particularly compelling or even contrarian viewpoint on why a certain approach to a problem is the one that will help companies succeed? Think about what your CEO’s particular storyline is and craft it so you’ll grab a reporter’s attention.
A few specific things to keep in mind when pitching:
Plan around events. When you know your CEO will be attending an upcoming industry event, do some research and discover which media will be there -- and if it’s a good fit, pitch your hardest to get your client on their schedule.
If you’re pitching a television or broadcast media interview, pitch a fully developed segment, not just an idea or a general version of your client. Rather, help the media see how your client will fill the air time they are given. Do everything in your power to help a producer envision how your client can come to life on camera.
Bottom line: Always do your research to create the appropriate plan of action, and act opportunistically to link to other larger news trends.
Publish Quality Content
Want to go the extra mile? Look for contributed publishing opportunities that aid in positioning your CEO as a thought leader.
If the CEO is particularly good at on-camera interviews, consider producing a welcome or company overview video that would reside on your site that offers them ample on-camera time. Not only does this give them additional on-camera practice, but it creates a piece of content you can include with your pitches. The same goes for written content. Showing your CEO off as a strong writer with blog content prepares them for a byline article, making them more appealing to those outlets. Take things a step further and share all of this wonderful content on social media. Just by sharing on social, you’re extending the reach of your client’s content -- plus a share could lead to a retweet (or 27) and suddenly the content is in the hands of the elusive industry influencer you’ve been working hard to reach. You never know.
Social media tools are also a great way to get in even more practice, whether that be a Periscope or Facebook Live session to demonstrate on-camera skills, or the use of Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, or Facebook long-form posts to play up writing skills and a thought leadership perspective.
Giving your CEO a platform to share his or her perspective can go a long way in strengthening their reputation as an industry thought leader. Investigate any and all avenues and seize opportunities to showcase your client’s talents. With a little elbow grease, your CEO will be in the spotlight in no time at all!