How I got 25 media interviews in 5 days
On March 1st I had a speech in Calgary at the Children’s Hospital Aid Society (CHAS), and the media blew up.
What followed was one of the craziest weeks of my life.
I was on TV for the CBC Evening News at 6, CTV Morning Live, Global News at 6, and Breakfast Television… and had radio interviews on the BBC, CBC, NewsTalk770, SiriusXM, SAIT, NAIT, and NoFunIntended.
I get a lot of questions from people asking me how I did it…
Did I hire a PR firm to set it all up for me? The answer is no.
So how did I do it? And how can you do it too?
KEY LESSON #1: The media cares about stories that have three components:
Something Current, Something Interesting, Something Local.
Without your story being timely, they’ll have no urgency to feature it. I’ve recorded multiple interviews (national segments here in the U.S.) that are just sitting on the sidelines waiting for a timely event to release them.
Current: Since I had a talk coming up in Calgary, I knew I had an opportunity to go for a media blitz.
Local: Although I no longer live in Calgary, I was born there, so I added “Calgary-born” to my pitch.
Interesting: Game Quitters reaching 20,000 members/month in 76 countries all supporting each other to overcome their video game addiction.
KEY LESSON #2: “Just-in-time” Learning
Instead of consuming content to hoard in my brain, I like to focus on finding content relative to the specific challenge or goal I have at the time.
The week before my talk in Calgary, a mastermind group I’m a part of (Archangel Masters) was holding a discussion on PR and the Media with expert Selena Soo. Boom. I set aside the time, and came prepared with a number of questions to ask about how I could apply her expertise right away.
Based on what I learned from Selena, and my homie Clay, I made my pitch:
“My name is Cam Adair, a Calgary born and raised entrepreneur who’s the founder of Game Quitters — the largest support community for video game addiction. We currently help 20,000 people/month in 76 different countries around the world — including those in Calgary!
Recently we’ve been featured in Forbes, Vice, and have upcoming features in the Toronto Star, CBS Evening News and *******. My work in this area began through my own experience of being addicted where I dropped out of high school.
I was invited to speak in Calgary on Wednesday March 1st at CHAS (Children’s Hospital Aid Society). What do you think about doing a story on how a Calgary-born entrepreneur is solving the problem of video game addiction worldwide?
I’m also open to any other ideas, and really looking to bring the most value to your audience.”
KEY LESSON #3: Take Dumb Action (and ask for help!)
It’s easy to overcomplicate things. Should you write a press release? Hire a PR firm? Cold email news stations? I’m sure some of those work, but the lowest hanging fruit is what I like to call Dumb Action.
The night after watching Selena’s talk, I posted a status on Facebook asking if any of my friends in Calgary had contacts in the media, and included my pitch in the status. A few friends tagged a few friends, and boom.
Especially nowadays with social media, you’d be surprised how close you are to being connected with anyone you want. Checking your EGO at the door, and being vulnerable to ask for help goes a far way.
It also helps to provide tons of value to other people first, instead of being someone who is constantly asking for how someone else can help YOU. Give more than you take.
KEY LESSON #4: Have “The Goods”
You have to be able to back it up. Pitching, or getting warm intros will only go so far. But is your story interesting? Have you shown actual traction? If you can’t get a random stranger on the internet to care about your story, how do you expect to get the media to care about it?
Obviously Game Quitters reaching the scale it has so far (25,000 members in 80 countries) is a testament that there’s significant interest, and a need for this work.
I’ve pitched this story before and never heard back from people. So instead I’ve focused on becoming too big to ignore. Eventually you reach a scale where people have to pay attention.
I also take the opportunity anytime someone asks me what I do to share our story in a way that will connect with them on a deep level. I “pitch” Game Quitters to people all the time, and in doing so have learned what words or phrases, what angles really connect more with people. Refinement over time.
KEY LESSON #5: The Media is Fairly Overrated
No offense! But you have to understand why you’re pursuing media, and how (or if) it will benefit you. If you’re going for traffic to your website, you’ll be sorely disappointed. You’ll have more success with a YouTube video or Facebook Live than you will with the media.
However, for brand building, it’s a total hit. Since the media blitz I’ve found our “word of mouth” has skyrocketed. The perception of Game Quitters due to all of the media attention had a major impact. And that compounds over time. It also helps in some other places like credibility.
The lesson here is that the perception of the media in people’s minds is still there, but the traffic you will get from it is not. So use it wisely.
Special thanks to Selena, Clay, Giovanni, and my personal Uber driver while I was at home, my MOM! And to each of you for all of your support with our mission.