Media Interviews

10 Reasons to Become a Media-Savvy Therapist

About 8-9 years ago, I felt a pull toward gaining media and social media skills and expertise. At the time, I wasn't sure why...or how. In hindsight, I now see the clear benefits of my media visibility for my private practice and for me as a professional. I also had no idea how fun it would be to build relationships (with producers, journalists, reporters, TV hosts, etc.), educate my community, and share my message and expertise with thousands of people. This decision to become media-savvy has altered the course of my professional life in exciting and new ways. Because my practice has grown so much (3 locations, 20 employees) and requires more management, because I'm increasingly involved in media work and content creation, and because it felt like the right thing to do, I have retired from clinical work. I now focus on writing, private practice business consulting, earning my PhD, and spending time with my family. These opportunities would not have been possible had I not acquired social media skills.

Reflecting on my career (thus far), I want to share with you some tangible benefits of becoming proficient with (social) media and maintaining an online presence. Here are 10 things you can do by becoming a media-savvy therapist:

1) Educate Your Community; Educate The World

The mental health field is by nature a helping profession. We became therapists to help people who are struggling in some aspect of their lives, right? One of the biggest ways to do is this by educating individuals. No matter your area of expertise (marriage therapy, addiction, depression, etc.), you have valuable insight that you can share with your community to serve them and better their lives. By embracing media (TV, radio, print) and newer technologies (blogging, podcasts, social media), your message can be amplified exponentially, causing you to reach a greater audience.

2) Grow Your Practice (even during an economic downturn!

I founded my private practice (Wasatch Family Therapy) in 2002 and consider myself an early adopter of technology. We created a website not long after we opened and have fully embraced and utilized social media as the years have gone by. To say that this has grown our practice is an understatement: maintaining a strong online presence has beenour number one strategy in acquiring new clients. What's more is that we now refer out over half of the individuals who seek our services (click here to read more about how our practice grew even in the economic downturn of 2008).

3) Increase Your Credibility Through Social Proof of Expertise

As you use your platform(s) of choice (blog, Facebook, Google+, etc.) to create content and build your body of work, you will in time gain followers who are interested in what you have to say. This will establish your social relevance and up your credibility. Others now view you as an expert and someone to be trusted. This can open up doors for you professionally, just like it has done for me! (read here about how gaining a social media following has brought me valuable career opportunities).

4) Employ a Fee-for-Service Model 

Because I am familiar to more people, I have been able build a fee-for-service practice. This has led to increased income and has kept my clinicians from having to deal with the stress and burden of insurance companies. A private pay model also helps provide better quality therapy for clients. And once again, it's due in large part to our strong media presence that we were able to "break up with managed care."

5) Raise Visibility For Your Profession 

We as therapists often lament the fact that mental health issues don't receive as much airtime as they deserve (though thankfully, this seems to be changing). Your media skills can help bring these topics to the forefront for your friends, family, and followers. For example, NASW has featured my work in their media news and even invited me to do national webinars. Good media interviews add visibility and educate the public about your profession in general and also about your specific expertise.

6) Create Additional Income Streams (book deals, paid blogging, consulting, etc.) 

There is so much more to being in this field than seeing clients. My online presence has afforded me the opportunities to write for major websites and blogs, consult others about how to best build their practice, and even write a book (currently working on my second one)! By growing your media skills, you too can diversify your professional activities and create multiple streams of income for yourself.

7) Create Content For Your Blog

The information you access through your social media platforms can give you great inspiration for your blog. For example, when I do a TV interview, I then post it on my site, which improves SEO and provides new and engaging content. I've found that because of my technology connections, I never am lacking for material to blog or write about.

8) Reach MORE People With Your Message, Passion, & Expertise 

The power that social media provides to reach others is truly unparalleled. I can now talk with hundreds or thousands of people at one time with each interview, not to mention the many more who will watch, listen, or read it online later. You can infinitely expand your outreach and get your message out there by utilizing media and social technologies.

9) Add Incentive for Additional Clinicians To Join Your Practice 

My media presence and relationships have given other clinicians a reason to work for me instead of opening their own practice. So individuals who potentially may have been my competition are now on my team! Your media presence (blog, interviews, Facebook, etc.) can attract new therapists who know about your vision, values, and niche from what they've seen online.

10) Gain Recognition by Professional Organizations

My media appearances and online presence has garnered the attention of reputable organizations, and I'm grateful to have received some notable accolades. For example, I was named #1 online influencer for depression, and #2 mental health online influencer by ShareCare (a social media health company founded by Dr. Oz, Discovery Communications, and WebMD's Jeff Arnold), and received the 2015 National Association of Social Worker Award for my website

How can YOU improve your media-savviness?

And what great opportunities await you as you do? 

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3 Things Potential Clients Really Want to Know

We've spent thousands and thousands of dollars on graduate education, continuing education, advanced clinical trainings and years in practicum and under supervision. We have invested a lot in our credentials, and all of the impressive acronyms behind our names. PhD, LCSW, LMFT, RPT, CSAC, LPC  -- and the list goes on.

In my twenty plus years of practice, I have realized that what we value as clinicians is not necessarily the same thing as what those who are considering our services value. In fact, there are some principle criteria that we as clinicians need to meet in order for an individual to choose us as his/her therapist. Of course, there are exceptions. There are clients who are savvy to the ins and outs of mental health credentials, trainings, and certifications and are seeking help from someone in a specific discipline or with specific training. However, as a general rule, potential clients want to  answer "yes" to these 3 questions before they select you as their clinician.

1) Do I like you?  

A sometimes overlooked step of gaining new clients is your approachability. You can have advanced degrees and training, but if someone does not feel drawn to you initially, it's very unlikely he/she will choose you. And remember that not everyone will necessarily favor your particular style, and that's ok! Just as you are looking for an ideal client, he/she is looking for an ideal therapist.

One way potential clients may determine if they like you is by what they see of your online presence. What can someone learn about your personality from your photo(s) and you online content? How do you present yourself? All these can play a significant role in whether or not someone takes the next step in seeking your services.

2) Can I trust you?  

Trust is a critical aspect of the therapy process, and people may want to get an idea of how trustworthy they perceive you to be before becoming a paying client (we don't share our innermost struggles with just anyone). Are you someone who can be trusted with another's vulnerabilities and pain? Would potential clients feel comfortable confiding in you? Do they feel like you are someone who would value and care about them? Do they believe that you are a competent provider?

When it comes to building trust with potential clients, once again a strong online presence can go a long way. By viewing the content you post on your blog and/or social media platforms, they can get a sense of your level of credibility and trustworthiness, and you can begin the process of fostering trust even before a client's first session.

3) Can you help me?

You as a therapist are there to serve, and individuals interested in you want to know that you have the skills to help them. Understandably, potential clients will be willing to emotionally and financially invest in therapy only if they believe it will truly benefit them. Can you use your training and experience to help them problem solve or develop coping skills? Does your professional expertise match their therapeutic needs? The answers to these questions influence whether or not someone will choose you.

An individual may not be able to fully know if you can help him/her until therapy actually begins. However, your online presence can still play a factor in introducing yourself, your approach, and your therapy style him/her. For example, media interviews can help potential clients see you as not just a provider, but as an expert in your speciality area. This type of exposure allows others to see your level of skill and competence (read here for more about how media interviews can benefit your practice).

How can you present yourself so that potential clients-

  • like you
  • trust you
  • know you can help them


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HARO: My Secret Weapon to Landing Media Interviews

HARO My Secret Weapon to Landing Media InterviewsMedia interviews are a great way to share your passions and spread the word about your practice. 

They can connect you with other professionals in the field, get your name out there to potentially attract more clients, and can often give you an additional source of income.  But how exactly do you land those media interviews?  How do you get the word out that you have expertise that you want to share with an audience?

I have a secret weapon that has opened many doors for me, including media interviews with The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Cosmopolitan, Woman's Day, Fox News, Health, and dozens of other top-tier publications, without paying for an agent or PR representative. Here's the full list of my recent media interviews. The weapon? (otherwise known as HARO)

What HARO?

HARO is an excellent free tool where reporters or journalists can go and make inquiries about what professionals they can connect with in order to cite in their publications.  In other words, they are looking for experts in a certain field.  You might be exactly who they are looking for!  HARO is used by hundreds of news outlets, including very well-known ones such as Huffington Post, ABC, and DowJones.

How Does HARO Work?

As a potential source, you register through their website.  After signing in, you’ll receive 3 emails a day that match the keyword references on your profile (where you entered your areas of expertise).  If it looks like a good match, you respond and get the ball rolling.  Be sure to reply quickly; these opportunities go fast!

What Results Can You Expect?

While HARO can be a great way to get exposure and land those interviews, don’t expect the offers to come rolling in right away.  It can take a while to get responses. You will have to be persistent and patient in order for things to pay off.  In the past few years since using HARO, roughly 20% of my query responses have resulted in published quotes.  So you'll likely need to go through a good bit of rejection before you finally get an interview or a quote published.

So be sure to check out today, and get started!

Guess my secret weapon isn’t so secret anymore.

Have you been interviewed for web, print, TV, radio, or podcast? Share your links to your media interviews in the comments below

If you want the nitty gritty about how I use HARO to land top-tier media interviews, check out my 90-minute PR webinar for tips on how to share your passions and expertise with a broader audience.

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6 Ways Media Interviews Will Help Your Practice

Media Interviews Grow PracticeAre you hesitant to respond to media interviews? Performance anxiety, lack of training, or placing little value on media interviews as a strategy for practice building may be among your reasons for shying away. You may have heard that interviews don't bring in an immediate influx of new referrals. I have been actively seeking media interviews on a regular basis for the past five years and I've never had a huge increase in new referrals as a result. However, I have seen many long-term benefits of doing media interviews, that have built my practice over time. Here are 6 ways conventional media interviews have helped grow my private-pay practice.

1) Increasing awareness of your practice and services

“If you build it, they will come” doesn’t necessarily apply to opening a private practice. Most private practitioners initially struggle to get clients in the door of their practice because few people are aware of their business. Media interviews increase the exposure of your practice and allow you to get in front of more potential clients. Continued exposure makes it more likely that potential clients will remember your name and will eventually call you if they need help.

2) Opportunity for community service and education

Media interviews provide volunteer opportunities to educate your community, increase awareness about issues that matter to you and to them. In addition to making a living doing something I love, I want to make a difference for as many people as possible and media interviews allow me to make a positive impact for people well beyond the therapy office.

3) Engender public trust and increase credibility

Television stations, radio stations, newspapers, and websites spend a lot of time connecting with their readers and viewers and building their “brand”. When you are featured in the media you get to borrow their credibility and trust as they put you in front of their audience. Regular media appearances have allowed a large number of people to hear my therapeutic philosophy, and get a feel for my approach, and see me as a resource.

4) Helps transition you from provider to "expert"

Regular media appearances help position you us as more than a potential counseling or coaching provider. Interviews allow the general public to view you as an “expert” in your field or specialty area. The role of expert adds value to you and your services and makes it more likely that clients will pay out of pocket for your services.

5) Provides potential multiple income streams

Surprisingly, some media appearances have transitioned into additional income streams. I’ve been invited to be a regular contributor on television or a paid blogger. What could be better for your practice than getting paid to educate the public and create awareness of your practice?

6) Helps provide fresh consistent content for website, blog, and social media

Media interviews help provide new content for your practice website and provides helpful resources to your social media followers. Sharing video of on-camera interviews and links to print or web interviews extend your reach beyond your location driving more traffic to your website. More traffic to your practice website means more clients for you (assuming they like what the see on your website).

So, what are you waiting for? The next time you receive an email from a news or radio producer asking for your expertise, consider saying, "yes!"

10 Ways To Become A Go-To Media Expert In Your Field

10 ways to be the go-to media expert in your fieldWant to tell thousands of people about your practice? Tips to landing regular media interviews.

What do you think of when you think of professional networking? Private practice therapists who I’ve worked with in business consultations usually consider networking to be meeting with other like-minded professionals for lunch or handing out business cards to physicians offices. While those are important ways to make connections that build your therapy practice, there are other ways to get the word to thousands and thousands of people in one shot, instead of just a few folks at a time.  Rarely do therapists think of networking with producers, reporters and journalists.

Over the last few years I’ve focused on developing relationships with producers, journalists, and reporters in various media platforms. There are a few who now contact me for quotes when they need expert quotes or interviews. I've landed regular local TV, radio, and news interviews as well as interviews with top-tier publications and shows: Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Parenting, Woman's Day, Women's Health, and others. Here are some things I’ve learned about what works when building relationships with reporters, journalists and producers.

1) Seek out opportunities

Keep an eye out for opportunities to interview with local and national reporters. Sign up for services that notify you of reporters looking for interviews, like Reporter Connection, ProfNet Connection, Expert Engine. Contact local radio, television, and newspaper companies and offer your expertise on newsworthy topics.

2) Know what’s ‘newsworthy’

When pitching stories or interview topics to local journalists and reporters it’s crucial to know what they’re looking for. Sorry, but the fact that you’re going into private practice specializing in family therapy is not newsworthy; however, news and other TV programs might be interested in getting your thoughts on a new study showing how cultivating self-compassion helps individuals manage divorce. I suggest getting into some “media-minded” habits:

  • Watch national news headlines. Pitch a local spin on those stories to local TV producers.
  • Suggest seasonal topics. Pitch interviews around managing holiday stress, or Halloween safety tips for children in October.
  • New research is “news.” Keep an eye out for interesting research that’s relevant to your practice and offer to interview.

While what counts as newsworthy must be modified to your particular practice and community, generally defines a story as newsworthy if it has the following characteristics:

  • Timing – News is all about stories that are current and new
  • Significance – Something that affects large numbers of people
  • Proximity – An event happening close to home
  • Prominence – Involves someone famous or well-known
  • Human Interest – Appeals to emotion, novel, off-beat, interesting

3) Know how to write a press release

When pitching to media you need to speak their language, which means learning how to write a press release.

4) Respond to requests ASAP

I’ve come to realize that journalistic deadlines are incredibly tight, and the sooner I respond, the better. I’ve interviewed one afternoon for an E! Online article and it posted that same evening. When I get an email request for an interview I will respond right then on my smart phone with comments off the top of my head. I’ve been known to pull over on the side of the road while driving carpool to respond to an interview request. If a reporter or producer contacts you, respond immediately or the opportunity will pass you by. Decide ahead that you’ll say “yes” (and think about how you can make it a positive and confident “yes”).

5) Speak in layman's terms

Talking with the popular media is different than talking with colleagues. When speaking with therapists we can talk in short hand with acronyms like DBT, CBT and EFT; we know what transference and countertransference are, but most people don’t know and don’t care. In pitches and in correspondence always use layman’s terms that can be easily understood even if someone’s never taken Psychology 101.

6) Let your passion show

I think part of why I’ve been successful in getting quoted in national publications is because I show my passion for the work and for the topic of the story or article. Even in email correspondence, don’t be afraid to show your personality and to be approachable. I also openly share my gratitude for the interview opportunity and how much I enjoy media interviews.

7) Make your contact info easy to find

In all correspondence make sure that your name and credentials (the way you’d like them to appear if you’re quoted), your email address, and your cell phone number are easy to find in any correspondence or voicemail. Reporters don’t have time to hunt you down.

8) Know how to make their job easier

Reporters, producers, and journalists are extremely busy and always on multiple deadlines. They don’t have time to calm your anxiety or to walk you through the interview process.

  • Send only relevant information. Highlight the most important information you’d like to talk about and a brief line or two about you and your practice or your “basic professional practice message” (see my elevator speech post). Through a brief stint as a producer and host of a local lifestyle TV show I learned what makes a good and a difficult interviewee. One of the hardest parts of screening potential guests was skimming through too much information hunting for the relevant points. You can always add more information as needed.
  • Limit your correspondence. Respect the reporter’s, journalist’s or producer’s time. Though getting an interview might be a big deal for us as the therapist, it’s just one of many details they are trying to juggle.
  • Know their demographics. Understand the demographic for a given newscast TV show, newspaper, or magazine so you can pitch relevant and helpful topics (have some “audience awareness”; if you don’t know the primary audience, ask).

9) Ask them to contact you again

At the end of each interview or correspondence, whether you interview or not, be sure to ask them to keep you in mind as a resource in the future and to keep your contact information should they need your expertise in the future. If you’re an easy expert to work with and you are eager to interview, my experience is that many journalists will take you up on your offer to interview again.

10) Be a resource

I’ve learned that offering myself as a resource is a great way to build bridges with the media. I often tell reporters, producers, and journalists contact me whenever they need someone to interview on a mental health or family relationship topic, and that if I can’t do it, or don’t feel qualified, I will find them someone who would do an excellent job.