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Business Development

I've always gotten more than my fair share of press.  I've been interviewed on radio and television countless times (and have the bad tapes to prove it), and numerous feature stories have been written about CareerLab and me.  (A feature story is what the publication writes about you; a byline article is what you write for publication.) 
When you appear in the media in any form, you receive a "third-party endorsement," meaning someone else—other than you—thinks highly of you. This is one way to establish yourself as an expert.

As you know, the media operates 24x7x365, and they are eager for good material. If you have a good idea, you can get it published or written about—or you can be interviewed on radio, TV, or podcast—even YouTube. Your task is simply to communicate your idea, explaining benefits to the media outlet and their audience.

A story must have an angle, meaning it has to have a hook—something interesting and timely.  If your state flooded last year, statistics about flooding may have no appeal.  But if a flood is on the way, the opposite it true.

A story should also be new—that's why they call it news.  Old discoveries, theories, proposals, and experiments are simply not interesting—they've been done before.  Therefore, try to package your ideas in the language of the moment.

This is the difficult part of appealing to the media.  Your story must have value to their audience—not necessarily your audience.  Every day, businesses hire PR firms to promote mundane products and services, and the business owners expect their new stainless steel nuts and bolts to appear on the cover of Time magazine or USA Today.

It's never going to happen—unless the stainless steel nuts and bolts are tied to something important to the public today.  If the new bolts are making hip-replacements 50% less painful, then the elderly residents of Sun City will want to hear about them.

If you keep your focus on BENEFITS to the reader, viewer, listener—and if you communicate those benefits clearly, you'll be surprised at how often you are featured.

As a footnote, thanking reporters, writers, editors, and photographers after they have featured you is mandatory.  It sets the stage for your being interviewed or featured again and again.  If a reporter likes you, he or she will come back to you repeatedly for quotes and story ideas.  What could be better?

Here is the text of an actual e-mail I received today.  This reporter has interviewed me for several newspapers.  She called last week for a quote about a story, but I missed her same-day deadline.  Nevertheless, we exchanged new contact information, and today she sent this inquiry:
"Hey. I've been thinking....
What if we were to work on a story about the workplace counseling/conflict resolution you are doing?  For a magazine like People, it would need to be national - so it's good your co. is international. We'd also need real-life customers willing to talk and be photo'd.  That's the hard part!
Just turn it over in your head and see if we can come up with something NEW and DIFFERENT to write about this topic.  I'll think, too!"

My job now is to come up with some interesting case studies to write about. And that's a good problem to have.


William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.