How Small Business Can Get Regular Media Coverage

Meet Jill Chivers of Media Mastery and presenter of the Entrepreneurs Guide to Media seminar with She Inspires in SydneyI met Jill at a She Business lunch and was immediately impressed by her dynamic and passionate approach to life and business. So I was delighted when I had the opportunity to book Jill as a She Inspires seminar presenter and am sure you will find this interview both entertaining, inspiring and informative.
How did Your Media Mastery come about?

Your Media Mastery came about in an interesting way.  I first started appearing in the media in early 2010, when my personal challenge “my year without clothes shopping” was five months along. My first media story was on breakfast television in New Zealand and the interview was seven minutes long – almost an unheard of time period for a breakfast TV story. 

After that, I appeared in about five more television stories, and a handful of radio shows (including ABC Radio National, Today Tonight (two stories) and three television shows in the United States, one on an NBC syndicated station in Seattle, and another on an ABC syndicated station in Salt Lake City) – all by the end of 2010.

At the end of 2010, I started to really tune in to what was causing me to have this media success (although it must also be said that it wasn’t all beer and skittles – I got many no’s and just as many ignores). 

Through a process of trial and error, and paying very close attention, I started to work out what was working and what wasn’t, at least as far as my own story went.  I started to become more strategic in both my thinking and my approach to the media.

In 2011, I took a different tack to the one I’d taken the previous year.  First of all, I set a strategic goal for myself for that year: to appear in one ‘quality’ media story every month for the entire year (and was very pleased that I achieved that goal by August). 

During this time, I was also running the world’s first (and only) online membership site for women who shop too much and want to stop (or at least cut down) – Shop Your Wardrobe, so there was a lot going on for me.  I was involved in lots of activities, making lots of mistakes and learning heaps.

I was working hard on Shop Your Wardrobe and still doing a lot of media when late in 2011, I started to receive requests from networking and business groups to talk to their members.  They were asking me if I would share how I had achieved that level of success in the media (about 35 stories at that time) with their members – other entrepreneurs and small business people wanted to know how I’d done it, and how they could do it too.

I have learned so much from other entrepreneurs who have shared their stories (and strategies, and a few secrets) and I was keen to share what I could to help others conjure up their own media magic.  My philosophy was: If I can do this, anybody can!  I knew there was a bit of ‘secret sauce’ there, plus some simple strategies that if applied well, would help almost anybody to become more success in the media. 

So in early 2012, I wrote the Media Mastery Workbook for Entrepreneurs with the express purpose of it being a guidebook, a home study course if you like, for entrepreneurs to use to help them create their own media magic. 

I now speak fairly regularly to groups of entrepreneurs and soloists about my media experiences and how they can achieve their own media goals.  It is so wonderful to see these people gain more confidence that they can do it, and I particularly love it when they tell me stories of their successes in the media – that’s brilliant!
What do you really enjoy about running Your Media Mastery?

I love the sense of helping other entrepreneurs.  Many small business people go into business for that very reason – they see a problem or an opportunity, and they want to help others to address or meet it.  And that’s how I felt about Your Media Mastery – if I could achieve this media success (nearly 50 media stories in less than two years), surely others could do the same if they had more confidence and a few tips and techniques at their disposal. 
The media have an unquenchable thirst for new content, and when soloists recognise that they can actually help the media by providing them with quality (and compelling story ideas), they start to see the media through new eyes. 

New possibilities start to present themselves, and their attitude shifts.  When that is combined with some skills and how-tos, which is provided in the Workbook, all kinds of media possibilities become not only imaginable, but achievable. 
On the website, we also profile other entrepreneurs who have achieved success in the media (our criteria is we profile people who have appeared in five plus quality media stories).  I learn so much from reading these profiles, and I value the generosity these entrepreneurs have in sharing what has worked for them, and how others can do the same.  

Some of the entrepreneurs profiled have had huge success in the media (hundreds of media mentions, success in overseas (especially the US) media, ongoing media stories/presence) so for them to share so generously is fabulous.  Visitors to the site can learn a lot just from reading those profiles.

What do you love about having your own business?

So many things!  I sometimes think I have become unemployable!  I especially love the sense of setting my own pace and my own agenda.  I am quite a disciplined person and don’t have trouble with being tempted by day time television, for example.   My problem is more closing the door on work at the end of the night, which can be a problem when the office is literally within three steps of the living room.  My commute is very short (about 25 seconds) and the dress code is very flexible!

The sense of creative freedom is sensational.  If I have an idea and want to run with it, I can.  There’s also a responsiveness that exists in micro businesses that bigger firms don’t have so much – I can change my website overnight without having to get anybody’s approval or put it to a committee or even discuss it with anyone except my web master.  There are downsides to all these pluses.

My main business is Shop Your Wardrobe and that is my passion.  I work with women who want to create healthier relationships to their shopping, themselves, their wardrobes and their wallets, and they have often been carrying the heavy (and often secret and shameful) burden of being compulsive over shoppers for years, sometimes decades.  You can’t imagine that stress that puts a woman under, and often our members have given up hope of ever changing their buying behavior.   I love that we create a non-judgmental, inspiring and supportive place for them to learn more about conscious consumption and how they can create healthier habits around their clothes shopping.  Shop Your Wardrobe makes my heart sing!

What has been the most challenging experience of having your own business?

Running your own business has many upsides, but I don’t believe it is the promised land that all corporate warriors should aspire to reach. There are many advantages to being employed and anyone contemplating going into business for themselves really needs to have their eyes wide open.

There are no ‘benefits’ such as holiday or sick time or pay – if I don’t work, I don’t get paid.  There are ways to offset that with online processes and products that have recurring payment elements to them, and I have those things in place (which is very nice).  But the principle remains the same – it’s just me.  The support structures that exist in a bigger firm, like IT and technical support, aren’t there in a micro business – sure, I have access to IT help, but it’s an external firm that I employ, not an internal division of a bigger organisation. 

It can be isolating, too, in a small business.  Whilst there is a sense of creative freedom and ability to ‘turn on a dime’, the downsides are there are no checks and balances that come when you DO have to present your ideas to other people or a committee.  What if the idea sucks?  Or there’s some vital flaw in the approach that you just can’t see?  You will find these things out eventually, but often not until much water has passed under the bridge, and potentially a lot of time, energy and money has been invested into the new product or service. 

That sense of community within a bigger organisation is one of the things I most miss about being a soloist.  I try to offset this by being connected to other women in business, in mastermind groups and so on.  I’m careful about who I connect with on that level, as I want to make sure that I’m connecting with others who will help me grow, support and challenge me in equal measure, and help me be accountable.  And I want to do the same for them.  It needs to be a good fit.

What do you enjoy about working with television and radio producers and hosts?

I love people in the media!  Coming from a very corporate background, and then running my own business for over a decade, I had no frame of reference or exposure to the media until two years ago (except as a consumer of media).  The people in the media I have dealt with have, almost all of them, been delightful.  From the producers to the hosts to the make-up people and ‘greeters’, they have been lovely people. 

What so many ‘civilians’ (non-media people) often forget, in the excitement of being included in a media story especially if it is a recognisable show or on television, is that this is just work for these people.  Sure, we may be so excited we can barely sit still and it may be the highlight of our week or month, but for them it is just another day at work. 

I enjoy the pace that the media works out – if it isn’t immediate, it’s close to it.  Stories are happening now, and your response and contribution to the media need to match that. There is also a brevity to the media, especially television and radio, that I enjoy – they cut to (what they believe is) the essence of the story. 

“Sound bites” are very important in the media, and that’s been one of my key learning’s:  communicating in ‘media speak’ which is different to how you have a regular conversation.

How do you use social media to leverage and amplify your main stream media interviews?

Make your content marketing work for your business

In many ways!  This is one of the best ways to leverage your mainstream media appearances – to connect and integrate them with your other ‘outgoing’ communication (not just social media), and to leverage them.

When I have a media story coming up, which I almost always have some advance notice of (even if it is less than 24 hours), I post on social media about it. 

I mainly use Facebook, so I will post an update about the story coming up and usually an image – either the logo of the media I’m appearing in, or if I have a photo of the journalist or myself appearing on that same media in the past, I’ll post that, too.  I’ll notify folks that the story is coming up, and when to tune in or read it.

I sometimes use social media during an interview.  This isn’t always feasible or appropriate, but for say a taped television interview, where there can often be quite a bit of time standing around waiting for the crew to set up, it is possible to take a quick pic and post it, sharing the interview as it is in progress. 

You have to be careful that the photos are appropriate and the crew, if they are in them, are okay with this.  So, this is a ‘use with caution’ strategy but it is definitely doable, depending on the media you are working with.

And of course, after the interview!  This is where many entrepreneurs could really benefit – from leveraging their media after it is over.  I talk to so many people who have had a fabulous piece of media and afterward (hours or days later), they have a sense of “Oh, is that it?”  It can be a bit of a letdown. 

So you really want to be thinking about the many ways that you can use the media experience after it’s finished.  Social media is certainly one of them.  Posting a link to the story on the website of the media outlet in social media is important.  

You’ve created a workbook for fellow business owners to get their message featured in the media. How long did it take to write it and was it a challenge to do in its own right?

Yes, with the 

Media Mastery Workbook for Entrepreneurs  I was turbo-charged motivated to write it, and I actually did the main writing on two consecutive Sundays.  I wrote 15,000 words each day.  It was somewhat exhausting, as you can imagine!  But I was keen to get it done and out there – I just powered on and kept my focus and the words just flowed. 

I’ve heard other people talking about words flowing when they wrote books, but I’d never had the experience in quite this way before.  I’m very proud of the outcome, and have received some wonderful feedback from entrepreneurs whom the Workbook has helped.  I’ve also had professional writers and editors tell me they love it, which is high praise indeed.

The editing process took longer than the actual writing and I had it professionally edited by a colleague in San Francisco to make sure it flowed and made sense.  Once it got my editor's seal of approval, I then had it professionally designed and we made it available for purchase on the site. 

Click to go in our free online competitionsWhy I believe the Workbook is helpful to people is that it contributes tips and techniques, strategies and secrets from the 
entrepreneurs perspective.  I am just like you – I am in business for myself.  I am not a media insider.  I didn’t have a background in the media to draw from.  What I have is a successive series of quality media attention, some multiple appearances in the same media, and I did it without using a PR firm. 

I believe what PR firms and publicity insiders have to offer is of enormous value.  They know things I don’t know, and they can help in ways I can’t.  AND…(and it is definitely an ‘and’), I have something to contribute to this arena as well, a perspective that is unique and helpful.  If I can “crack the media code”, as an outsider and a small business person, others can too. 

I share a number of strategies in the Workbook that I have not heard others share – things I have learned were part of my ‘secrets of success’ in the media that aren’t necessarily taught in publicity workshops.  That has to help the entrepreneur seeking to conjure up their own media magic. 

What are your 5 tips for small business owners getting into the media?

There are many tips and techniques, secrets and strategies, but here are my top 5.

1.  Profile. You need to develop one that is specific for the mainstream media.  If you don’t have this, a profile that is accessible and understandable within seconds, it makes it hard for the media to get a (quick) handle on who you are and why you would be good to either feature in a story or be included in a story.  Develop your media profile.

2.  Persistence.  Achieving success in the mainstream media is a long-term game. It is not about “getting on the Today show”, although you may have that as a sub-goal.  To make the media work for you, it’s worthwhile to think of it in months if not years. I suggest starting with a 12 month approach.  Persist.

3.    Preparation.  This is huge and where a lot of soloists fall down – they underestimate the amount of preparation required, how long it takes, and in what areas they need to prepare.  There are at least 4 different areas you need to prepare for the media in and you need to allow adequate time for it – possibly much more than you think you’ll need. Prepare, prepare, prepare!

4.    Performance.  This is where the ‘men are separated from the boys’, so to speak, when it comes to making the media work for you long term, beyond a ‘one story wonder’. When you understand how the media work, you realise the importance of delivering an outstanding media performance.  And I mean a performance that is authentic and an expression of your “best self” and includes your most compelling ideas and experiences.  This is a huge area that needs to be properly understood if your media ‘career’ is going to be longer than one or two stories.  Deliver an outstanding performance!

5.    People.  Yes it’s a people game!  People in the media are just like you and me, except they are super busy and work in a highly visible field that has the potential to make a big difference to your business and your profile.  It’s all about relationships – particularly with those in the media, but also those in your own network who can help you achieve your media goals.  Connect with and have an attitude of “how can I help?” with people in the media.



Meet Jill Chivers of Media Mastery

Meet Jill Chivers of Media Mastery

Jill Chivers of Media Mastery and Shop Your Wardrobe

Jill Chivers is an advocate for conscious shopping and has created the world’s first online membership site for women who want to create a healthier relationship to shopping, themselves, their wardrobes and their wallets.  

She has appeared in many media stories, talking about compulsive overshopping, including the Today Show, Sunrise, Today Tonight, The Circle, The Morning Show, Triple J, the San Francisco Chronicle, Prevention magazine, the Sunday Herald and the Wall Street Journal. 

Jill is an official spokesperson and ambassador for Buy Nothing New Month, a global initiative that inspires individuals to become more conscious in their consumption.  Learn more at and 

Learn more from Jill at the upcoming She Inspires social media seminar and go in the running to win a copy of her Media Mastery Workbook for Entrepreneurs in our exclusive competition.

Social Media Tools and Seminars for Small Business

Social Media Tools and Seminars for Small Business

Small Business Social Media Seminar Email NewsletterSmall Business Social Media Seminar Email Newsletter
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Social Media Seminar PresentersSocial Media Seminar Presenters
The presenters for the social media seminar series all come with solid backgrounds in small business and marketing and range from agency experts to entrepreneurs.
It's a great opportunity to meet and learn from their passionate and talented individuals in an intimate and creative environment. 
Small Business Social Media Seminar CalendarSmall Business Social Media Seminar Calendar
The She Inspires Small Business social media seminar series runs from February to October 2013 with an exciting range of seminars to help small business owners make the most of the latest marketing skills.

Find out the calendar of social media seminars here.
Social Media Events for Small BusinessSocial Media Events for Small Business
Want to make sense of social media for your small business? Join us with our social media training events this year and grow your business and your skills.
Find out about the social media seminars, get some great tips and book online here.
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