I suspect the key to making a living as a professional genealogist may require diversification for some of us. Speaking on genealogy topics is one way to diversify. But it takes more than being a skilled genealogist to market yourself as a speaker. Speakers need to promote themselves as experts in something. one such promotion tool is the media kit.
Elements of a good media kit include the following
A "pitch" or sales letter to the media reporter. producer, or editor
This should include
- First Paragraph: Why this topic of your workshop or lecture is of interest to thereader/viewer
- Second Paragraph: What credentials give you the expertise to discuss this topic (briefly)
- Third Paragraph: When will you follow up with the media contact?. Add the address of your Web site
All this should fit on one page.
A professional biography (this is not a resume)
- First paragraph: Sell what you do, for whom, with what expected results. This is the only part of your bio that will be read in all likelihood and most people waste the attention by burying their core message.
- Second Paragraph: Quantify and summarize credentials that make you an expert
- Third Paragraph: List on relevant previous experience
- Fourth Paragraph: Education, civic activities, honors
I personally write this in third person, avoiding "I" problems
Include a professionally taken photo: Never use a photo that is more than two years old. Make sure you have both black & white and color. Many publications printed on glossy paper are moving exclusively to color. I confess its time for new photos for me. Should I dress like I am lecturing? Or fishing?
Other story idea lists, so that the reporter knows what else you may be helpful with as an expert source. You never know when they might need you and it may NOT be the story you contact them with in the first place. Contacting the media is like contacting any other purchaser of your services.
Your brochure or consulting one-sheet that shows the breadth of your services.you can find great ideas for brochures by picking up other speakers brochures at the Genealogical Speakers Guild booth at the FGS conference in Boston this September. Ideas for brochures and one-sheets may also be found at SpeakerNetNews on my useful links section
Previous clips that show you in a good light. Reporters want to know that you have been vetted by other reporters. Though I have known how important this is, I have slipped up on this. There was a great article that appeared in a newspaper in Bc and another in Washington, I only saved the first. Bad mistake.
Add a Media Page to Web site:
Many media are doing much of their research on the web. It is a good idea to add a page to your web site for the media that incorporates or links to much of the material above. The availability of such a page needs to be prominently discussed in your Pitch Letter (above) to direct their attention to your Web site by correct URL and page address of the media page. For an example of this see the media kit for the Family History Library
So, if you are serious about being a genealogy speaker, get serious about promotion. Build a media kit. I am
What do you think?