Giving your time to provide a quote for media is an easy way to gain some visibility and position yourself as an expert. From my 5 or so years experience I’ve definitely learned some interesting lessons in how the word of media works.
The advice I give all my new interns is very similar to my dinner time advice to my children – try before you say you don’t like it. Particularly if you only have an idea of what you think it’s like without actually trying it:
Think you don’t like working with teens? Have a go first
Can’t deal with BPD? Try it first then decide
As a brand new practitioner in private practice, you want to cast your net wide. That’s how you learn, actually build a client list & how you then negotiate the referrals you would like to niche in
In contrast, my advice to new psychologists wanting to be an expert for media comment is to choose wisely NOT widely. Hawk eye focus on you & your lane.
In 2012 the practice I worked at received regular requests for comment from, but most of us on the team usually said no. Partially that was due to visibility fears & zero media training (imagine if I’d said yes to that 7pm TV slot on dog shaming LOL).
However, I started to volunteer for a few written pieces. In the freelance writer community, the best way to get sources for your own articles is to first be a source. Give first.
I didn’t yet know who I wanted my audience to be (I just wanted to get published) so I helped other people with their articles, commenting on:
Can babies see ghosts? For Essential Baby
Teen dating tips for Dolly magazine
And an article on geriatric depression in men (which, I might add the editor printed the exact OPPOSITE of what I suggested. It was cringe worthy and I should have taken them to task but they printed my name incorrectly so I sighed relief and let it go). You’ll be hard pressed to find that one online!
Mental health professionals are easily able to gain visibility by positioning themselves as experts or the media – just think about:
- You don’t get paid, so a topic you are passionate about will feel less like work
- You have a clear person in mind who you want to serve
- If you feel compelled to look up research articles and stats then pass unless it’s absolutely crucial to the piece. It’s an opinion piece, not Cochrane review.