Christina Nicholson of Media Maven is a former TV Reporter and Anchor who craved more freedom and ended up creating her own company to help teach entrepreneurs how to earn media exposure.
Christina is also an online course creator and teaches PR to small businesses and her students have seen real results. She's helped her clients be featured in outlets such as The Today Show, the Rachael Ray Show, in the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Men’s Fitness, Food & Wine, Entrepreneur, and more.
Here's what she has to say...
Tell us what you do in 2 sentences:
I’m a former TV reporter and anchor who now teaches entrepreneurs how to earn media exposure with my business, Media Maven. Almost every business owner wants great media relations, video production, writing, and blogging services... and that’s where I come in.
At what point did you decide to create your online business?
When I started business development for my firm, I noticed two things: 1.) business owners either had bad experiences with publicists who didn’t know what they were doing, or 2.) they didn’t have the budget to pay a monthly retainer of $4,000 for earned media.
After seeing so many negative experiences and lack of budgets, I decided to teach people everything I know – from in front of the camera, to behind the camera, to working in PR at firms and on my own. When you’ve been burned and/or don’t have money to outsource, you are left with no other choice but to learn how to handle some things on your own.
What did you do next?
When I realized there was a need for small business owners to learn how to execute a PR strategy themselves, I wanted to do everything right from the start. Before I created my online course, I bought a course about creating an online course. This taught me everything I needed to know to deliver the best information in the best format for my audience. That’s how I discovered Teachable and I haven’t looked back since!
What was your greatest struggle in the beginning? How did you overcome it?
My biggest struggle is building my audience online. In person, it’s great. Because I used to be on-air full time and now do it every once in awhile, people offline know who I am, but online, it’s different.
The online world is huge and to have a better presence online I bought a course dedicated to SEO to increase my strengths in that department. I’m also stepping up my social media game and not being shy about connecting with the people I follow and admire. I was always sharing and commenting on their content, but now I’m doing more to get on their radar and build relationships.
I don’t believe in competition. I believe in collaboration and my goal is to collaborate with those I admire.
What has been the best part of running your own business?
The best part is having freedom. I have two small kids and since exiting the TV business, I have rarely missed a swimming lesson, dance recital, or classroom birthday party. If I had a typical boss at a typical job, I would miss out on what matters in life. Now, I don’t have to.
In the beginning, how did you grow your audience?
This is the hardest part about online business because it is not only a never ending process, but it’s something that takes patience.
For me, I practice what I preach and that’s publicity. First, I started with my own content. To reach another person’s audience, you need to be their content, so I started pitching myself to other outlets, like I do for my clients and teach my students. I’ve earned publicity on leading podcasts, magazines, and TV programs. All of that information ends up online and my brand awareness increases.
How do courses fit into your business model?
The #1 reason people buy courses to learn something they don’t know. They need to learn it because 1.) they either don’t want to outsource it, or 2.) are unable to outsource it. Hiring someone to handle a brand’s public relations is not cheap. It’s also a service that doesn’t have guaranteed outcomes.
It’s a tricky business and many small business owners want to be in control of it and need to handle it themselves.
My courses walk them through everything I’ve seen in front of the camera and behind it as well as my experience at PR firms and working with clients on my own. Because it is so well rounded, it’s a perfect solution for anyone looking for media exposure!
What did your course creation process look like?
When my husband went to Canada to visit his family and took our two kids with him, my course was created. It was an all day, everyday process that lasted a couple of weeks. It was a lot of work and still is, but I know I’m solving a problem many business owners have, big and small - from brick and mortar to bloggers who want to create an impact.
Christina has a FREE resource for all of you to download! Get her Media Relations eBook here and increase your brand's awareness by earning media exposure!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are looking to go full-time in their online business?
Don’t be afraid of failure or what people are going to think. No matter what you do, someone will have an opinion. Until their opinion pays your bills, don’t pay attention.
What are your plans for the future?
I’d like to continue to grow my online business helping entrepreneurs with their publicity goals. I enjoy the client work I do now, but I’m trading dollars for hours. I’d like to do less client work as my online business gets better.
I also want to learn more. Since buying my first course, and then my second, I’ve become a course junkie. I actually just wrote an article for Inc. about why I believe online courses are more beneficial than a Master’s degree. I learn so much and can implement what I learn right away to grow my business. I want to use online courses to learn more to grow more.