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Julie’s Jewels

Julie Hanks

Utah social worker and relationships therapist Julie de Azevedo Hanks was popping up all over the media in May.

She was quoted in the Wall Street Journal and appeared on Fox News’ Fox and Friends to talk about clients who whine and how to stop whining. Utah’s KSL radio came a calling to interview Hanks about whether men and women can remain “just friends.”

And Hanks was one of the experts who helped Cosmopolitan Magazine answer the marital question, “Are We A Boring Couple?”

Hanks, MSW, LCSW, who has been in private practice and owner of Wasatch Family Therapy for a decade, is an expert at getting television news programs, talk shows, radio programs, newspapers and magazines to use her as an expert and regular contributor.

Hanks manages her own website, www.juliehanks.com, which was nominated for a 2012 National Association of Social Workers Media Award.

Sharecare also named Hanks the No. 1 online influencer making a difference for depression on Sharecare.com, a healthcare information website created by WebMD founder Jeff Arnold and Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the “Dr. Oz Show.”

Hanks, who is a National Association of Social Workers member, doesn’t claim to be a superwoman. Like many other social workers she juggles being a wife and mother with running a business.

However, she thinks other social workers can become media savvy.

“As social workers we are experts in what we do,” she said. “But it takes us being brave and managing our own anxiety about being on camera and being in front of people.”

She offers other social workers these tips on how to get media attention:

Get on the Web: Therapists, especially those in private practice, need to create a professional web presence. A website, blog, or a professional Facebook page allow reporters and journalists to find you. “People just assume you have a website or Facebook page,” Hanks said. “And if they can’t find you on the Internet you are not viewed as credible.”

Create consistent content: If you do set up a website or blog update it regularly. Write weekly about your area of expertise or offer helpful advice to readers. Search engines such as Google are more likely to point viewers to your website if it features newer content.

Julie Hanks (right) became a regular contributor on the Studio 5 program on KSL 5 TV in Utah.

Use video: Try speaking on video about issues you have expertise in and post them on your website or on social media sites such as Youtube. Often television talk shows and news producers scour Youtube to find experts.

Pitch locally: Would you like to appear as an expert on a local news program or talk show? Study the show carefully and figure out whether your area of expertise – family relationships, mental health, or teen behavior, for instance – would be a good fit. Do you offer something they are not offering viewers?  Call or email the producer and pitch yourself as a possible asset to the program. Hanks said she has used this approach to land regular television gigs.

Embrace social media: Social media is the new “grass roots” of social work. If the content you’re writing is valuable others will share it for you through social media. A growing social media following lets media outlets know the public already values what you have to say.

Hanks, who is a native of southern California, is also singer and songwriter and recorded her first CD during her freshman year in college.  She married and started a family while pursuing her music career and her social work education and professional endeavors.

She said she feels fortunate to be able to reach out to people through her music and use media to help others through social work.

“I am doing all the things that I love,” she said. “I’m really blessed.”

Follow Julie on Twitter: @Julie_Hanks and Facebook: JulieHanksLCSW

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