One of the best ways to get mentioned regularly in news stories is to become a trusted source for reporters. The way to begin that process is to develop relationships with key journalists so they know you are someone they can trust to provide a knowledgeable response or suggest other contacts for them.
Reporters are busy people, and making their jobs easier will win you points every time.
When I start working with a client in a new industry, one of the first things I do is identify the reporters who cover that industry. I’ve found it helpful to make an introductory phone call (making sure the reporter is not on deadline) and ask what types of stories are of particular interest. Sometimes, I even ask for the reporter’s advice on where to learn more about the industry and the best way to work with him or her.
Like everyone else, reporters enjoy talking about their work and what interests them, yet few people take time to ask these types of questions before making a pitch.
It’s also a good idea to write a brief note from time to time to the reporter when you see a story he or she has done in your area of interest. It may even be appropriate to offer ideas for a follow-up story or make the reporter aware of helpful resources.
By focusing on reporters’ needs rather than yours, you’ll build stronger relationships and improve your changes for positive media coverage.
Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.