Editors and reporters are constantly slaving over hot deadlines. And no one helps them more to meet these deadlines than reliable industry experts and trusted authorities who rapidly provide information and add clarity to feature articles and news stories — especially when time is tight. These are the people who get quoted in the news and have their names peppered throughout the Internet.
To reap the benefits of being the media’s “go-to” guy or girl for your industry, you’ve got to earn editors’ and reporters’ trust by establishing yourself as a dependable, responsive expert in your particular field. And by helping journalists gather information and meet their deadlines, you’ll generate your own positive publicity and strengthen your reputation among audiences important to you.
Here’s how you do it.
1) Identify key print, broadcast and Internet editors and reporters who cover your industry. Don’t forget on-line resources such as bogs. Journalists often peruse a variety of blogs to identify trends, search for potential story leads, research articles and generally stay abreast of industry scuttlebutt.
2) After becoming thoroughly familiar with key editors’ and reporters’ work, send each an email or call them directly — or do both — to comment on a particular story or your industry in general. Introduce yourself as the industry expert you are. Establish your credentials and offer to assist with the development of future stories. Suggest a few article ideas of your own, but make sure they’re not puff pieces about your company.
3) Start adding your comments, insights and observations to blogs that cover your industry. Project your name and your company’s name into cyberspace.
4) Maintain communication with media contacts by providing useful, unsolicited information, observations and article ideas. Your objective is to build trusting relationships, show your industry knowledge and keep your name on the media’s radar.
5) Be proactive. Contact reporters and offer your expertise when a story is breaking — or about to break.
6) Most importantly, when a reporter or editor contacts you for information, make it a top priority to respond quickly and accurately within deadline. Reporters often throw the same question to many potential sources. The first to respond with the most interesting and useful information gets quoted in the article or on the air. By not responding in a timely manner, you’re likely to erase all the goodwill and credibility you’ve established to that point with a particular journalist.
7) When a journalist quotes you or otherwise refers to you or your organization in a good way, leverage that publicity by sending the article to your clients, industry associates and other audiences you’d like to reach. Post it on your website. Use the exposure to reinforce your professional stature and present yourself and your organization in a positive light.
8) Thank the reporter for the opportunity to help with the story. Cultivating solid media contacts and establishing your reputation among reporters and editors as your industry’s go-to expert of choice is a systematic process. Do it right and you will become a vital media resource while generating effective, favorable publicity where it counts most for you and your organization.