Working with the Media, Part 1: Do Your Homework Up Front

Our phone rings/vibrates when a client or prospect either wants to make news or learns he or she is about to become news.  With our staff of former reporters and government press secretaries, we are familiar with both scenarios and had success navigating clients through each one.

In this blog post we will cover the proactive angle.

Content is king.  Every reporter, blogger, correspondent and pundit has space or time to fill every day.  The explosion of media outlets and formats means there are lots of folks looking for reams of content.  There has never been a better time to share your story or your expertise.  You can help position yourself or your company as a resource by following some basic rules.

Define your specialty area.   We all can’t be experts in everything, but chances are you are very good at a particular skill set.  Write down what makes you a specialist and why.  It also helps to have some other person validate your specialty position.

Be a news consumer. See what makes news and watch for trends in your specialty.  Many stories cascade from one market to the next – local issues become national news and vice versa.

Identify, study and reach out to the right media and media people.  Don’t bother a camera tech writer with news about your latest dog grooming breakthrough.

Be accessible.  The term 24/7 is overused, but in this case it fits.  Media outlets run round the clock and need fresh content regularly.  If you reach out to the media, be prepared to respond when they come calling.

Be credible.  If your goal is to become a regular resource for media, this is paramount.  No one likes to write a retraction or correction. So have relevant facts or data handy to support your content.

Of course, all this comes with a caveat. Once you have shared your story, you no longer control what happens to it or how it is used.  So before going proactive, make sure you have thought through the various possible outcomes.  Sometimes it’s better to just read the news rather than be the news.

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