Click Here!
Article Sections: | Internet Marketing | Web Design | Web Development | Business | Internet and Businesses Online | Self Improvement |  
>> Home > Web Development > Miscellaneous

Be Friends With Journalists

By Lois Carter Fay
Posted Monday, October 4, 2004

5 Steps To Making The Media Your Friend

The reporter is not your enemy, and he can easily be turned into your new best friend, just by following these simple steps.

1. Read the publication and know what it covers

Whether you want to get on the front page of the business section in your newspaper or you hope to be the next star featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, it’s important for you to get to know the media and what types of stories it covers. Certainly a business-to-business company isn’t going to be featured on the cover of Rolling Stone. Why? Because that magazine covers the music and entertainment industry, not companies that sell widgets to other companies.

Don’t waste your time with publications that don’t cover your industry. There are several resources available to help you determine which media cover your industry or geographic location. Many can be found in your local library. Most are available either for an annual or a monthly fee. Your local Chamber of Commerce may also have a local or countrywide media directory available for purchase.

Once you have made a list of the publications you think your company should be in, begin to find out more about them. You need to know the publication or broadcast station’s “personality” to be able to successfully pitch a story to them. How do you do that? You read a minimum of six issues of the print publication, cover to cover, or you listen to a month’s worth of the targeted television or radio program to get to know its focus and the trends it is following. You also obtain a media kit and review the demographics the kit provides.

Don’t send news releases that are not pertinent to the publication’s readership. Send only well-written, short releases with information that is obviously news about your company. Evaluate whether the “news” is really “advertising” before you write that release. Don’t waste the reporter’s time; he is busy. You will surely irritate him, and that will not be to your benefit!

2. Find out which reporters cover your industry

Your research above will help you to determine which reporter, editor, or program director you should begin to get to know. Pay attention to which reporters are writing or speaking about your industry and start creating a database.

If contact information isn’t included in the articles you are reading, look on the publication’s website. It will often tell you which reporter you should contact and how you can do that.

3. Visit the reporters and get to know them

Now that you know whom you should contact, begin to develop a relationship with them. Telephone those you would like to know and set up a time to meet. Because the media are often on deadline, it’s best to introduce yourself and then ask, “Is this a good time to talk?”

When you do meet with the reporter, briefly tell him about yourself and the company you represent and then ask how you can help him. You are not there to pitch a story about your company. You are there to find out about the reporter and his needs. (Of course, you will come to the meeting prepared with a couple of ideas and a media kit, just in case the reporter asks you for this!)

Find out what’s the best time to call, what information he would like to see about your company, and let him know that he can call you if he needs information on your company, industry or on a subject you are an expert.

Then, go back to your office, send him a brief thank-you note (mail or e-mail) and again offer your assistance. If he mentioned sources or ideas he needs, be sure to gather that information and provide it to him as soon as you can.

Update your database with all of the information you found out, including personal information. Does he have children? How many? Names? Does he cover other topics besides your industry? Which ones? Do you know anything about this? Can you be helpful to him? How long has he been at the publication? Whenever you find out more details about him; put it in your database. Then review it before you talk to him the next time.

4. Be truthful, open and honest

The truth is always the best option. Never lie to a reporter; he will eventually find out and you will never earn back his faith. Be as open as you can in answering questions, and never say, “No comment.” “No comment” to a reporter means you are trying to hide something. It would be better to say, “I don’t know about that, but I can tell you…” and then discuss a positive aspect of the story. If you can have three or four talking points about your company, you’ll be able to keep better control of the story. Just deftly bring the subject back to what you prefer to discuss.

5. Be responsive and helpful

When a reporter contacts you, he is usually under a strict time constraint. He may call you at 3:00 p.m. and have a 5:00 p.m. deadline. If you aren’t available, or do not return the call promptly, you will miss out on the opportunity to be included in a story. The reporter will find another source to quote, and he may never call you again. Writers aren’t much different than you and me—they will take the easy way out and call one or two available, reliable sources instead of expanding their network. You want to be that source.

If you see articles or find information that might interest the reporter, be sure to pass them on to him. He will begin to value the relationship and consider you a great source. This will help when you do pitch a story to him. And remember, make the reporter’s job easier.

Always provide other sources if you can for any story you pitch. If you can hand the complete story to the reporter and he doesn’t have to spend several frustrating hours finding additional sources, he will be very grateful.

About the Author
Lois Carter Fay (APR) has 30 years experience in marketing, PR and advertising. She is the founder of Marketing Idea Shop and the publisher of Brainy Tidbits, the weekly email newsletter with brainy ideas and resources for women business owners, small businesses and marketers. When you sign up for the newsletter at ( you will receive "67 Ways to Promote Your Business" free by return email.


Click Here!



  Articles are submitted to EDN and licensed from various content sites.
  To report abuse, copyright issues, article removals, please contact [violations (at@)]

  Copyright © Evrsoft Developer Network. Privacy policy - Link to Us

Contact Evrsoft