How to Establish Yourself as a Trusted Source for the Media

Introduction. Questions. Value.

This is basically the approach that I take when trying to establish a relationship with editors and writers.

The introduction can be done a variety of ways – usually it’s via e-mail, phone, or through a face-to-face meeting. Chances are you will
not get a face-to-face meeting unless you are at a particularly well-known and well-trusted company, or you’re prepared to break a story exclusively through one source of media.

Personally, I prefer to send a well-crafted e-mail. I think sending an e-mail is great for a few reasons.

– It allows you to show the journalist that you can write to their standards.

– It allows for time shifting. If the editor or journalist is busy, they can reply later.

– It gives you more time to make your pitch.

– It can be archived by the editor or journalist.

What to include in your introduction
Your name, company/organization name, brief description of your company and why you think their media outlet would want to cover your business now or in the future.

I usually ask about lead times for stories and when are the normal story deadlines. If you’re talking to a publication, ask who
to contact about press releases. If you’re talking to a magazine, ask if you can have a copy of the editorial calendar.

Asking questions is important. It allows you to get a sense of if they’re truly interested in using you or someone at your company as a
source. In addition, it allows you to provide materials and resources to their standards, which is underrated and goes along way to developing a good relationship. 

One thing to do prior to sending out e-mails and phone calls is to do some research on the media outlet. Find out who the editors are that
you need to talk to. Don’t expect e-mails or phone calls to get through without a name and knowing about the publication’s focus.

2 Comments

  1. I agree that email can be a great way to get your stories pushed through. It allows quick interaction with the editor and also can serve as a quick reference during your follow-up phone call. But, you have to be careful about relying on email as a crutch and–more importantly–about sending out formulaic emails to editors.
    Chris Anderson, editor of “Wired”, recently posted a blacklist of PR professionals who have sent him formulaic “blast” emails over the past month. This list is posted on his Long Tail blog and serves as a warning for PR professionals. (http://www.longtail.com/the_long_tail/2007/10/sorry-pr-people.html)
    This goes back to your point about research. Know your editor, their content and their readership and tailor your pitch accordingly. If you ignore this warning, be prepared to face the wrath of an angry editor.

    Reply
  2. Ryan,
    Thanks for the comment and the link. I read about this last week.
    Great point about the follow-up call. I forgot to mention that.
    Craig

    Reply

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