Three Secrets Of Dealing With The Press

by Randy Murray on October 13, 2010

While I am a strong advocate of the power of social media, working with the conventional press is still one of the most effective ways to spread your message and attract attention to your cause, product, or service. Working with the press is an important skill that many people simply don’t possess.

But it’s not that difficult. Reporters and writers are wildly busy, overworked, and on hard deadlines. They need help. And they are flooded with pitches and people clamoring for attention. When they find someone who knows how to work with them and won’t waste their time they’ll call you time and again.

I’ve had a lot of success over the years in getting into industry and national publications and media by following these three rules:

  1. Be Available
  2. Be Prepared
  3. Be A Resource

Be Available — sending out press releases will get you very little. You need to do it, but that’s not how most articles and stories end up being developed. Your first job should be to identify the publications and outlets you most want and introduce yourself to the reporters and editors. Let them know about your offering, but also let them know about the areas of your expertise. And here’s the big secret: when they call, drop everything and immediately help them. They won’t call until the last minute and if you wait to call them back it will be too late. Treat any reporter or writer’s call like they were the President of the United States. There is nothing more important than helping them.

Be Prepared — writers and reporters are always in a rush, so you must never, ever, waste their time. Yes, you’d like the president of your company to be on the news for five minutes. But you’ll get fifteen seconds. When you or anyone in your organization talks to the press make sure that you are prepared with short, detailed statements. It’s not the time to figure out what to say when you’re standing in front of a camera. Be ready with the sound byte. If it’s good, you’ll get a follow-up question. Be ready for that answer, too. This applies to print as well as video.

Be A Resource — Be sure not to just pitch what you are selling, but present yourself and the other in your organization as experts in subject areas. Let them know that if they need someone on any of these areas or anything loosely related to contact you and you’ll be happy to help them. Be ready to talk about your industry and never mention your product. Getting elevated to the expert level is money in the bank.

A really good PR firm will train you how to do all of these things, but you can get started on your own. If you follow these three steps and work with the press over an extended period of time, you’ll be surprised at how much impact you can have.

The Three Secrets Of Dealing With The Press by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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