How do you connect with reporters?
To help you connect with reporters, we asked small business owners and CEOs this question for their best tips. From meeting the needs of the reporters to finding related stories in local outlets, there are several pieces of advice that may help you connect with reporters in the future. Here are nine tips for connecting with reporters:
- Meet the Needs of the Reporters
- Create a Blog to Establish Authority
- Make Them Feel Noticed
- Maximize Your Visibility
- Follow Them on Twitter
- Use Platforms Such as Terkel and HARO
- Honor Reporters’ Boundaries
- Follow The Rule of Three R’s
- Find Related Stories in Local Outlets
Meet the Needs of the Reporters
Part of an effective strategy of connecting with a reporter is understanding what their goals are and then focusing on those, rather than solely on what you wish to accomplish. Reporters search for ways to create a communication connection using the interest of their audience, which can vary based on the type of publication they are writing for, and the hot topics of the day. Therefore, when designing your pitch, do not think in terms of getting your information to them, but rather, how you can incorporate your business narrative into a broader metric of what their audience desires. Providing them with relevant data, touching on pertinent topics, taking an angle on a story that drives their audience, and performing much of the legwork that relieves some of the reporter’s burden, is an effective way to interest them in your pitch, and drive further engagement.
Yuvi Alpert, Noémie
Create a Blog to Establish Authority
Reporters desire expert sources to reference when writing their articles, and one of the best ways to connect to them is by sharing your authority through a blog. Oftentimes, journalists will pitch ideas to publications in which they need expert sources to verify their takes, have access to reliable information, or experts to source, and will search the internet in order to locate that authoritative content. Creating a content rich blog, which includes valuable data, additional expert sources, links to video, and your contact information, and then updating it regularly, you can make yourself and business readily discoverable to reporters. By using your blog, not only as a promotional apparatus, but as a valued resource, you can create respect and authority within your makerspace, which in turn, will connect you to reporters.
Adelle Archer, Eterneva
Make Them Feel Noticed
Reporters love getting noticed. They want their articles read and discussed. If you convey to them that you’re making time to read their stories because you trust their reporting, you are sure to get their attention. Let them know by telling them you enjoyed reading one of their latest stories. Pull something specific from it – a quote from a source, the lead, the kicker – and tell them why you liked it. After that, you can jump into your pitch.
Joel Jackson, Lifeforce
Maximize Your Visibility
Successfully connecting with reporters entails being at the right place when they are looking for sources. You need to be as visible as possible on the platforms they rely on, if you want to gain their attention. You can improve your chances by using these platforms to consistently share your expertise or unique opinions on the subjects your target reporters work on. Your wording on these posts as well as your profile description should include searchable keywords that journalists are most likely to use when they are seeking someone with your expertise. This way, search engines lead them directly to your profile. You should also make a deliberate effort to comment on and share their posts. This strategy will significantly boost your visibility and make you memorable enough to be included in their upcoming articles, should they consider your input and expertise valuable enough.
Lisa Richards, The Candida Diet
Follow Them on Twitter
One of the best ways we’ve found to connect properly with reporters is to follow them on Twitter, and over a period of a few days start to like and interact with their content. For example, replying to their tweets and liking their activity, but doing so in a way that is as natural as possible. Once they’ve replied a few times, we then reach out to them directly to let them know we’re working with clients who can help with their upcoming articles or content requirements (as we follow journalists relevant to the niches of our clients). This approach works well because it’s not just a random pitch to a journalist from an irrelevant site.
James Crabtree, Complete White Label
Use Platforms Such as Terkel and HARO
The advantage of using platforms like Terkel and HARO is that it helps connect experts to reporters who are looking for experts in specific topics for specific articles. This is very useful to skim through the queries and find article topics from reporters that match one’s expertise and connect with a reporter by sending a relevant pitch. It is great publicity and traffic for a business when a reporter adds a backlink to their website, making it an excellent PR opportunity and a successful way to connect to reporters.
Michael Nemeroff, Rush Order Tees
Honor Reporters’ Boundaries
Networking with reporters through professional and social sites like LinkedIn helps you establish relationships and offer reporters insights. However, reporters have assignments and deadlines. Reach out with personalized messages, especially if you know a reporter is working on a piece that would benefit from your expertise, but avoid sending mass emails. Honoring boundaries builds healthy relationships and benefits both parties.
Ankur Goyal, Coterie
Follow The Rule of Three R’s
I have a rule of Three R’s: Research, Research, and Research. You can start off by looking into their LinkedIn and website if they have one. Get an understanding of their journey by going through their experience. See what direction they’re heading in, their motivations, what posts they share or like to understand what matters to them. Have a look at their social media. Do they use Twitter more often or Instagram? What does their communication on these platforms tell you? Then you want to have a look at the reporter’s writing style and the type of content they gravitate towards within their specialty. You need to get both into their work and psychology to find a unique connection with them and ace your approach. With enough practice, this rule won’t take up much of your time.
Nicole Ostrowska, LiveCareer
Find Related Stories in Local Outlets
There’s a lot of good reporting going on in your local media publication. Set a news reminder for terms that are relevant to your business. When a new article is published, read it, and decide whether or not you can provide relevant commentary. If so, reach out to the journalist or the editorial team and offer to write an op-ed or contribute to their next article. Reporters always appreciate having sources they can contact and will keep you in mind if you have the expertise.
Stewart Guss, Stewart J. Guss
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