Helping you get media coverage
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Effective Media Relations

You may be a speaker, a consultant, the owner of a small business, a staff or board member of a non-profit association, or involved in communications in a corporate or government setting. You know that promotion and publicity are crucial to success, and you know that getting media attention is one of the very best ways of getting publicity.

Media coverage is arguably the most valuable kind of publicity there is - it is based on the news value of what you do or say, and is therefore more inherently credible than advertising, which is paid for. Plus the potential reach of the media coverage you can earn far exceeds the reach of any advertising you can possibly afford.

The problem is: how do you get the media to pay attention to you? For many people, that is a problem they feel uncomfortable tackling.

If there is one key message that runs through the articles that have appeared in The Sources HotLink through the years, it is that media relations is human relations. Journalism - broadcast, print, or online - is about telling stories, and compelling stories are about people and their lives. If they are going to give their viewers or readers interesting stories, journalists need people to talk to, human contacts, people who can provide quotes and background, people who can make the story interesting.

There are certainly techniques and strategies for dealing with the media. But it's important not to get carried away by them. The key thing is to be authentic, to be yourself, not to sound rehearsed or phony.

If you get a call from the media, they are in all likelihood going to be calling you to ask you about a topic that you know about and that you feel passionate about. In fact, the likelihood is that you know a lot about the topic in question because you're passionate about it. This is important: Figure out what moves you and what you know about, and you'll be a long way along when it comes to developing your media "strategy".

Your relationships with journalists can be important to your success. All too often, however, we only think of these relationships as something to call upon when we need them. However, like any living thing, our relationships with journalists need to be maintained over time in order to be fruitful.

Journalists turn to you for information if they know they can rely on you for credible, accurate information, not self-serving advertorial. By forwarding interesting news about research, developments and ongoing trends in your field - not necessarily directly about yourself or your organization - that you pick up at conferences, events or from colleagues, you can nurture a mutually beneficial relationship with journalists that will reward you hundred-fold.

Take the time to get to know the reporters you want to reach. Do a search through their publications' archives, often available on the Internet. Read articles they have written that relate to your issues. Each reporter has a different interests and priorities. By tailoring your approach to a reporter, you can greatly increase your chances of getting coverage.

The basics always apply. All the relationship nurturing in the world won't benefit you if you fail to return journalists' calls within the day, don't provide clear, concise, relevant story information, and don't have additional graphic, video and print materials.

With proper care, the relationships you and your organization develop with journalists can last a lifetime - and benefit everyone.

Finally, a word about Sources, the publisher of The Sources HotLink. Sources is designed to get journalists to call you. Reporters and broadcasters need knowledgeable sources to interview and quote when they write stories or line up guests. The Sources directory is the first place most journalists turn to when they need to find experts and spokespersons. Even when they're doing a search on Google or another search engine, they are likely to be led to your Sources listing -- Google alone has more than 89,000 index entries pointing searchers to the experts -- like you -- on the Sources site!

Sources works because it gives journalists what they most need in their day-to-day work: a wealth of human contacts - people like you - offering a wide range of views and expertise, ready and willing to speak to the media. That's why a Sources listing complements and magnifies your other efforts to publicize yourself.

See also:

How Sources magnifies your Internet visibility

Nurturing your relationships with reporters