I’ve worked at building relationships with the media for years and over that time I’ve come to realize that there’s no real short-cuts. What works with journalists are the same basic rules we all learned in kindergarten. To open the media flood gates and become a sought-after expert, follow those same basic rules for building relationships and you’ll be a great media expert.
To get you started, here’s a few simple tips:
- Early bird gets the worm. When the media contacts you, get back to them ASAP! Make it a high priority and never take more than 24 hours. Even on weekends.
- Pitch requests that relate to your area of expertise. You’d think this was obvious, but it bears repeating. Stick close to home when pitching and your credibility will shine through.
- Give the media what they want not what you want. To be a great interview, you need to be a great listener. When talking to a journalist, listen closely to what they’re saying and what they’re asking – don’t force your agenda. Allow things to develop organically. As a lesson in what not to do, here’s a link to one of my favorite crash-and-burn interviews – Terry Gross from Fresh Air interviewing Gene Simmons from the band KISS. I squirm in my chair every time I listen to it!
- Send journalists articles, stats and research to help them with their story. You’re the expert and you’ve done a lot of research in your field. Share relevant information and help your interviewer shine. Do that and you ensure that you’ll get call-backs!