Most people think they have to talk their way into getting good media coverage. But as Judge Judy would say, there’s a reason why God gave you two ears and only one mouth. The most important asset to your PR success isn’t what you say; it’s what you hear. So perk up those ears and close that mouth of yours if you want to land those top tier media placements you so desire.

You have to listen to what journalists say, whether on the phone, in an email, on their blog, from their Twitter feed if you want PR success. Media outlets make their money by selling ads and the way they sell ads is by engaging an audience, drawing them in with content that interests them. So when you’re connecting with a journalist, editor or producer you need to take a step back. Don’t go on assumptions! You’ll really impress the media if you put their needs ahead of yours. A source that does that is a source the media will use over and over again.

Being able to articulate your message and write a great pitch are valuable skills, but are wasted — along with time — if you’re delivering them to media venues whose audience doesn’t have an interest in what you have to offer. Connecting with the media is just like dating. Talking about yourself the whole time will lead to yawns and a weird excuse from your date about how he or she has to wake up early for a non-existent business meeting. Of course you want to provide a window to who you are — what makes you unique and different from all the other sources (guys or gals) that could be courting them. But no one wants to hear your life story the first time they meet you. They want someone to be interested in who they are and someone who is receptive to their needs.

So do your research before you pitch the media. Read the magazine, watch the show, follow and comment on their blog, follow their Twitter, friend them on Facebook and find out as much about the media outlet as you can. And when you get the chance to have a back and forth with the media, the first thing you should do is ask them what they need. It could be nothing, it could be something you can’t provide, or it could be something that you are a perfect fit for. But you’ll never know, unless you ask. And once you do ask, close your mouth and open up those ears, then give them what they want.