4 Ways to Be Ready When Journalists Need You
When journalists need a source, how do they find one? Oftentimes they rely on go-to experts, but as they work on new stories, they’re looking for insightful interviews in new places. How do writers and reporters find you – and help raise your profile and build your credibility at the same time?
It’s important to recognize that newsrooms across the country are doing more with less. Reporters at some outlets are writing an average of two to four stories per day, according to Columbia Journalism Review. That means it’s crucial that you understand a little about how journalists operate and that you make it as easy as possible for them so that you can establish yourself as an expert in your field – and a go-to source.
Here are 4 ways to be ready when journalists need you:
- Optimize your online presence so that you’re easily found
Just like you, a journalist may start with a Google search. Perhaps they need a mental health counselor in the Austin area or any top sales executive or a health and wellness expert in a certain region of the country.
Have you been working to build your audience on social media? Is your website optimized for search engines? Are you making the most of the keywords that best match your expertise?
Your small business or personal brand needs to be easily found. It’s crucial for establishing your client base, building your business and also making sure that journalists know about you.
This may feel out of reach right now, but keep chipping away at this goal. Guide My Brand works with many clients who are not yet on the first page of Google. Pitching journalists can lead to media coverage that will help with your web rankings, and that can open up this avenue of publicity to you – where journalists are coming to you!
- Make it easy for a journalist to contact you
Several members of the Guide My Brand team are former journalists, and when they were on deadline, they were not messing around. Same-day stories are the norm, while some writers have a next-day or next-week time horizon.
Journalists may reach out by Facebook message, Instagram DM or email, but a phone number is often the best way to get in touch quickly. Is it obvious how to contact you? Do you check your messages regularly?
Consider adding a section of your “Contact” or “About” page to include a line such as “Journalists on deadline can reach me at (phone number)” or “For urgent media requests, please (list the best way to reach you).”
The website DepositAccounts.com has a Media Page that can be found quickly in their footer. It includes an email address and phone number for the founder. At the bottom of each page, you can see that outlets like Consumer Reports and Wall Street Journal have featured the website. This very media-friendly design with no-nonsense contact information has no doubt helped facilitate some of that high-profile coverage.
- Respond quickly because journalists move fast
A journalist looking for a source at 10 a.m. will often find one by noon so that their story can be published that afternoon. Are you available that quickly? Are you willing to adjust your schedule to be flexible and land the opportunity?
Also, check in with yourself beforehand about the type of publicity you want and understand what you’re willing to do. There’s a proverbial saying that “all publicity is good publicity.” Be willing to expand your comfort zone a bit so that you capitalize on solid exposure. But know your limits – and be cautious about stories that may not serve your brand or that may be beyond your expertise.
Establishing your goals and bounds upfront will position you well for when opportunities come your way. You’ll be able to more quickly evaluate them and then jump on those where you can serve the audience (and expand yours!).
- Partner with a public relations team
Publicity can be a lot for small business owners and authors to manage on their own. Guide My Brand does as much of the coordinating with journalists as we can to make it as easy as possible for you. You can even give out our contact information, rather than yours, to help alleviate some pressure.
Plus, PR agencies can help you strategize to make sure you’re well-positioned for becoming an expert in your field, and they can advise you based on decades of experience when time is critical.
These strategies should be part of any book publicity plan or PR plan for entrepreneurs. Book a discovery call to learn how Guide My Brand can help you reach your goals.