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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Have you ever wondered how some companies always seem to obtain good placement in print publications, online, and even on TV? What’s even more impressive is that many of these companies don’t even spend a single cent on advertising. Why would they? They’re getting all of the media coverage they need simply by following a few basic public relations principles.

  1. Position yourself as an expert. The media relies on experts for their information. The news that gets printed is only as credible as the source from which it comes. Begin by selecting a news related story to comment on. It should be a story that you are qualified to speak about, aligned with your area of expertise.

    If your background is in engineering, and a building falls down, you are qualified to speak about the structure and answer possible engineering related questions. Being an expert simply means that you have a background in a specific area and can lend your expertise.

  2. Do your homework. To get coverage, find the reporter who is covering the news you wish to comment on. For example, if the news is about a specific current event, then Google the current event name followed by the name of a popular newspaper like the Wall Street Journal or USA Today. You’ll quickly find the reporters who have written on the subject. Call the newspaper (contact information available on their website) and ask for the reporter by name. If the operation asks what your call is in reference to, simply state that you have information related to a specific news item.

  3. Compliment the reporter. When you locate the reporter, and contact him, start with a compliment. Reporters take great pride in their work. Be sure to compliment their position on a given topic or their previous work. After complimenting them, you’re ready for the pitch.

    Talk to them about your position on the given news story and what you have to offer. Again, referring back to our earlier example of the building, mention that you have an engineering background and have a position on the story. For example, you might be able to comment on why buildings collapse and the structural aspects that could be the cause. Let the reporter ask questions but have a point of view. After the dialogue, the reporter will verify your information such as name and company.

  4. Leave a compelling yet non-descript message. If you’re unable to get in touch with the reporter directly, leave a message – but be discreet. You don’t want to show all of your cards before speaking to him directly. However, if you leave enough information to get them to return your call, they will call you. Reporters follow up with any leads they consider opportunistic.

    When leaving a message, simple say, “I have something you need to hear about (fill in name of story here).” Be specific with regard to the story the reporter is covering. You want them to consider your possible information valuable.

  5. State your expertise. After complimenting the reporter about their coverage on a specific article or issue, let them know your position on a given topic and why you are qualified to comment on it. Give them your pitch and be confident that your opinion matters base on the experience you have to offer.

In today’s environment, it’s difficult to attract the media’s attention. The best way to get PR for your product or service is by commenting on current stories being covered by the media. The process is simple. When you hear a news story that you can comment on, find the reporter using Google and the name of a major publication.

Read a few of the reporter’s previous articles for background and then contact him directly. Let him know that you have some information that he may find valuable or a comment relevant to the story. Be sure to provide him with your credentials. After just a few calls, you’ll be quoted in some of today’s leading media.


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