One of the age old problems facing businesses in doing their own PR is getting the attention of journalists.

You might assume you can’t compete with the big boys – too small, no profile, don’t have the budget, don’t have the contacts. The truth is that you can compete. And, you can compete very well.

10 tips for helping journalists find experts like you

First, you need to get your head round the strategic side of your PR. In a nutshell, you need to be clear about what you want to achieve and why with connecting with the media. Why does that make a difference? Your time is precious and you need to ensure that the opportunities you follow up on are exactly the ones that will move you in the direction you want to go.

Then, you need to make it as easy as possible for journalists to find you. The following tips will help you on your way with that.

  1. Your website – think about it for a second, a journalist wants to source someone to comment on a particular news story – where do they go? Many, at some point, will use search engines – that’s worth considering. Do you have information on your website tailored for the press and media, how are you showcasing your expertise?
  2. Online coverage – yes, this one is a bit of an endless circle. The more online visibility you have the more likely journalists will spot you and then seek you out. Are you guest blogging and writing articles for the relevant websites to showcase your expertise and position yourself as an expert?
  3. Journalist databases – there are two databases worth looking at that journalists use for sourcing experts, Expert Sources and Find a TV Expert – you can place profiles on them for a fee. There are other free databases too. The Women’s Room is one that lists women experts and tries to encourage more gender balance of experts being featured in the media.
  4. Direct approach – it’s a good idea to track what your key target journalists are reporting on/who is writing the type of articles that would provide great profile for you and your business. Contact them direct with a tailored approach if you think you have something that will interest them or could provide valuable insight or comment.
  5. In response to requests – the hashtag #journorequest is used by journalists on Twitter looking for sources.
  6. Facebook groups – some journalists use Facebook groups – their own or posting in others to source experts for comment.
  7. There are also several email/online journalist request services you can subscribe to including Response Source. A similar free service is PressQuest. Plus, check out Help a Reporter Out and Sourcebottle which send out requests via email.
  8. If you belong to any professional bodies or membership associations then it is worth checking with whoever runs them – they may well receive press and media requests direct.
  9. Special interest groups, websites and forums. For example, the big parenting websites will often mention media requests from journalists who have been in touch. Makes sense, doesn’t it? A journalist wants to talk to a parent, so they go to one of the big parenting websites and asks them to put something out to their tribe.
  10. Mailing lists – some journalists also send out requests to their mailing list about what they are working on and help they need.

In a nutshell: If you want to be visible to journalists then you need to understand where they get their sources from and meet them there.

How do you connect with journalists, what methods work for you?

Image credit: Debbie Leven

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