More than half of the media interviews I’ve given over the years came to me without any effort on my part. Why? Because I have positioned myself as an authority.
Many interviews have come from reporters who found my blog. When the recession was just starting, I wrote several blog posts about how I was going to do business in the recession (a timely topic that every news outlet was frantically covering). That’s when I learned that reporters, editors, and producers use Google to find sources. They would locate my blog, discover that I was also an author, and that led to numerous interviews with print, radio and television. I even ended up giving a live interview to Sunrise 7, Australia’s version of the Today Show. They featured me as the U.S. representative for what was happening in the small business economy!
Just last week I gave an interview to a reporter who found my books on Amazon. My books have attracted many interviews like this one. Reporters absolutely search Amazon to find sources to interview.
I’ve also been interviewed by reporters who found me on Twitter. One way to boost your chances of getting found by reporters is to follow them on Twitter first! You can search Google and Twitter to find many media professionals. Another great place to locate media pros on Twitter is via http://muckrack.com. By following them, the hope is that they will follow you back and pay attention to your activity. You can also tweet them directly to compliment a story or offer additional thoughts on a story.
To position yourself as an authority who gets found for media interviews, begin building your media portfolio. Remember to update the Media page on your website. Demonstrate that you are an experienced and reliable source. If you are consistently promoting your work online, you will begin to attract these types of opportunities.
Help a Reporter Out
Help a Reporter (http://helpareporter.com) is a public relations service that connects media professionals with sources. Three times per day, emails are sent out to subscribers featuring queries (interview requests) from reporters, producers, and bloggers like me.
Recently I sent out a request for interviews with entrepreneurs and business book authors for my blog and received over 200 responses. Fabulous! What wasn’t so fabulous was how many responses I had to delete.
In my query, I specifically asked respondents to send one paragraph describing their business or book. Instead, I received an influx of essays and canned company descriptions copied and pasted by PR firms. I waded through 200 messages, growing more annoyed with the laziness of the responses and the inability to follow a simple direction.
One surprising revelation was that some people feel that it is no longer important in society to write in full sentences. Apparently we can simply ignore capitalization, punctuation and complete words and instead submit a media response as if answering a text message!
Hello! LOL OMG WTH?
Oh, and my favorites were the ones who sent a link to “learn more about me here.” No supporting text, no single paragraph as requested, just a link.
I also received responses from:
- People who formerly owned a business
- People who claimed to own multiple businesses but failed to mention what any of them were
- Aspiring authors who hadn’t yet published
- One schmuck who repeatedly asked me to review his product
- PR firms that provided an extensive list of clients they deemed appropriate
- A surprising number of PR firms who pitched themselves as sources! (Can’t say I blame them, though.)
If you want to get interviews from HARO requests, follow the directions of the media pro. If asked to send a single paragraph, do that. Make it interesting and get to the point. I’ll also add that those who made a point of connecting with me, mentioning my books or articles, or reaching out via Twitter also caught my attention. Reporters get inundated with HARO responses and it’s actually pretty easy to stand out if you respond as requested.
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