If you’ve ever wondered how to get the media to treat you like an expert, then you’re not alone. Many times, you’ve probably seen a news story and thought, “Wow, that could be me.” And, you would not be wrong. You can be the go-to expert to the media as long as you position yourself as the expert in advance.
- Build Relationships in Advance – Normally, you can’t just become an expert without laying a foundation. Follow relevant journalists and reporters that cover your niche and stories like yours on social media. Interact with them; if they ask questions or start discussions, take part in them. Get to know them and let them get to know you.
- Define Your Story – Work on defining your story so that you can cut it down to one or two sentences that have meaning. The right words will elicit curiosity while also letting the media know about you enough to want to know more.
- Hold Events – The media loves events. Plus, they give you an opportunity to show off your expertise. If you can plan an event that is free or paid where people show up, send out a press release to the journalists and reporters that you’ve built relationships with. This can give them a taste of how you work.
- Never Cold Call – Journalists and reporters don’t like it when people call them without any provocation. If they’ve asked for sources, or just told a story that is relevant, send them a message through email before calling. They’ll call you if they want to talk to you. If you have inside information that’s of utmost importance, you can make an exception.
- Know Who to Contact – It’s imperative that you know who to contact. Sending out generic press releases and blindly emailing editors doesn’t work. You need to contact certain individuals who will be interested in your story because that’s their subject matter and job. Ask yourself, what’s in it for them, because they’re going to ask you and you need to know the answer.
- Pitch Only Relevant Stories – Never pitch stories that are irrelevant. Find ways to make your story applicable. If you’ve heard of the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” then you get the idea. Find a connection and use that connection to make your pitch.
- Answer Their Queries for Experts – Sometimes reporters and journalists need experts to answer questions. If you’ve made a personal relationship with some, they will start calling on you if you’ve done a good job letting them know. You can also join an organization called HARO (Help a Reporter Out).
- Always Say Yes – Media work on short deadlines. Because of this fact, you should be prepared to always say yes to questions. Don’t worry; most of them are busy too so they won’t keep you longer than they must. But, you’ll endear yourself to them enough that when you have a story you want to be covered, they’ll show up.
- Become a Favored Source – By always being there for the reporters that you make personal contact with, especially locally, you can easily become a favored source and find yourself being quoted all the time. This is a good place to be in that may take some time to develop, but if you work at it, it’ll happen.
Your expertise status might not happen overnight, but the more you connect and build relationships and say yes when a reporter or journalist wants to interview you, the faster it will happen.