How to be Your Own PR Firm

Sharon: Meet Joe. You all know somebody like Joe. He’s an average guy. He works in your area of professional expertise. He does exactly what you do. You see him at networking events and you like him. He’s a really regular guy. There’s nothing remarkable about Joe except that he is always being quoted by the media. He’s always in the L.A. Times. He’s in the L.A. Business Journal. He’s in Accounting Today. Whatever your professional trade publications are, he’s always there. He’s a talking head on T.V. He’s always being interviewed in your area of expertise and every time you seen him, you go “Joe, why are they talking to Joe? I know more than Joe. Joe barely passed law school. We do better deals, bigger deals, more interesting work. Why are they talking to Joe?” Well, they’re talking to Joe because Joe knows how to play the game when it comes to the media. He knows how to advocate for himself or he has somebody like us, a PR firm that advocates for him, but this is something that anybody can learn and that’s what we’re here to do today. We’re here to learn how to be your own PR firm and taking the five steps to getting the recognition you deserve. My name is Sharon Berman. I’m principal of Berbay Marketing and Public Relations. We create the visibility and credibility that fuel revenue growth.

A couple of housekeeping items first before we get going: You can submit questions—you have a little box there that can submit questions through and we’ll be answering those at the end and we’ll also have an audio and video available after the webinar that you can access.

Great, O.K. Let’s talk about why. Why do we want what we call visi-credibility? Why do we want increased visibility and reinforced credibility? O.K. Some of these are fairly obvious, but if you think about them a little more, you’ll understand why in today’s world it’s even more important. First of all, you want to create familiarity with your name. When somebody needs somebody, when a perspective client is looking for someone in your area of expertise and they go to a referral source of yours and say, “I need a CPA” or “I need a lawyer” and they say, “Well, you should call John Smith.” If the answer is, “I’ve never of heard of John Smith,” you are so far behind because compared to the person who is familiar, if they say, “Oh, yes, John Smith, didn’t I see him quoted? Didn’t I read an article of his recently? Isn’t he the guy who’s always speaking?” You are way ahead of the game. If they are already familiar with you, if there’s already that comfort factor, it puts you miles ahead and if the second referral source also gives your name, that increases the chances of you being the obvious choice. It creases them exponentially. So you want to be familiar. You want to be the one who immediately comes to mind. You want to immediately make the short list and you want to become the obvious source. So it’s like, “O.K., Harry said I should call John and Sally said I should call John. I’m done. I don’t need to do any more due diligence. We’re done. This is the guy to call.” Also, this is about substantiating your expertise and creating a body of work that immediately says you are the expert. We’ll talk a little bit more about that, but this is about—expertise is not—it is if you have a Ph.D. in something, but in today’s world, it’s putting the body of work together that says, “I am the expert” and that doesn’t require a Ph.D. and in today’s world, we have to be so much more nimble and flexible that “It’s O.K. I was an expert here this year, but now the market’s moved. I need to show my expertise in a different area.” And that’s what this is all about.

So the first step in all of this is doing your homework and laying your foundation. You all know what your target markets are, who they are. They first step here is putting together your target media list. If you want to be quoted by the media, if you want to publish an article, if you want to be a talking head on TV, you have to know where because if you practice family law, you might want to be quoted in Vogue Magazine, but for a lot of people, if you do project finance, what goes is it to you to be in Vogue. So you really want to target where you are. First you want to think about journalists across the board in print, broadcast and online—and I’m going to use the word “publication.” I use the word publication in quotes because when I say publication, I mean it can be online; it could be a broadcasting; it could be a blog, but it’s sort of a generic term here. You want to know who you are targeting. Who are the journalists who are writing about things in your field? Who are the editors who decide which articles get published? Who are the bloggers that you need to be in front of? And you want to be thinking about these in terms of different lists. For example, you might have a target list for your real estate media and you’ll have your general business list and maybe you’ll have your financial list if you’re a CPA and then maybe you’ll have a legal list if you’re a lawyer. So you might have multiple lists in different industries. Just like you would code your mailing list for client vs. referral source, you want to code—I’ll call it your database. You want to put this tailored list together. You also want to make sure you have their phone, their e-mail and hook up with them on Linkedin, have their Twitter address. In today’s world, this information is so easy to find via Googol. Everybody has their e-mail at the end of an article today, the mastheads in publications, but what you want to do is put together this very targeted and tailored media list.

You might ask, “Well, what about the news wires?” News wires definitely have their place, especially if you want to blanket the world. We like tailored media lists because the secret to getting in front of the media is the follow-up and we spend a lot of time following up. That’s what talks a lot of time and effort and you need to know who you’re following up with. So you want to have this tailored list. Sometimes it’s great to have the news wires when you want to blanket the world, but you don’t know who you’re following up with. So we prefer to work with very tailored media lists. So you want to put this list together so that you know exactly who you’re targeting and following up is the key. We’ll talk more about that.

The other thing is you want to know how they like to receive information and it might that you have the opportunity to talk with some of these people or you’re connection with them just through other means. One of the key questions you want to ask is how do they prefer to get information. Some reporters like phone calls and a lot of them don’t like phone calls. Most of them will not accept any kind of e-mail that has an attachment. That’s why we will paste a press release inside of an e-mail. So you want to keep that in mind. Sometimes a reporter will say, “Tweet me. That’s the best way to get a hold of me.” So as you’re putting this list together, you want to sort of track what’s the preferred mode of communication. O.K. step one.

Step two, what does the media want? What do you need to be keeping in mind? Let’s talk about that. This is what the media wants. They want news. They want to attract eyeballs and that’s why we have this eyeball. That is their job is to attract eyeballs because whether it’s Facebook, whether it’s prints, whether it’s broadcast, their job is to help to sell advertising in terms of having interesting worthwhile information that people want to read. So that’s number one. That’s what they want. They want news. They want a different perspective. For instance, if there’s something going on in the news and everybody’s talking about it but you can bring a different perspective, that’s very valuable to them. They’re very interested in trends. What are the trends that are going on? What are you seeing in the marketplace? They’re very interested in forecasts. This is the end of the first quarter. It’s a great time to be forecasting what you think is going to be happening for the balance of the year–and one thing about forecasts, a lot of times, professionals are reluctant to give a forecast because what if you’re wrong. Nobody ever goes back and looks at it. “Well, they were wrong. They said that there are going to be more bridges built and that didn’t happen” or whatever. For the most part, these are forecasts that are your —they want your professional expertise.

And we have the hum. These are the articles and the coverage—mostly the articles that you see over and over and sometimes when I see them, I go, “Oh my gosh, please don’t tell me we’re still talking about some of this.” For example, how to avoid a lawsuit or what do you need to know in a contract when you’re reviewing a contract or it could be how to write a press release. It’s not that these aren’t valuable; they’re part of like, “O.K., we have to keep publishing about this because different people are coming online at different times and how to write a press release might not have been of interest to you six months ago, but today it is. So we have to keep repeating this information.” That’s the hum. It’s not news, but it’s also very important.

And thinking about these things, if you work with a PR firm, these are the kinds of things that you want to be thinking about and bringing to them because it helps them do their job better. When a client comes to us and says, “I’ve been thinking about something and this is where I think the market’s going to go for the rest of the year,” that’s very valuable to us; otherwise, we may be asking but it’s something that might fall through the cracks and if something’s going on in the news and you have a different take on it, that’s also very valuable.

And really what this is all about, this is all about packaging. Everybody on this call has worthwhile information for the media. You’re all experts. You’re all professionals and this is really about taking what you have and packaging it in a certain way that makes it attractive and what happens is most of the time, professionals are just too close to their work and they really have interesting ideas. You may be in traffic and something that you’re thinking about, “Oh my gosh, it’s the second time this week I’ve had a client ask about that and I’ve never had somebody ask about that before. Well you’ve just had a trend. That you could be worthwhile in terms of going to the right journalist and saying, “Hey, this might be of interest of you” because once again, that’s news. They are looking for fresh material. They’re not experts. You’re the expert. They need that sort of thing. So it’s about taking what you already have and putting it together in a way that’s going to make it attractive. I would ask you to just—to be the word today is mindful. When these things, whether it’s in traffic or whether your kids’ softball game or whether you’re sitting at your desk to just think about these things. They’re the leading thoughts that if you can start capturing them, like “This is the second time this has happened. That’s different. I wonder what’s going on. This is what I think is going to happen in the market the rest of the year. That would make an interesting article.” Those are kinds of things you want to capture, you want to write down and you want to think about how you can make them work for you media-wise or to be talking to your PR firm about.

So there are going to be different vehicles, depending on what you’re trying to achieve and we’re going to talk about several vehicles here, vehicles to get media attention.

Number one is news. You have some news that you want covered. You have a lawsuit that you just filed or you want to file. You have a big deal that just got transacted and you want to get the word out. You just finished designing this really neat building. There’s news. So here, you’re going to use a press release and we’ll talk more about that and you’re all familiar with or somewhat familiar with press releases.

News is fabulous, but what happens is, for instance, a lawyer will say to us, “I only do two trials a year. So it’s not like I have news all the time.” And we understand that. There’s only news every so often and that’s why it’s news, but what you’re looking at is how do you insert yourself into the news stream, that’s what we’ll call it, the news stream. How do you get in front of the media at other times when don’t have news? One of those ways is to position yourself as an expert resource so that just like Joe has done, they come to you when they need a comment on something going on, a trend in the marketplace, a lawsuit, something about tax season. So what we use here, we call these media quotes and we use a media pitch. The other thing you want to be looking at is bylined articles. Bylined articles are articles that are written with your name as the author, whether you wrote it or it was ghostwritten. It’s with your name as the author and they are powerful marketing pieces because you are positioning yourself as the expert again and it’s something that you wrote and you authored and they also have a very long shelf life in terms of marketing because you can keep using them over and over. You also might be interested in a profile about you or your company. To a lot of people, this is the brass ring or the gold ring on the carousel. Having a profile that your firm is fabulous because all of this comes down to the fact that it’s a third party. This is about third party credibility and leveraging the power of third party credibility. Somebody else is saying that you are the expert. If you are quoted by this third party, the media, then you must be the expert. That’s why Joe’s the expert whether he knows anything or not because if you have an article published, you must know what you’re talking about. It’s a given. If there’s a profile about your firm, you must be the guys to go to. So that’s the power of all of this.

Let’s take examples one by one. Here’s some news. This was a lawsuit—actually, this lawsuit was not even filed. It was on the verge of being filed and it had an interesting twist because it was sort of a David vs. Goliath that was street artists vs. the Ritz Carlton. The news was the result that we were after and this is just one example of the news that we were after. This was the press release that we used. You’re all familiar with press releases. If you googol how to write a press release, you’ll get a million and one hits, but everything you learned if you ever took a journalism class, the who, what, when, where, why, how and you want to get that in very quickly because we know today how fast—the fact that nobody has an attention span and that you have to get it in within like the first five seconds or somebody’s going to move in. So this was the press release that we used for this. What do you do after you have this press release? You’re going to e-mail it out to your media list. You’re going to be very selective in who you mail it out to, meaning you want to know that you’re getting it to the right people. If there’s somebody who doesn’t cover lawsuits or who doesn’t cover artwork or who isn’t of interest to them, you don’t want to send it to them because you want them to know that you have done you research. You have followed them. You’ve looked at what they’ve written and that you know they are the right people to get it to. So you want to e-mail it. You want to paste it in your e-mail and you want to distribute it and then we can talk about the next steps.

A couple of things on this. I’m showing this as a sort of a semi-linear process—O.K., news press release, quote media pitch; you‘ll see as we go on. It’s a fluid process, meaning sometimes it’s a pitch that gets the news. Sometimes it’s a pitch that gets the quotes and sometimes it’s a pitch that generates the article idea. So you’ll see it’s a fluid process and one press release you’ll see can also generate multiple opportunities. So the important thing is to get the word out and to stay in front of your target media.

So we have our news coverage here. We have our press release. That was a vehicle that we used because we wanted to get the news covered. Now once again, it’s great to have news, but you want to stay consistently in front of your markets and in front of the media. So you’re going to do that through being quoted by the media and this is one example here of somebody who is one of our clients who was quoted by the Wall Street Journal and what we used is what we call a media pitch, positioning our client as an expert resource and I sort of broke this down into components here to give you some idea of how you want to structure it and what you want to be thinking about.

The first aspect if you want to grab the media’s attention–so here’s something thought-provoking about distressed gas stations. Now, that’s only going to be of interest to certain markets and if you’re not in the market, that might not be of interest to you, but in this market, it’s news and it’s interesting and it’s something that might attract the media’s attention. It’s thought-provoking. That’s what you’re looking for, something that’s different—the more provocative, the better. I realize that sometimes professionals are reluctant to go out on a limb, but in general, the more provocative, the better.

We also have credentials, like “why do you want to talk to this guy?” “Well, because he knows what he’s doing. He’s been doing it a long time” or “He was just named as a top or lawyer” or “the best place to work” or whatever. You want to substantiate why they should be talking to him and why he is an expert and then you want to give the media some ideas about what he can talk about because the medias needs your help. Their job is to generate ideas and if you can help bring ideas to them, you’re going to be positioning yourself as a resource. So here’s about four or five different ideas that he can talk about. He can talk about the unexpected variables that affect gas stations’ profit margins or solutions for lenders of defaulted gas station loans and very often, this generates other ideas, as you’ll see. So we have this media pitch went out. This Wall Street Journal reporter happened to be doing something on it and he ended up being quoted by the Wall Street Journal. Do we prefer that our client is quoted much more up front? Yes, but if he’s quoted, we’ll work with it no matter where it is in the article.

This bylined article opportunity also came through a media pitch. Sometimes we’ll just use an article pitch pitching an article as opposed to positioning somebody as an expert, but this media pitch generated an article opportunity which is what very often happens. An editor will come back to us and say, “You know what, we just did something on that, but we’d really be interested in an article on one of the subjects you mentioned. Would Sally be interested in writing an article on something?” And then when it comes to bylined articles, we prefer that before a client starts writing anything, we know which outlet is interested because that’s going to dictate how long it is, how long the article is, who the audience is, whether they want subheads or not. Every publication has its editorial guidelines. So what we do is we usually shop it around before we say to a client, “O.K., they’re interested.” A lot of times an editor will come back and say, “That’s a really interesting idea, but can they cover the national aspect as opposed to just the California aspect?” And if you’ve already written your article, it means going back to doing additional research as opposed to knowing that in advance. So this generated the editor came back to us and said, “Would Jane be interested in writing an article on one of these subjects?” And Jane was very interested. Sometimes our clients like to write the articles themselves. A lot of times we ghostwrite articles. We interview the client and then we’ll draft the article for them to edit which makes life a lot easier as opposed to staring at a blank screen. It’s really just a personal preference. It also is just a lot easier because it takes a lot of time to write a solid article, as I’m sure any of you who are listening who have written articles knows.

Just as I said, this is a fluid process. So press releases can be used for news coverage. We sent out this press release about a deal that was done and it happened to be that the L.A. Business Journal was doing features on private equity firms and they ended up profiling one of our clients, talking about how private equity firms who don’t have money in the bank are going out and looking for investors in order to do the investing. The timing was right and this is so much about timing and that’s why the consistency of staying in front of the media is so important because we often get calls months later like, “Sharon, you sent me something about an expert who can talk about A, B and C a few months ago and I wasn’t ready to do a story then, but I am now. Can you put me in touch?” That’s like with all marketing, it’s the consistency of keeping in front of your target market because you never know when that need is going to come up. We did this press release. It ended up in a great firm profile.

So you’ve sent out your material. What do you want to do in terms of making contact? As I said, following up is really the key. You want to be judicious about it. You don’t want to be a pest. When we follow up, we’ve sent out the release or the media pitch. We’ll wait a few days. Sometimes we get no’s right away which we appreciate because it means O.K., we can take you off our list. We’re not following up into the void and then we’ll start with the round of e-mails. Then maybe a few days later, we’ll do a round of phone calls and our job is following up. It’s also staying on top of the reporters who might say, “You know what, that’s interesting to me, but can you get back to me in a few weeks because I’m really busy right now?” It’s also, “Just talk to me a few months later.” It’s, “Take me off your list. I’m the wrong people.” So once again, it’s the following up, keeping your media list tailored and not being a pest. We don’t want to be a pest. So that there’s that fine balance about how much you follow up, but the key is in the follow up.

So when you follow up, if you’re following up with the media and you’re following up let’s say via e-mail, you want to consider your subject line when you send out the press release. Most of you probably know that the subject line is the most important part of an e-mail. It dictates whether that e-mail gets opened or not. So if you had one subject line when you started and maybe your first follow-up has that same subject line, you might consider a different subject line when you follow up. If you get on the phone with a journalist, you want to ask him if they’re on deadline because a lot of times, “Oh, I’ve got to get this out right away” or “I’m filing a story. Can I talk to you tomorrow?” So ask, “Are you on deadline?” And really important here, if you want to position yourself as a resource: so if you have the opportunity to talk with a journalist—and we’ll talk a little bit more about this—but if they’re going to interview you, you have to be willing to talk with them knowing that there’s a very chance you’re not going to get quoted. You want to position yourself as a source. “I am here. I can give you background. If you need more information, you want an explanation about how this market works, more information about lawsuits in general or whatever, please call me. I’m the person to call. I will take as much time as you need.” And just be willing to do this knowing that you may not quoted because ultimately you will and you’re positioning yourself as the go-to person.

When they call you, you want to be responsive. You want to get back to them right away because they move on to the next person. A lot of times, they’re under deadline. Once again, you want to show that you are the go-to person. Sometimes when a reporter calls us, we’ll put calls out to several of our clients who might fill the bill and sometimes somebody gets back to us right away, five minutes, and then sometimes two weeks later, somebody gets back to us and says, “Sharon, you left me a message about somebody who called. I couldn’t get back to you then. What was it about?” That sort of thing. It’s the responsiveness that’s going to put you in their “rolodex.” What’s their deadline? When do they have to get this filed by? What’s their deadline on this? Ask if you can have the questions in advance. Like what are they going to be asking about? These are the kinds of things we will ask on behalf of our clients, not just let’s get on the phone, but can you tell me what you might be asking about so I can think about it and speak knowledgably and succinctly about it?

And you want to be thinking in terms of sound bites. When you read these sound bites, for the most part, they didn’t just trip off somebody’s tongue. Somebody probably got off the phone and really thought about it and really honed their words. What the media needs is something that is fast, that’s memorable and that explains things succinctly. So you want to be thinking about all of that. When you get off the phone—and we’ll often work with our clients on this if they want to hone their communication points or if they want to sort of just go through some of the questions and give us their answers so we can just streamline it—all of this goes to positioning yourself as a resource that can provide information quickly, that somebody who is responsive and somebody who can talk in terms of what the media needs and that’s what Joe does. That’s why the media keeps going back to Joe because they know that he knows how to play this game. He’s not going to give them a lengthy, lengthy e-mail in legalese that they have to get out their legal dictionary to dissect, but he’s going to explain things really in layperson’s terms in a way that people can understand. If it’s for a legal publication, it might be a little bit different, but Joe tailors his response to the audience. So you need to be thinking in terms of that.

The other thing is too—now a couple of things. When they are calling you, Joe knows some of the ground rules and he is willing to play the game. When you are talking to a reporter—first of all, nobody’s out to get you. We’re not talking about investigative journalism. They really just want to tap your brain, tap your expertise and get on to the next story, but you have to remember that the only thing you control when you are talking with a journalist is you can only control what you say and after you have said it, you have no control over it. So that’s why you hear things sometimes, “I was quoted out of context.” You don’t hear that so much in the work that we do because once again, they’re tapping into expertise, but you do hear that occasionally. I mean you’ve all heard that from the politicians. There’s no such thing as off the record. I wouldn’t tell anybody, “Well, it’s off the record” because sometimes it gets on the record and then people are unhappy. Don’t make jokes because sometimes they may sound great on the phone, but when you see them in print, they don’t really reflect well on you. So you just want to remember that if you’re going to play in this arena, you can only control what you say and that’s why it’s so important to hone your communication points before you say them. That’s what media training is all about. Even if it’s just a quick conversation with your PR firm to say, “This is what I’m thinking about saying. How does that sound?” That sort of thing. You have to be willing to say it. That’s another reason that we like bylined articles too is because you can have so much more control. Occasionally the publication will change the headline on a bylined article, but for the most part, you have control over what you’re saying on that.

Let’s talk about magnifying your results. Being quoted by the media is fabulous, but the power comes from what you do with it. I always use this example. I mean I know how many times I haven’t had the time to look at the Wall Street Journal online during the day and I go home. I’m too tired and it goes into the recycling basket, but you might have been in a front page article today and maybe that’s something I needed to know, but if I didn’t see it, then how do I know that you were ever in the Wall Street Journal? You need to let the world know. You need to leverage this. This is where the power comes from.

So what are you going do? This is one example. You’re going to summarize what the article is about and maybe have a link to your article. You’re going to get it on your website. You’re going to put it on your Linkedin. You’re going to tweet about it perhaps. You’re going to use the article in your e-news letter. If it’s an article, you’re going to have reprints done so that you can put them in your lobby and then you can put them in your packets if you ever send out a packet that you can attach them to correspondence, attach it to e-mails. You’re going to use them in a variety of different ways. So what you are after is material that you can leverage. Social media, you want it in your newsletter. You want hard copies. We’ll talk about re-permission in a minute, but the power comes from how you use this material and sometimes clients will say, “I don’t know if I’m interested in being quoted by that publication. What’s the circulation?” More circulation is better than less circulation, but to me, it’s like who cares what the circulation is. We’re talking about the fact that you have third party credibility and we’re adding it to your body of expertise and it’s going to contribute to your search engine rankings because we’re keeping your website fresh and you have something to tweet about. It’s what do you with it. That’s the power of all of this.

A word about re-permission. You do not own the article that you’re quoted in and technically you do not have the right to just copy and paste that article and put it on your website the way it is. You do not have—and I’m not an IP attorney, but you do not have the right use the masthead of a publication. So where so many publications now are making a lot of money and as a revenue generator in order to get to reprints or e-prints, they’re charging and they’re making money from it and you have to balance out what are you going to do with the article. Is it worth the money? Can you perhaps just do a summary like I just showed you? This is why we have a summary here as opposed to having this whole article. How can you make your media quote work for you, sometimes with getting the reprint permission, sometimes without, but you have to consider the fact that whether or not you own the material. It’s not just yours to use. So you want to just keep that mind.

Let’s say you went through this process and you got quoted. It’s the first time through and you got quoted. You got quoted by Law360. You got quoted in the L.A. Times and that’s fabulous, but what you are after is this body of work that substantiates you as an expert. That’s why one quote’s great. Twenty quotes is better. Five articles is better than none. Twenty articles is better than five. It’s really you want somebody to come to your website or you want to see [unintelligible] to your Linkedin profile or to see all your material laid out at a conference and to say, “These guys know what they are talking about.” That’s what this is about—and I keep saying this body of work is a substantiation of what already exists. Your expertise is already there. You have that, but this is third party credibility saying, “This guy is an expert” as opposed to you can sit there all day and tell me what great experts you are, but we all know, we’re skeptical and we’re being sold to constantly. When you have somebody else saying, “Well, they really must know what they’re talking about,” that’s the power here.

The other thing is in today’s world, you might to be need to be an expert on Dodd-Frank today and tomorrow it’s on something else, financing and the technology realm, and it’s all material; it’s all an area cover, but it’s how you’re packaging things. Two years ago, three years ago, maybe it was Sarbanes-Oxley. “I got to really package myself—take all my expertise, package it as the person that knows Saurbanes-Oxley. Today, financing for tech startup companies.” You’re doing the same work, but it’s like you have to—you’re not going to go back to college and get your Ph.D. You have to take what you have and it’s legitimate. It’s just how are you packaging this material and next year, it might be something different. So I was talking with a lawyer recently who has done a lot of entertainment work and she was very interested. She saw the market going to the fashion realm and so she’s looking at how she can package herself, take what she’s done and repackage it so that she can position herself as a fashion lawyer and she really has done it very quickly because she understood that, “O.K., let me take the same material and just put a different twist on it.” This is presuming there is all substance behind this. I’m not saying present yourself as something you’re not, but I’m presuming that once you have this expertise, you can package and slice and dice it different ways and that’s what is critical here.

You’ve seen the five steps and I know that you are all professionals and that you all warrant increased visibility and if you put these five steps into play, you can get the visibility that you deserve. Once again, I’m Sharon Berman and with Berbay Marketing and Public Relations and I greatly appreciate your listening to this. I can take questions.

“What is the best way to find and create a targeted media list when you have limited resources versus using the tool?” If you have a PR firm, then they probably, like us, subscribe to several databases so that we can do searches, we know we need to find somebody; we need to build a media list targeting media who covers infrastructure or media who covers a certain area of finance or we need a private equity emphasis as opposed to, I don’t know, an M&A emphasis or whatever, we subscribe to several databases so that we can put these lists together as a starting point. We have to still tailor and hone and refine, but they make a great starting point. So if you have a PR firm, then you can definitely ask them about that because most likely they subscribe to similar databases. There are several of them. The way to put together the media list if you don’t have this is the way I described is really what are you reading, what are your clients reading, who are the reporters within those outlets that are writing about things that relate to your area of expertise and start following them. Become familiar with what they’re writing about because, as I said too, this is a fluid process and this is a process where you want to take us, your PR firm, out of it. You want the reporter to call you directly. Once they know that you are responsive and you give sound bites and they can count on you, we’re out of it and we’re thrilled. They will call you directly and you also then have a pipeline to them where the process becomes a lot less formal. The process is, “Hey, Dick, I thought you might really be interested in this” or “I had an idea for a story.” They know that you’re going to bring them worthwhile material and that’s the position; that’s where you want to get with them and with Google News and with just Googling Today, there are so many resources to putting together a list and setting your Google news alerts to follow what’s going on. It’s sort of just culling through the information.

“What are the best practices for managing an introduction or connection between the reporter, blogger and the expert?” First of all, there’s no one way to do this and everybody does it a little differently. Occasionally we’ll even just start out with an expert letter. “Hey, John, I just want to introduce Sally Smith who’s an expert in aviancy” and sort of similar to our media pitch “and she can talk about these things.” It used to be that an expert letter got response, but today with the media so inundated, we sort of skip the expert letter and the introduction and really have gone straight to a media pitch in terms of “Here’s the thought-provoking information and this is why you want to be talking with them and here’s what they can talk about,” just what I had mentioned before and that’s sort of the introduction and then it’s building that relationship from there. Today with social media, you can also build the relationship by following people, by tweeting to them, by following them on Twitter, Linkedin, building that relationship, commenting. It’s all about those interrelationships. As you can hear, there’s no one way, but there’s so many vehicles to do it today that you have to decide which way is most comfortable for you and that’s really what we do on behalf of our clients. We build relationships with reporters so that they come to us and they’ll say, “Hey, I need an expert in A, B and C” or “Do you know anybody who does this or that?” We try and position ourselves as a resource for them just as we want you to position yourselves as a resource for the media too.

Thank you very much for listening. I’ve available to talk about any of these aspects in more detail, so give me a phone call or an e-mail. I’d be happy to talk to you in more detail or answer these questions more fully. Thanks again for listening.


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