Often times you have noticed that your competitor is getting quoted in news stories all the time and positioning himself as a ‘subject matter expert’. Even though at times he / she is less experienced or less knowledgeable than you. Often this is because, as in other situations in life, it’s not so much a matter of what you know or whom you know … but who knows you. A journalist’s source of income depends upon developing good reference sources. And today’s hyper connected age, good sources are more important than ever, as reporters are expected to produce more stories in less time, because of smaller newsroom staffs.
Here are common methods reporters use to find the expert sources:
1.PR to the rescue – Often times it’s a common practice that reporters will go to the PR people or firms that have delivered quickly and appropriately in the past.
2.Online searches – Journalists sometimes conduct Google / LinkedIn search to see what experts are tied to the subject or issue they’re writing about. And contact them directly
3.Media diplomat – Journalists often times use services of Media Diplomat a fast-growing free online service that makes it easy for reporters to quickly find sources and experts in other countries
4.Conference speakers – Journalists often find out which executives have spoken (or are speaking) at major conferences related to the topic at hand.
5.Journalist fraternity – Many times, journalists will reach out to the same tried and tested sources their colleagues, competitors and trade publication are quoting.
6.Trial and error – Sometimes reporters will go to new sources because they just stumbled upon them, met them at a reception or sat next to them on an airplane.
In short, reporters first go to sources that are well-known, because they’re the easiest to find. As a PR firm, we spend much of our time and effort positioning key executives as experts with the appropriate trade, local, regional and national media. We make introductions; we identify the topics, trends and issues these experts can address; and we strive to keep these experts top of mind with the right reporters, because, sooner or later, we know each reporter will be looking for an expert source.
Over above this you can follow the steps below to enhance your likelihood of becoming an “instantly quotable” expert for key journalists?
1.Highlight your credentials – Exhibit how your education and industry expertise can give you authority and a unique perspective
2.Make it easy – Be approachable, make it easy for the reporter to interview you, and offer good, useful quotes and information, quickly.
3.Be always accessible online & offline– Journalists want more than just email answers. Often times they want to have a real telephonic / face to face conversation with you
4.Convey the real deal – Journalists want knowledgeable sources who are straightforward. Make sure you aren’t dubious in your dealings with them. Because if you burn them once and you’ll move from “go-to” status to “never again” status.
5.In depth info – Journalists want experts who go beyond their basic talking points or key messages to provide real background, perspective and insights.