Tag Archives: media relations

Pitch Reporters with the Five W’s

Focus on the reader of the news story.

You know the five W’s of journalism:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why

There is an issue in business that you feel people need to know more about.

Maybe you want people to speak with you and take action, because there is a looming deadline for potential clients, lapsed clients, referral sources or other contacts.

Here’s how to introduce yourself to a reporter so that you will be a source for a news story on the subject.

Start by using the five W’s as a framework for developing your pitch to a journalist.

  • Who do you want to read the news story? For example: Families of teenage students or toddlers. People with aging parents. Consultants in a specific industry. Residents in a certain neighborhood or town. Be as specific as possible about the characteristics or criteria of the target audience.
  • What idea will they read about? Think of their situation before they learned this information; compare it to after they hear about it and take the steps you recommend.
  • What will they do next with your idea? Will they want to speak with you to get more information? Will they be prompted to read a page on your website or download information there? Make it easy to connect with you by including your email address or phone number. Provide the link to access the material.
  • When: Is it time-sensitive? Is there a deadline to take action before a law or regulation goes into effect? Perhaps it is simply a best practice to attend to this issue sooner or eventually.
  • Where do they look for news? Perhaps it is the daily newspaper, the regional business magazine or the industry publication. Aim to put yourself and your insight there.
  • Why will they care? This is the most important question of all. Everyone listens to the world’s greatest radio station WII-FM (also known as What’s In It For Me). How will your idea help someone save time, save money or make more money?

Once you have answers to the five W’s for your seed of an idea, you‘re ready to move forward and contact reporters.

This Month’s Tip

Use a pitch letter to initiate a conversation with a reporter.

  1. Indicate your familiarity with the reporter’s frequent news stories on topics aligned with your idea.
  2. Demonstrate your knowledge of the subject and cite a recent article, blog post, newsletter or speaking engagement to corroborate your status as an authoritative and reliable source.
  3. Pitch the story idea and underscore how readers will benefit from your insights.
  4. Include your contact information to facilitate follow-up with you.
  5. After a week or two, give the reporter a call or send a second email. Only use a shorter time frame when a deadline is imminent.

Here’s the letter I often use to introduce my clients to journalists. Adapt it for your use in the first person.

See also:
Four Ways to Find a Reporter’s Email Address 
Five Tips to Maximize a Media Phone Interview 


Let’s put the five W’s to work for you. Contact me to brainstorn some ideas for hot topics and news stories at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s start gathering names and emails for your media list. Wait for a reporter to call you is not one of the five W’s.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Four Ways to Find a Reporter’s Email Address

Email addresses are hiding in plain sight.

You conducted your SWOT analysis and compared your appearances in news stories to your competitors.

You’ve identified the local newspaper’s business reporters, the journalists at the regional business magazine and the writers at the industry publications that cover your client’s businesses.

Here are four places to locate a reporter’s email address, so you can introduce yourself and your insights to these journalists.

Check the reporter’s byline. In a print publication, there may be an email address after the reporter’s name or at the end of the article. In an article online, there may be a link to the reporter’s email address, which may open a pop-up window for easy correspondence.

Review the masthead. A print magazine will list all the reporters and editors, with the specific beats or areas they cover. It usually includes their individual email addresses and sometimes their phone numbers. Some publications include the masthead on their websites.

Look up their X (Twitter) account. Journalists may include their email address in their bio, so that tipsters can send them information privately, without broadcasting a source or idea for a news story to the X/Twitter universe.

Search for a personal website. Some reporters aggregate their published news stories on their own website. There generally is a Contact page, with either a form or an email address.

You can try contacting reporters via LinkedIn and Facebook, as a last resort. Note that many view this approach as intrusive and not respectful of professional and personal boundaries.

There are several media databases that track reporters and publications: Cision, Meltwater, Muckrack and Propel, to name a few. Public Relations professionals like myself subscribe to these databases; they are far too expensive for occasional use.

This Month’s Tip

Assemble the names and email in a database or spreadsheet. Keep track of these details:

  • Outlet Name
  • First Name (useful for merge mail)
  • Last Name
  • Email address
  • Phone
  • Status of latest contact


Reporters are always looking for new sources, so take the initiative to introduce yourself via email. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s start gathering names and emails for your media list.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Use SWOT Analysis as a Platform for Media Outreach

Conduct competitive research for inspiration, then fill in the gaps.

Here’s a non-traditional use of the familiar SWOT analysis of: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat.

Apply it to your media outreach.

Look at your competitors and find when they have successfully garnered media attention.

Then compare that activity to where you have had similar results generating news stories and reporter interest in your business.

Start by conducting an online search for some competitors and take note of the topics in focus.

Were these news stories about trends in the industry or views of the big picture? Are you prepared to address these issues and look in your crystal ball?

Are the articles about client projects? Which success stories would you like to share as case studies to attract more business?

Did your competitors describe best practices or lessons learned? Which tips and tricks would you offer?

Next, assemble the names of the publications and the individual reporters.

Do you subscribe to and read these news outlets so you can keep up with industry and local news? Do you follow the news stories, and social media accounts, of the journalists who mentioned your competitors?

Gather the results of this analysis to develop your game plan. Take steps to address the gaps you identified so you will be the one reporters call.

This Month’s Tip

Are you on reporters’ lists of sources? Reporters call the people they know. Perhaps you have missed out on being included in some articles because they are not aware you are a potential source on those topics.

Plan to introduce yourself to the relevant business and industry reporters at the local newspaper, city/regional business magazine and industry newsletter serving your target market. Use the sample Media Profile in this e-book. Next, you’ll learn how to find their email addresses.

Ask clients if they are willing to be featured in case studies and examples of lessons learned. Focus on anecdotes of how you solved problems or increased sales and profits.

Soon, you will be the one reporters call.


Now that you’ve identified the areas where you may have fallen short of your competitors, let’s step up to fill the gaps. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together, we’ll brainstorm topics, trends, case studies and best practices that will be newsworthy.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

This discussion was inspired by Kathleen Lessman’s blog post

Beware the Risks of (Not) Talking to a Reporter

Consider when and how to comment.

Talking to reporters is a risky business.

So is NOT talking to them.

Let’s say a reporter calls you for comment on your business. Or maybe the journalist asks about a trend or best practice in the industry.

Perhaps the reporter knows something about your company that you’re not ready to discuss – yet.

Or they heard a rumor about your work with a former client who is now under investigation for fraud.

Do you answer their questions in the moment?

What happens if you check the caller ID and don’t pick up the phone? You receive a voice message. Will you duck returning the call later?

Here’s what might happen:

  • You or your company might not be mentioned in the news story.
  • You or your business might be mentioned, but not referred to in a positive light.
  • You allow other parties and sources to shape the news story that may name you (or your former client).

People will read Name (Spokesperson) from Company was not available for comment. You (or your former client) appear aloof, disinterested or, worst case scenario, guilty of whatever negative aspect is associated with the situation.

Perhaps a reporter discovers a former employee has filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination. You decide to answer any and all questions with No Comment.

Do you think the reporter will stop looking for a source?

Hardly. You have effectively pushed the reporter out the door to find another person to comment on the situation.

Imagine who the journalist will call:

  • A nosy neighbor
  • Another disgruntled (ex-)employee
  • An unhappy vendor

Do you believe any of these folks see the situation similar to you and will respond favorably to the reporter?

Not at all.

Take the Call
Now, what are the risks of speaking to a reporter:

  • Speaking without preparation of key points you wish to convey.
  • Being unaware of a newly developed situation. For example, the reporter has heard allegations of a payoff to secure an RFP from the state, but you do not know anything about it.
  • Being quoted inaccurately.

Weigh these risks — and outcomes — when a reporter unexpectedly calls you for comment and you have to decide whether or not to respond to their call and what you might say.

This Month’s Tip

When a reporter calls you out of the blue, take the call and reschedule for a time when you are prepared to speak on the topic. The reporter is going to write the story, with or without you, so follow this script or a version that suits your style:

I’d really like to talk with you, but I have someone in my office now. If you would please give me your name and number, I’ll call you back in a half hour. And, in case I need to gather information from someone else, please let me know exactly what you’d like to discuss, so that I can be more helpful to you.

In this scenario, you team up with the reporter and make yourself available. Note, you have given yourself time to gather your thoughts, prepare some examples of your ideas and make them quotable.

Plus, you have 30 minutes to check with someone else who may have more details about the situation. You may wish to consult your attorney for advice.

Of course, you will follow up with the reporter, even if you have to dodge some questions because you don’t have enough information to respond in that moment. You probably may safely say that you are looking carefully at the situation; (you are in touch with your attorney) and you will re-connect with the reporter as more details become available.

While this response may not be quotable, it tells the reporter you are attentive to their interest in the story and will remain accessible for future comment.


Don’t take an unnecessary risk when you get an unexpected call from the media. Contact me at  Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll customize the above script so that you’ll lower the risk when speaking to a reporter.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue. 

Image credit: PNGkit

Patricia Kakalec

Janet spoke at the fall conference of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) New York chapter on the topic of working with the press, a discussion that I organized. Janet’s participation was enthusiastically received by this group of plaintiff-side employment lawyers, and several participants commented to me that the presentation was very helpful. Janet’s recommendations for best practices when working with the media, her sample media profile and sample press release, and her on-point response to questions gave us all a lot to think about and work with. I know I have put several of Janet’s recommendations into use already in my practice.

Five Tips to Maximize a Media Interview

Keep your eye on your agenda.

You’ve introduced yourself to a reporter and booked a date for the interview. (Or your public relations counsel has set it up.)

Here’s an essential reminder:

The reporter is not your friend.

You say you once dated the reporter’s cousin. It doesn’t matter.

You attended the same college or were members of the same fraternity or sorority. Who cares?

Your agenda when speaking to the reporter is to forcefully and persuasively present your insights and key messages, representing yourself and your company as authentically and positively as possible.

Your goal is for the journalist to discuss your ideas, and to do so in a favorable light.

The reporter’s agenda is to explore the situation in a way that brings clarity and new information, or, perhaps, a fresh point of view, on a topic vital to their readers.

They will explain why the audience should care about the subject and what they should do about it.

Even though your agendas overlap to a degree, you cannot count on the reporter being receptive to your perspective.

They may be neutral — or even antagonistic.

Consequently, you should prepare for your interview, following these five tips.

Keep these tips handy as a business size card or a tip sheet.

  1. Make a list of THREE important points. Print it in 16 point type.
    This is probably a phone or Zoom interview. The reporter cannot see that you have a cheat sheet on your desk to help you remember the main points of what you want to say. The large font makes it easy for you to read your ideas.
  2. For each point, create memorable examples. Use the FOUR A’s to keep the reporter’s (and reader’s) interest:
    Analogy: Compare your idea to something common: This is like a revolving door. It goes around and around and never arrives anywhere.
    Anecdote: Briefly give an example of this insight from experience or project a probable outcome.
    Acronym: Give a twist to a familiar acronym; ASAP becomes As Soon As PROFITABLE. Or invent one of your own; state it and follow-up with an explanation. CCW means Clients Can’t Wait.
    Alliteration: Every word in a series or phrase starts with the same letter. See what I did with the Four A’s? Analogy, Anecdote, Acronym, Alliteration.
  3. Answer the difficult question as briefly as possible and stop talking.
    Move on to the next topic.
  4. When a reporter tries to put words in your mouth, close your lips and swallow.
    Don’t repeat the words of the question, especially when they are derogatory or inflammatory. Take a breath, then proceed with your answer.
  5. At the end of the interview, when the reporter asks if there is anything you wish to add, make sure you have covered your THREE messages.
    Perhaps you were not able to mention the second one on your list; grab the initiative and talk about it before you wrap up the interview.
    If you have already shared your three messages, restate them as a summary of the discussion.

This Month’s Tip

Do not ask for, nor expect to receive, a preview of the article or your quote. How do you like it when a coworker hovers over your shoulder while you compose a report? Instead, team up with the reporter. Perhaps you will say: I know we’ve covered a lot of ground in this conversation, some of which is rather technical. If you have any questions about what we’ve discussed, or would like to review anything with me, I’m happy to help.

Better to ask when the article will be published, so that you can promote it on your social media accounts and include it in your newsletter. Reporters will be happy to learn you will drive your contacts to read it.


Be ready when you call a reporter for your interview. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s practice with two scenarios, one amicable and one hostile. You’ll know how to get your points across when a (not-so) friendly reporter is on the line.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue. 

(This discussion has been lightly edited for updated content.)
Image credit: Pixabay

Make Your News Story Idea a Birthday Gift

With a topic, source and testimonial, the article writes itself.

Reporters are always looking for subjects that will play well on the world-renowned radio station, WII-FM.

You listen to it also: What’s In It For Me?

Take the approach of identifying an issue or problem that you see among your clients.

Develop your idea and find a third party to corroborate your solution.

Or highlight a trend you observe in your industry or locale, plus a referral source who will confirm your insight.

For example:

A client bought out their partner and sought to re-name and re-brand the company to reflect the new ownership. You would discuss the key questions that commonly arise in this circumstance, along with the solution you created to address an unexpected wrinkle in the process.

Ask your client Amy Anderson to contribute an anecdote of how you resolved the issues for her newly named company.

Problem. Solution. Testimonial.

It all comes together in a package, gift-wrapped and with a shiny ribbon. The reporter hardly has to perform any work to write up the story.

This Month’s Tip

Here are three questions to get you started. Which problem have you recently solved for a client? Which referral source would make a good partner to package a story idea? Which reporter at an industry newsletter or a local business magazine is likely to open your gift for a news article? Start brainstorming from any of these points of departure and see where you land.


Let’s assemble the elements of Problem/Solution/Testimonial or Trend/Insight/Confirmation for your birthday gift of an idea. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll wrap it all up, with a beautiful bow.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue. 

Image credit: Clker-Free-Vector-Images  

Laura T. Schnaidt

We worked with Janet on a presentation that she gave to Women in Funds. Following the event, there was immediate feedback from at least half the people who attended – all of whom had glowing reviews. It was unanimously positive and people found it very helpful. We would love to do this event again with Janet and will refer members looking for advice to her as well. We met Janet thanks to Women in Funds Board member Jane Abitanta, who suggested that Janet speak to the group. Janet worked together with our organization to specifically tailor the presentation to the members of Women in Funds. Janet is Fabulous!

What’s Your Forecast?

Directory Pixabay notebook-g2d029f835_1280 Salome Maydron

Step forward now to be quoted in industry year-end news stories.

In December, reporters summarize the highlights of the past year and look ahead to the next 12 months.

Take this opportunity to gaze into your crystal ball and see what might transpire in the year ahead.

You know that reporters call the people they know; they don’t call someone they never heard of. Leaders in your industry will definitely be quoted in these articles.

Here’s how you can become a reliable and authoritative source: email reporters with a few topics for potential discussion in their year-end and forecast news articles.

Start by considering these potential topics:

  • Competition
  • Consolidation
  • Inflation and Pricing
  • New Entrants
  • New Products
  • Technology

Let your imagination wander and add other ideas.

Present these hot issues when you introduce yourself to reporters. You will be recognized as a source who has your finger on the pulse of the market, alert to the trends and concerns percolating in your sector.

This Month’s Tip

Speak up. Your predictions might be right, but don’t be concerned if they don’t work out. Twelve months from now, no one will hold you accountable, even if your ideas turn out to be off the mark. Instead, reporters will remember that you had a forecast, and they will re-connect to hear your perspective for the following year.


Will you be one of the people quoted in the year-end news story for your industry? Only if reporters know what your thoughts are. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together let’s give your crystal ball a good shake and see clearly into 2023.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue. 

Image credit: Nat Mara  

Ayesha Hamilton

I am thrilled to recommend Janet Falk’s PR services for law firms. I recently retained Janet to work on some firm related PR initiatives. I drafted an article for publication. Janet was fantastic about editing it, making additional recommendations, and, once finalized, she was able to get the article placed with a reputable publication on the same day. Janet served as the liaison between me and the reporter, resulting in quick turnaround of additional information in a way that the reporter wanted it. Janet is extremely responsive, works quickly and is extremely efficient.

When Should You Issue a Press Release?

Directory Pixabay notebook-g2d029f835_1280 Salome Maydron

Start spreading the news.

You’ve got big plans:

  • You’re launching a business
  • You’re hiring a senior executive
  • You’re opening a new office or moving to a new location
  • You’re offering a new service or product

When it’s time to share the news, should you issue a press release?

Before you start composing your draft, take a moment to imagine the outcome.

Which media outlet would definitely cover this news, because similar stories were published in the past?

For example, the launch of a new law firm, the new location of a law firm or the hire of a partner is regularly announced in The New York Law Journal. The publication bundles a few similar items together, which are published on a rolling basis. The individual mentions are usually two or three sentences long.

William Stock has opened his solo practice with appellate focus. Previously, he was an appellate attorney at Cheven, Keely & Hatzis. (NYLJ, June 25, 2018)

On the other hand, a few years ago, a press release announcing a senior hire was picked up by The Wall Street Journal in its Executive Changes column. In a two-sentence paragraph, the article said that a major international bank had hired a managing director for its private equity group.

That column no longer exists in the newspaper, sadly, so a new hire press release is unlikely to generate a similar mention. However, when the company is a household name, the press release will probably generate a stand-alone article of some depth.

Accordingly, only send a press release if the publications you have in mind have regularly covered news like yours in the past.

If not, you might be better served by distributing an announcement to your existing contacts.

This Month’s Tip

Consider these ways to share the news about your company, instead of issuing a press release:

  • Send an email announcement to your clients and referral sources, plus your many contacts
  • Add a pop-up window or prominent mention on your website
  • Insert attention-grabbing text in your email signature
  • Post the news on your individual and company social media accounts
  • Mention the update to members of your networking groups

Of course, you should also take these steps to support the press release you’re issuing.


What’s the big news at your company? Whether it’s press release-worthy or something a bit less newsy, you can make a splash. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together let’s brainstorm ways to spark a newsflash about your company.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue. 

Thanks to David Zweighaft, whose question prompted this discussion. 

Frank Abdale

One of my business goals was to write an article for a leading nonprofit magazine read by prospective clients. I published my article thanks to Janet’s guidance, strategy, support, editorial skills and her gentle reminders to stay on track. She even taught me how to promote the published article. Thank you Janet!

Adrienne B. Koch

Janet gave a terrific workshop at my firm, to a group of women attorneys from various walks of the profession, on how best to position oneself as a resource for the press. At my request, she tailored her presentation to that audience, so that her comments and suggestions were specific and relevant; she was also responsive to the group, and made a point of making sure she answered everybody’s questions. As a result, the audience was highly engaged and the presentation was very well-received.

But of equal importance, Janet spent time informally with the group before and after the presentation, sharing her insightful thoughts and ideas in smaller, more individual conversations. This made the evening doubly enriching. I highly recommend both Janet’s workshops and Janet as a workshop leader.

Kenneth J. Katz

With Janet’s help, one of our cases received local and nationwide attention from print and internet news outlets, and even from television producers. We highly recommend Janet and believe her efforts have helped raise the firm’s profile.

William B. Stock

Janet Falk is a great practical motivator: the term requires a definition. Some people are very good at setting you off in the right direction in your career, but they don’t know the mechanics of how to get there. Janet does both. When first I met her, I had been down-sized and had vague ideas about going into business for myself. She helped me set up a complete marketing plan, including everything from a website, to provocative business cards, to getting my first article published in The New York Law Journal. I am not yet exactly where I want to be, but I am unquestionably on the road. I recommend her highly.

Attn: Women (and Men) Who Want to Be Quoted in the News

Proactively reach out to reporters.

When you see someone quoted in the news, talking about aspects of your business, do you think,

Why are they talking to HER and NOT ME?

The answer is Reporters call the people they know; they don’t call someone they never heard of.

How can YOU be the one reporters call?

Simple. Introduce yourself to journalists as an authoritative, reliable AND accessible source who has insights that others in the industry or the local area need to hear.

Recently, I’ve spoken to groups of women professionals and shared the following statistics from Bloomberg News, one of the top tier media outlets that actively seek women as sources. (Men, feel free to share this newsletter with your female colleagues.)

Bloomberg maintains a database of women who are leaders in business and finance.

In 2018, there were 500 women listed in the dataset.
In 2020, there were 6,500 women in the database.

In fact, the news organization has a New Voices initiative to identify top women and provide them with media training.

Here’s the outcome of these efforts:

  • In 2018, their top news stories quoted women 2.3% of the time.
  • In 2020, 17% of the sources were women.

On Bloomberg TV:

  • In 2018, women sources appeared 10% of the time.
  • In 2020, women were 27% of interviewees.

It’s not only Bloomberg. The New York Times wants to publish more Letters to the Editor from women and The Financial Times is tracking when news stories quote too many men.

Let’s see how you can contribute to this upward trend.

This Month’s Tip

Being contacted by a reporter is like the lottery; you have to be in it to win it. Use a Media Profile to introduce yourself to journalists as someone who has her finger on the pulse of the industry. Think of trends that you see looming on the horizon. Consider big picture ideas that will spark interest in your insights. Is there an upcoming deadline that companies must meet? Anticipate how this may impact businesses in a specific industry or local area. Your ideas should help an individual, business owner or an executive to Save Time, Save Money or Make More Money.


There’s a reporter who wants to talk to you, but she does not yet know who you are and which vital insights you will tell her readers and viewers. Start composing your Media Profile. Then contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll polish your calling card for the media so YOU will be the ONE reporters call. 

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue. 

Randi (Melnick) Cohen

Janet says “Reporters call the people they know; they don’t call someone they never heard of.” She introduced me to a reporter for an interview on employment law. After my quotes were published in an online article, another reporter from the same publication contacted me on a different employment issue. She quoted me twice in one article and once in another news story. Thanks, Janet!

Nancy Goldhill

Janet promoted Staten Island Legal Services’ first fundraising luncheon in 2013 to The New York Law Journal. She was able to secure an article in advance of the event, which is very unusual, and that news story helped us sell more tickets. The NYLJ also came to the event and provided coverage of the luncheon with a prominent photo. She repeated that success for the second luncheon in 2014 as well. […] It’s no exaggeration to say that the news stories and [the launch of our] newsletter turned out so well thanks to her persistence.

Start with the End

 It’s both logical and counterintuitive

When people ask me about writing a press release, I suggest they start with the end. What do you want the news story to say?

Here’s why:

The reporter may be too busy to call and get more information. Therefore, make sure that any information you want to see in the resulting news article is included in the press release. Otherwise, it might not get into the story.

Now, let’s apply Start with the end to other situations.

Writing an article: It’s a well-scripted discussion that lets the reader know at the outset which topics will be reviewed and analyzed.

Perhaps you have had the experience of writing a draft and, in the process, you veered off on another track. You continued to develop this new thought and now you’ve arrived at a conclusion you had not anticipated.

You have two choices:

1. You can go back to the introduction and revise it to make it follow the new train of thought; or
2. You can keep the original idea and turn it into an additional article.

Networking: Elise Holtzman suggests you prepare for a networking conversation by answering this key question: What do you want your new contact to say about you when the interaction is over?

As a business coach for attorneys, Holtzman advises you compose your elevator pitch with an ear to capture the listener’s attention and succinctly cover key points about your business.

I agree; ideally, the new connection will remember an element or two of your pitch and then pass your name on to someone else. That person may be a colleague, employee, supervisor, family member or even a casual acquaintance. But if there’s nothing memorable about you, there will not be a next conversation with a potential client or referral source.

Speaking engagement or Podcast: Similarly, Diane DiResta counsels “At the end of the presentation, the audience will __. That answer is your outcome.” (2:18-2:32)

DiResta is a speech communications coach; she advises once you have decided on your outcome, you build the points of your presentation around that outcome to achieve a focused discussion.

This Month’s Tip

Help the reader or audience achieve the outcome. Now that you’ve educated the reader, listener or attendee, in most cases, your goal is for the person to contact you for your product or service.

When you want someone to give you a call, send you an email, visit your website or download a report, you have to provide them with the essential mechanism to take that step.

  • Include the phone and email address of the contact on the press release.
  • Indicate your website URL and email address in the author’s bio of your published article.
  • Exchange business cards at the networking event and invite the new contact to subscribe to your newsletter, when you have one.
  • Distribute a tip sheet or marketing literature with your contact details at the venue where you speak.
  • Mention your website and a free download in the podcast.

Remember, that news story, the article you wrote, the business card and networking conversation, plus the giveaway and theme of your presentation are more likely to travel further when you make them engaging and easy to share.


Where will you start your elevator pitch, press release, article, presentation or speech? Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together we’ll start at the end to find the appropriate beginning. 

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Ed Katz

This is one of the few times in my career when the realization exceeded the anticipation. Even though Janet was highly recommended by several professionals in the Public Relations industry, this Southern gentleman was not excited about doing business with a New Yorker. I must confess she did an outstanding job for our company. Not only did she listen to me (the customer), she was patient, persistent and persevered, and so was successful in getting our article in a key publication.

Thank you for doing such an outstanding job.

Sandra Holtzman

Janet graciously guest speaks in my NYU graduate class in Marketing. Her presentations are thoughtfully put together and demonstrate numerous points with clearly articulated case histories from different sectors. She presents a wealth of expertise and is very generous with her time and patient with student questions. Janet also speaks at my FastTrac New Venture classes and her presentations there are equally excellent.

Sharyn O’ Mara

Janet Falk was a wonderful guest lecturer at our Farmingdale State College Public Relations class. Janet shared a wealth of knowledge about a variety of public relations topics. Prior to the class, we discussed what had been taught already and she tailored her presentation to expand on their PR knowledge base. Janet covered a vast landscape while keeping things interesting and organized. Janet contributed an educational presentation to our class!

Sandra Smith

I highly recommend Janet Falk, a networking colleague who gives freely of her time to members of the group. When she noticed a reporter wanted a source to comment on first-time home buyers, she sent me the request, plus she suggested how to respond. I was contacted by the reporter and was thrilled to be quoted in The New York Times! Afterwards, Janet gave me ideas on how to promote the news story and my quote. Thank you, Janet!

Tell Reporters Your Predictions for Next Year


What a year it’s been!

Between the pandemic, climate change and elections, executives in many industries have been tossed on stormy seas and are struggling to right the ship.

Now, reporters at the industry publications your clients read are seeking ideas for a year-end article.

The focus is highlights of the year ending and predictions for the next year.

Industry advisers, observers and attorneys will definitely be quoted in these news articles. Here’s how you can be one of them.

This Month’s Tip

Consider the industries in which your clients operate.

Extrapolate from the obvious topics of the new administration and the pandemic to develop incisive themes with bottom-line consequences.

Look at:
• Trends
• Competition 
• Consolidation
• New technology
• Regulation
• Legislation 
• Litigation

My e-book, How YOU Can Be the One Reporters Call, walks you through the process of introducing yourself to a reporter.

Plus, the Appendix has questions you might answer to develop these themes.


Will you be the source quoted in the year-end news story? Only when reporters know who you are. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Together, we will gaze into your crystal ball and deliver a newsworthy forecast.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Geri Stengel

Getting in the media is a great way for a small business to establish and grow its credibility, and generate interest in its products and services. Janet provided practical and easy to implement tips that any small business can follow. My NYC Small Business FastTrac students found these tips invaluable.

Chris Yip

Janet helped me achieve my dream as a pianist: to play in a concert at Carnegie Hall. First, she arranged for The New York Daily News and The New York Times to interview me about a benefit recital I gave at the Brooklyn Music School. […] I was asked to audition for [The New York Piano Society’s] annual performance and invited to play at Carnegie Hall.

Judith Berdy

[Janet] secured announcements in The New York Times Weekend Calendar on multiple occasions; these generated increased attendance — and donations — at our walking tours and exhibitions. Sometimes, 85–90% of the attendees read about the program in the newspaper!

Penny Sikalis

Although new to the art licensing industry, Janet familiarized herself very quickly and used her business-savvy to develop unique story angles, which resulted in unprecedented coverage of the annual SURTEX trade shows in 2012 and 2013.

Lynne Strong-Shinozaki

The New York Times Weekend Calendar featured a large photo of the cherry blossom trees and write-up, as did other publications. Janet’s media outreach generated TRIPLE the expected attendance [at the First Annual Cherry Blossom Festival on Roosevelt Island] and contributed to the program’s continuation in subsequent years.

It’s Showtime!

Seven lessons for guests on a podcast interview.

Recently, I was interviewed by podcaster Bruce Eckfeldt of Scaling Up Services. The 30-minute podcast discussion focused on Essential Tools for Public Relations Success. Listen to this session or read the summary for tips on media relations, websites and newsletters.

Surprisingly, an online search of podcast interview tips reveals far fewer pointers for guests as compared to the numerous suggestions for hosts. Therefore, consider these lessons when you are invited for a podcast interview:

  1. Assemble a list of topics you and the interviewer have agreed to discuss. Print this list in 16-point font for ease of reading each topic. Only you will see the list; it will not be on camera.
  2. Think of how to illustrate these ideas with examples or anecdotes, so the concepts will become clearer to the listener.
  3. Spice up your language to make your remarks memorable. Use acronyms, alliteration, visual imagery, puns and references to pop culture to keep the tone lively.
  4. When you offer a series of points, circle back to summarize them, thereby reinforcing the sequence.
  5. Think of the questions in the interview as a string of pearls. Prepare the answer to every question in the list of topics as if it were an extended elevator pitch, each one a beautiful, rounded reply.
  6. Finally, watch out for filler speech. As you present your insights, you may say fillers like um, uh or you know. The recommended remedy is to take a pause in your speech and not say anything. This pause permits you to catch up with the thoughts racing through your mind and formulate how to convey them to the audience.

This Month’s Tip

Conduct a mock session with a colleague before you appear on the podcast. Record it on a smartphone or tablet, so you can review it, critique it and improve your performance.

See also COPE: How Writing Can Re-Broadcast Your Audio, How YOU Can Be a Podcast Guest and Use Reverse Engineering to Book More Podcast Spots.


Ready for your podcast interview? Let’s develop some topics and questions, enhance them with examples and toss in some lively language. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770 and let’s get your show on the road.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Photo credit: Michael Meyer

WII-FM? Why Should a Dentist, Landlord or Supermarket Clerk Care About Your Nonprofit or Business?

Look beyond your target market.

Every nonprofit counts on clients, volunteers, funders and local elected officials among the groups with whom they stay in touch.

In addition to these audiences, businesses might add prospects, referral sources and membership/trade associations.

Each target market has a reason to be interested in the company or nonprofit organization.

Let’s not take any of these audiences for granted. Daily, you can find reasons why they should care about what your nonprofit or business might do for them.

Now, what about the people outside those circles, those who know nothing about what you offer?

Take the dentist, who is well-educated and also a business owner.
Or the typical landlord, who is budget-minded.
Or a supermarket clerk, working the cash register all day.

Perhaps none of them have heard of your group or business and they are not likely to immediately connect with your news or promotional information.

Why should this person care about you?

In fact, that’s the same question a reporter will ask whenever you suggest an idea for a news article or an interview.

On the world’s greatest radio station WII-FM, also known as What’s In It For Me?, the focus is on what the individual or society might gain.

It’s crucial that you find a way for these indifferent folks to connect to your group or company, so they, personally — or the community as a whole — will perceive a benefit and save time, save money or make more money as a result.

  • A dentist might consider that your local economic development group will attract larger businesses (with a greater number of employees needing dental care) to the neighborhood;
  • A landlord might think the youth who attend your organization’s GED programs may get better jobs and thus be more reliable tenants;
  • A supermarket clerk’s neighbor might need advice on managing legal and medical issues for an elderly parent.

The dentist, landlord or clerk may not have a direct need for what you offer, yet they and the community may indirectly benefit in the long term from your services — or even refer someone who is in your target market.

This Month’s Tip

Look at the bigger picture from the perspective of people in these three occupations. What is their desire or need in the community? For themselves? For their business? Which are the most pressing issues for them regarding time and money? Invite a dentist, landlord or clerk for a coffee chat, ask these questions and listen as you put yourself in her shoes.


Ready to brainstorm about how a dentist, landlord or clerk might view your company or nonprofit? Call me at 212.677.5770, set an appointment here or email me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com. Let’s find ways to contact these members of the public and have them connect with you.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Image courtesy of David M. Masters.

Use the Calendar to Set (and Re-Set) Communication Goals

Check your progress at mid-year.

Have you set Communication goals for your business this year? Goals that might include developing a newsletter, blogging, speaking, doing media outreach?

Yes, these are daunting activities; many business executives focus more on the day-to-day operations of getting things done than on the bigger Communication picture.

Here are some ideas to address:

  1. Have you launched or continued a newsletter?
  2. Is your blog current? Are you blogging regularly?
  3. Have you written an article for the blog of another company, LinkedIn or Medium.com?
  4. Have you published an article in an industry publication that prospective clients read?
  5. Have you spoken at an industry conference or a networking group?
  6. Have you connected with reporters who cover the market sectors for which your insights are most relevant?
  7. Have you circulated that news story in which you were quoted?

If you did set goals, the end of the second quarter is a good time to reassess. Consider where you stand with the goals you outlined. Is it appropriate to KEEP them, DROP them, MODIFY or SET NEW GOALS?

If you didn’t set goals, you still have time to do so now.

Pause to look at the big picture.

This Month’s Tip

Make an appointment with yourself to address one of these Communication goal questions each day for the next week. As a reminder, when setting a Communication goal, the acronym S M A R T guides you to successful completion of the goal. This list integrates several versions of S M A R T:
Specific – Rather than contact the media, commit to email two reporters each week to introduce myself as a source for comment.
Meaningful – Understand why this goal is important to you.
Action Oriented – Develop steps to help you arrive at this goal.
Realistic – Assemble your resources – knowledge, funding, technology – to ensure you will reach this goal.
Timely – Set a date when you will complete this goal.


Don’t go it alone. To help you (and myself) get a better handle on setting goals, I’m creating an accountability group where each person is accountable to the group on a monthly basis and to a partner on a weekly basis. Frequent check-ins and peer pressure spur members to work towards their individual goals and to support their peers. If this approach appeals to you, contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s count on each other as we work to meet our respective Communication goals.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.