How to introduce yourself to reporters.
You probably recognize that reporters call people they know. They are less likely to call someone they have not heard of.
Reporters are professional skeptics. They will always ask two questions:
Why YOU? What makes you a credible and authoritative source?
Why NOW? You didn’t contact the journalist last week or last month. What is the reason anyone should pay attention to you now?
Here’s how to write an Executive Media Profile that answers these questions and establishes the same level of credibility as the competitor quoted last week.
1. In a five-line paragraph, summarize your areas of expertise. Select a few themes of interest to those who regularly seek your advice or services. This is not an extensive bio that lists your degrees and former job titles.
2. Make a list of three to five hot topics. Reporters focus on issues that affect readers and their businesses. In the best case, there is a clear bottom-line impact. Perhaps there is a change in the law or an industry regulation or a shift in consumer preference. Show your expertise and anticipate how this affects sales, operations and the market sector.
3. Use a bullet point format. Simply list the topics; do not use sentences and paragraphs. You’ll have time to elaborate on your ideas in a future conversation and interview.
4. Identify the publications read by your target market. Selectively contact the journalists who cover topics like yours with an email that answers the two questions: Why You and Why Now. Start by demonstrating you are familiar with their work: Your coverage of the ___ market prompted me to contact you and briefly share some thoughts on trends.
5. Follow-up with a call a week later. Reporters are as busy as yourself, so you’ll probably leave a phone message. Consider this a one-two punch and a foray into new territory. As Babe Ruth said, “Every strike brings me closer to my next home run.”
By establishing yourself as an authoritative and credible source, and by highlighting timely issues that readers need to focus on, you will place yourself in the reporter’s database for future reference, or even on a to-do list for a call today.