How To Become a Favorite Source for Reporters

  • Explain things chronologically if possible.
  • Speak slowly, so the reporter has time to take notes and mentally process what you’re saying.
  • Tell the story twice. The first time give the sweeping overview, and then return to the start of the story, and fill in all the details. The second time around you’ll remember more and fill in gaps in the narrative, and the reporter will ask better questions.
  • Respond to a reporter’s phone call or e-mail immediately, or as soon as humanly possible. Reporters love dependable, helpful people.
  • Provide information from most to least important if time is irrelevant to the topic.
  • Allow the reporter to lead the interview if he or she comes with questions.
  • Wear a company logo, and dark, solid colors on camera. Clothes with stripes or checkered patterns look bad on television.
  • Don’t waste time. Assume you won’t have more than half an hour to speak to the reporter.
  • Answer the obvious questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why, How and So What.
  • Ponder how you will answer every potential question, and don’t assume there won’t be any difficult ones.
  • Stay on topic.
  • Offer to return as a regular guest either weekly, monthly, or as needed, once your first interview concludes.
  • Send an e-mail or note a day after the interview talking about how you appreciated the reporter’s time, or how great the story was.
  • Provide a clear call to action, if there is one.
  • Ask the reporter to summarize what you said every few minutes during an interview. This typically gives you a better chance to clarify and reiterate key points.
  • Repeat your key couple of messages, so it’s more likely to make it in the story.
  • Refrain from saying “no comment” if you can’t answer a question. Explain why you’d prefer not to answer.
  • Remain flexible with the reporter, even if he or she decides to take the story in a direction that isn’t ideal in your eyes.
  • Assume anything you say will be printed or stated by the journalist. Avoid saying “off the record” unless the reporter verbally agrees to keep what you’re about to say out of the story.
  • Work with one news outlet at a time on a story.
  • Talk in short sentences, using simple English.
  • Avoid slang, industry vernacular or abbreviations.
  • Provide a business card with your name, title, and what numbers to reach you at both during and after business hours.
  • Contact the reporter every few weeks, to remain top of mind, and find out when the publication or air date will be.
  • Post on your website and other online outlets footage of you on television. Have someone record or videotape the segment while on television, just in case the station can’t or won’t provide you with a copy.
  • Propose being on a local Sunday show or early morning show, which often gives you 20 minutes to highlight your business.
  • Pre-write tweets and a blog post, so you can quickly tell friends, family, clients and supporters when the story runs without losing time.
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2 thoughts on “How To Become a Favorite Source for Reporters

  1. Pingback: How To Become a Favorite Source for Reporters | ZYNKIN NEWS

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