How to Get Your Material to the Right Reporter

If you've identified a key press contact, how do you make sure he or she will actually see your material?

You can call cold without sending a press release, or call after having sent a news release.

Many of my clients set up a schedule to call three to five media a day and do nothing else. They find that cold calling media works very well. If you do this, you create a prioritized media list and call the most important media first. Then work your way down the list.

Here is a short cold-calling script that works really well:
Hello, I've got a story about ----------------. (in three seconds).
I think this is something you'll be interested in writing about.
Are you the right person to talk to about this story?
If they are not the right person, then ask for the name and phone number for the right person. Get it, and then ask to be transferred; get the right person on the phone.

Once you have the right person, your next question is:
Is this a good time? Can you give me a couple of minutes?
If no, ask when a good time would be. Then call back at that time.
If yes, then give your best 30-second pitch. Make sure you end your pitch with:
I can send you a media kit and a review copy, and then get back to you about doing a story. Where can I send it so it gets right into your hands?

Your goal is to see if they will write a feature story about you or book you for an interview.

Some journalists may need to be convinced that you have something worth looking at and that it fits their beat.

Be familiar with your product or news release and news angle. Be ready with the facts, have all materials near at hand. Be ready to fax information immediately. Be ready to express media kit materials overnight.

And have your best thirty second pitch prepared and ready to go. With your 30-second pitch and all other materials in hand and ready to go you call your media.

So if your contacts are undecided, continue asking what information you need to provide them to get them to a favorable decision.
Make sure you offer additional information. Say:
"Would you like additional information about this story?"
If they say yes, get their address for an overnight package. And send your media kit and all the materials they've asked for and they need.
If they say no, press for additional information. Ask, "What would you need to do a feature on this story?"
And listen closely for the editor's (or reporter's) needs. Think very hard about what the editor says to you.
Your specific goal is to identify that special unique news angle and readership interest that the media is looking for.
Take notes, develop the information or news angle, and then write the editor back with the new material.
Then call and follow up to make sure the editor receives and acknowledges the receipt of the material.

You are entering into collaboration with the editor as he or she writes the article. You may end up sending an editor material several times, talking with the editor several times, and getting into areas where you are feeling lost and uncertain. Media editors are very good at zeroing in on inconsistencies and areas of weakness. Be prepared. Do not turn hostile. If you need to defer a question, say, "I think I need to do some research and get back to you with the information about that question."

Be patient, be considerate, be as helpful as you can, be honest, and be professional.

Just remember to give the editor what he or she needs. Do that and you will get what you are asking for. Free publicity.

And keep on trying.

Paul J. Krupin is President of Direct Contact, which operates IMEDIAFAX The Internet to Media Fax Service, and author of "Trash Proof News Releases." When Krupin tells you the media like a certain angle or format, he knows--because he went out and asked them. He has worked with numerous best selling authors on everything from Chicken Soup to publicizing Net events to electronic newsletters.

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