How to Become a Good Source for Reporters

Getting featured in a great story about your company is one thing, but earning consistent media placements in stories that go far beyond your company’s reach builds influence and branding that reaches much further. Positioning yourself or one of your organization’s leading minds as a regular, trusted source for reporters whose expertise is regularly featured in their news coverage is one of the fastest ways to establish thought leadership. That status is not granted with a single interview or just because someone is already a leader in their field though. It takes work, commitment, consistency and time. Here’s what it takes to become a good source for reporters in your field or your community.

The First to Respond Earns the First and Sometimes Only Interview

While I worked in the CBS Network Radio newsroom, we produced national broadcasts every 30-minutes (every 10-to-20 minutes during breaking news). When we chased breaking news on the economy, for example, we had a long list of names and phone numbers for leading economic minds across the country that we could call for additional insight. That list was not ordered alphabetically or by intelligence or even by reputation. It was in order of 1) who picked up the phone fastest and would agree to an interview and 2) who conveyed complex information clearly enough for a general audience. We would start at the top and work our way down.

If you want to land the interview, you need to respond quickly to requests and be flexible enough to reschedule the rest of your day to speak with a reporter right now. If you don’t, someone else will. I frequently had to turn down interviews with renowned economists for the simple fact that they called back 30-minutes later and we’d already done two other interviews. For those who made themselves available quickly and consistently, we were thankful. They, however, were honest about their reasons. Consistent media coverage led to notoriety, influence, recognition within their organization and additional business inquiries or book deals.

Know Your Business, But Also Know Who You’re Talking To

Being smart is one thing. Communicating clearly is entirely different. If an intelligent and well informed person can also both simplify the insight they’re sharing for a general audience and elevate it for a niche, well informed audience like themselves, that’s where the magic happens for a reporter. While these two gifts rarely appear simultaneously in the same person, luckily one of them can be learned.

Before an interview, prepare for it with your communications team. Sometimes you might have a week to prepare, but other times you may only have five-minutes on the phone. In that time, a good communications professional can identify the two-or-three key points you need to emphasize, prepare you for the unexpected questions likely to come up that you hadn’t even considered and help you amp up or tone down the complexity of your information so that it serves the reporter’s audience best. 

Be Generous and Genuine in Conversations with Reporters

Reporters and editors know you are busy and they appreciate you taking the time out of your day to speak with them. Instead of reminding them that you have to be out the door for another meeting in five minutes, try to show generosity and patience with them. Answer all their questions, check if there’s anything else they’d like to touch on and share something else with them that’s on your mind. Trust us, most of your days are not as busy as theirs, although few if any reporters will ever admit that to you. You also want to be genuine in your conversations and truly try to help them understand or tell a story well. Show that you’re a person, not just a quote machine, and connect with them as a person. 

Conclusion: Thought Leadership Is Built on Relationships

Even the smartest person in the room will rarely get called back for another interview if they made the interview difficult for everyone involved. Thought leadership built on media engagements or interviews is really built on relationships. To build and remain active in that relationship, you need to continue making yourself available, share what you know freely and treat the other person in the relationship with respect. If you can do all of that over time, reporters will continue to seek out your insight when they need it for a story (and without you needing to pitch them). And in this way, both the quality of their reporting and your influence within your field will continue to grow over time.

McDonald’s

Marketing / Communications

We help one of the world’s best brands increase sales and guest counts through reputation management and content marketing that successfully maximizes paid media efforts.
 

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Request Your Guide to Ghidotti!

We’d love to start a conversation with you about how we can create results for you. First step? Request your very own Guide to Ghidotti to learn more about our public relations and content marketing firm. This is a look inside our agency and will give you a good feel for who we are, what we do and how we partner with our clients to move the needle.


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Are You the Next Rock Star on the Ghidotti Team?

The Ghidotti Team is overflowing with full-fledged rock stars. Sure – we’re looking for the best, brightest, most creative, most organized. You get the picture. But what we REALLY want is someone who we can laugh with, depend on, learn from and do great work together. Learn more about who we’re looking for and what you can expect.

Ghidotti is currently hiring for three positions listed below – Account Executive, Account Supervisor and Media Relations Manager.

Account Executive Job Description: 

In the Account Executive position, emphasis is placed on growing independent work within the areas of project management, client relations, media relations, digital/marketing, and/or lead generation among other skills. You are the face to our clients and will play an integral role in daily communication and should be able to demonstrate tactical excellence. 

  • Write client and internal correspondence effectively and with limited supervision.
  • Successfully plan and execute client activities such as media tours, digital and social campaigns, business missions and/or other special events. 
  • Proactively identify blog content story ideas and work with the supervisor to develop. 
  • Develop relevant blogs, e-newsletters and website content effectively and with limited supervision. 
  • Successfully manage independently the execution of all client content calendars, which can include media relations pitch calendars, blogs, social content and paid media campaigns.
  • Exhibit competency and efficiency in drafting copy for client marketing materials and/or campaigns, such as website content, e-newsletters, collateral materials, paid media campaigns, etc. 
  • As it relates to social/digital media, regularly suggest ideas, manage the planning, and comfortably execute campaigns on behalf of clients. Efficiency with Canva, a plus!
  • Assist in the management of interns, when applicable. 
  • Be proficient in WordPress.
  • Easily navigate agency platforms such as Cision, TVEyes, Sprout Social, Sprinklr.
  • Depending on the needs of the service area, responsibilities may extend beyond the items above as skill sets, client contracts and other extenuating circumstances dictate.

Apply for this open position by emailing Bethany Siems at bethany@ghidotti.com.

 

Account Supervisor Job Description: 
In the Account Supervisor position, a staff member will be responsible for assisting and managing the public relations, content marketing, digital media, account services and/or creative/strategy for clients. This position requires fully developed specialty skills, a strong understanding of the industry landscape and an understanding of client priorities and objectives.
  • Serve as the account strategist/lead and oversee/play a clear leadership role on at least three clients.
  • Manage the implementation of work plans and ensure client deliverables are successfully met on deadline.
  • Play a leadership role in the sales process by identifying additional services to sell to existing clients and assisting with RFP responses, new business proposals, presentations, etc. with senior leadership or independently.
  • Display a strong understanding of and effectively communicate Ghidotti’s service offerings to existing clients.
  • Successfully supervise at least one junior staff member, including providing guidance on their professional growth.
  • Begin to play a role in the agency’s marketing efforts, guiding aspects of certain campaigns and/or helping to execute in their areas of expertise.

Account Services: 

  • Play a clear leadership role in the planning and execution of integrated marketing campaigns for clients.
  • Develop and write comprehensive strategic marketing plans for clients.
  • Handle vendor contracts and ensure proper billing.
  • Demonstrate a clear track record of successfully meeting deadlines and timelines.
  • Handle day-of logistics on behalf of clients, responding quickly and effectively.
  • Assist in providing leadership and professional development on client relations, helping team members improve their skills in managing conflict, presentations, sales, etc.

Client Strategy: 

  • Develop or oversee the visual content creation for client materials, including e-newsletters, website content, digital campaigns, marketing collateral, etc.
  • Oversee the development of marketing materials and branding campaigns.
  • Manage creative marketing campaigns on behalf of clients.
  • Demonstrate a clear track record of leading brainstorms, and providing and implementing creative ideas for proposals, presentations, etc.
  • Continually provide new and ‘fresh’ ideas for proposals, new business proposals and current clients’ marketing campaigns.

Apply for this open position by emailing Bethany Siems at bethany@ghidotti.com.

 

Media Relations Manager Job Description: 

In the Media Relations Manager position, a staff member will be responsible for assisting and managing the public relations, content marketing, digital media, account services and/or strategy for clients. This position requires fully developed specialty skills, a strong understanding of the public relations industry landscape and an understanding of client priorities and objectives. 

Main Responsibilities – General: 

  • Serve as the account strategist/lead and oversee/play a clear leadership role on media relations client accounts.
  • Display a strong understanding of and effectively communicate Ghidotti’s service offerings to existing clients. 
  • Successfully supervise at least one junior staff member, including providing guidance on their professional growth.

Main Responsibilities – Media Relations: 

  • Develop strategic media relations plans, direct management and outreach for client accounts with the supervision of Senior Leadership.
  • Perform with Senior Leadership to prepare a plan for strategic crisis communications.
  • Manage and facilitate the execution of media relations outreach for special events, programs and major initiatives.
  • Perform as spokesperson and coordinates official responses to media inquiries.
  • Conduct media training with clients in preparation for external media interviews. 
  • Support framing and development of main message points for better positioning prior to media interviews.
  • Prepare speeches, talking points and varied communications materials assisting client spokespersons.
  • Write pitches, backgrounders, press releases, key messages and blog posts.
  • Manage and monitor reporter hotline, client media relations calendar, metrics, media relations processes and press release approvals.
  • Propose ideas proactively for media pitches to stimulate media coverage.
  • Consistently pitch stories and secure strategic media placements assisting client reputation and business goals.
  • Manage and supervise media events along with initiatives defining company stories.
  • Identify proactive stories for trade, business as well as consumer media across multiple client industries.
  • Develop and maintain close media relations to improve press efforts.
  • Identify brands promoting opportunities and improve awareness of services and products.

Main Responsibilities – Client Strategy: 

  • Develop or oversee the visual content creation for client materials, including e-newsletters, website content, digital campaigns (webinar/live stream events), etc.
  • Demonstrate a clear track record of leading brainstorms and providing and implementing creative ideas for proposals, presentations, etc.
  • Continually provide new and ‘fresh’ ideas for new business proposals and current clients’ PR campaigns.

Apply for this open position by emailing Bethany Siems at bethany@ghidotti.com.

 

Rock Star Environment

We strive to create a fun, engaging atmosphere where high fives, chicken minis, and celebrations are commonplace. We lift one another up, honor achievements and reward hard work.

  1. Professional Enrichment

    Whether instructor-led, web-based or sharing during Fireside Friday, we are always learning more!

  2. Community Engagement

    We love the state of Arkansas. Our team enjoys outings to locally-owned businesses and pride ourselves on community involvement. In addition, employees are often offered free tickets to community events to get out and enjoy life with friends and family.

  3. Team Building

    Quarterly adventures for the team!

  4. Winter Recess

    We shut this place down at the holidays so we can all rest, relax and reinvigorate for the new year.

  5. Summer Fridays

    We get an early jump on the weekend every Friday during the summer.

  6. Volunteer Time Off (VTO)

    Along with your PTO, you also get VTO to use to support your favorite charity or organization.

Does this describe you?

Apply for one of our open positions or just send us an email letting us know why you should be part of this Rock Star team. Email bethany@ghidotti.com.