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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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 a Media Relations Specialist and Fall PR Intern! 

Media Relations Specialist

The media relations specialist should possess superb project management and organizational skills, as well as excellent communication and interpersonal skills with the ability to multitask in a fast-paced environment.

To ensure success, media relations specialists should demonstrate fantastic time management, great creativity with a keen interest in creating and implementing cost-efficient and effective media campaigns, as well as effectively analyze the impact of campaigns on the company’s bottom line.

By assisting the team in the execution of client activities and learning the basics of services offered across all areas of the agency, the media relations specialist will play a crucial role in supporting client service teams. 

Main Responsibilities

  • Write client and internal correspondence effectively and with limited supervision.
  • Develop content for broadcast, print and online distribution channels to include press releases, media advisories, blogs, e-newsletters and website content with limited supervision.
  • Negotiate with media channels to close competitive deals.
  • Serve as the agency’s media liaison and formal spokesperson, and effectively place client messages and spokespeople in target media outlets.
  • Scan the media marketplace to keep up-to-date on the latest media trends.
  • Successfully plan and execute client activities such as media tours, digital and social campaigns, business missions and/or other special events. 
  • Proactively identify story ideas and work with the supervisor to develop.
  • 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. 
  • Assist in the management of interns, when applicable. 
  • Monitor all campaigns, and report on results.
  • Build long-term relationships with media houses.
  • Easily navigate agency platforms such as Cision, TVEyes, Sprout Social, Sprinklr.

 

Fall PR Intern

We’re looking for a resourceful go-getter who enjoys fast-paced work in an agency environment and is eager to learn the ins and outs of public relations, media relations, social media management and content marketing.Our team members are expected to complete high-quality work, juggle multiple tasks, keep projects on track, and be accountable for results. The right candidate will be a motivated problem-solver who will thrive in a deadline-driven environment.

Responsibilities:

  • Writing for social media
  • Posting to social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter)
  • Creating Canva graphics
  • Brainstorming/Researching Ideas
  • Logging media clips
  • Assisting with video production and Facebook lives for clients
  • Building media contact lists
  • Uploading content to content management sites for clients
  • Assist with client events
  • Media Relations outreach
  • Attend internal meetings and potentially take notes for client meetings
  • Assist with office errands and organization
  • Assist with general project management and scheduling

What We Want:

  • Experience with writing/posting to social media sites and using Canva is preferred.
  • Experience with photography and/or video creation or production is a plus.
  • Creative problem-solver
  • Organized and able to prioritize work under pressure
  • Strong organizational and time management skills
  • You are resourceful.
  • You are humble.
  • You know what needs to be done because it just comes naturally.
  • You are accurate with an attention to detail.
  • You follow instructions.
  • You have a life outside of work that you love and nurture.
  • You love learning new things.
  • You ask questions when appropriate and know how to Google the simple things like your life depends on it!
  • You treat our clients and your team members with respect.
  • You are funny.
  • You are caring.
  • You are a good friend and co-worker.
  • You are creative and think of brilliant ideas in your sleep.
  • You are resourceful. It’s so important that we’re mentioning it again!

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?

To apply, please submit the following via email to careers@ghidotti.com

  1. Cover letter and PDF of your resume 
  2. References: 2-3 minimum
  3. Tell us how you heard about this position