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10 ways to be a reliable source for journalists

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Editorial Staff
10 ways to be a reliable source for journalists

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, company executive, politician, or just someone with an opinion on the latest news, journalists need to know that they can depend on you as a reliable source of information. This means being prepared with answers to their questions and ready to speak with them whenever they need you. And it also means not pushing your own agenda – journalists are there to report the facts and provide context, not to advocate for one side or another. Here are 10 ways to be a reliable source for journalists – whether you’re an expert or just someone with an opinion.

1) Be Thoughtful

In order to get press attention, you need to think about how you’re going to help journalists. The best way is by being a trustworthy and interesting subject. Journalists need good sources—not flacks or self-serving sources—in order to get great stories. Think of yourself as an expert and think of yourself as a resource for others who are working on similar projects. Help them out, answer their questions, and tell them what’s going on in your industry that they should know about.

2) Anticipate Frequently Asked Questions

It’s natural that journalists will have questions for you, so prepare yourself. Think about what they might ask and do your best to anticipate them ahead of time. The more knowledgeable you are about your area of expertise, and comfortable you are talking about it, the better.

3) Know When To Say No

Reporters are on deadlines, and they’re constantly looking for experts on an array of topics. So, it is important that if you agree to give a reporter an interview you honor that. Their stories, shows, gigs and sometimes actual jobs are on the line. So it is better to say no to a reporter if you don't think you can honor their timeline, than to cancel on them last minute.

4) Have a Story to Tell

If you’re an expert in your field, become vocal about your opinions and share your knowledge with others. If you’re considered an expert in your niche, chances are you know something about it that others don’t. Sharing what you know will help make you one of the media’s go-to sources—and one of their favorite interviewees.

5) Offer Valuable Information

The key to building good relationships with members of the media is information—or, at least, it’s one of them. If you can help a journalist out by offering an exclusive story, making available an expert on your topic, giving them access they wouldn’t otherwise have or sharing your knowledge in some other way, you’ll likely win their goodwill and improve your chances of being covered in their stories.

6) Have Personality

It’s not just about being on time, knowledgeable and available. Being a media darling is also about having personality. In other words, if you look like an automaton during an interview, reporters may pass you over in favor of someone more fun to work with. Another reason why personality is important: You might meet your next big client or job opportunity at a conference or event where you’re interviewed for TV or radio, so think ahead and prepare some interesting anecdotes that convey your point of view.

7) Share Proof or Examples

When you share your expertise with journalists, they want to know that you can back up what you’re saying. Provide them with examples and other pieces of evidence that support your point of view. You might not think that other people can help prove your credibility, but chances are there are at least a few folks in your network who have experienced something similar. If possible, provide journalists with testimonials from well-known experts who believe in your work and don’t mind being quoted in their publications.

8) Create a Rolli Contact Page with Your Name & Email Address

Your contact information should include your full name, title, phone number(s), e-mail address, mailing address and social media handles. Rolli uses real-world newsroom workflows to direct journalists to you.

9) Have Something Newsworthy on Hand

Most major news publications rely on ready sources when they need something quickly. This means that it’s in your best interest to always have something newsworthy on hand. Have press releases, quotes, and anecdotes ready—even if you don’t yet know why you might want them! You never know what could happen; it’s important to always be prepared.

10) Make Yourself Easy to Contact

Journalists are busy, so you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for them to get in touch with you. Make sure your contact information is correct and easily accessible on your website. Add yourself to platforms, like Twitter and Rolli. Keep tabs on what journalists are saying about your industry or topic so that you can follow up on any conversations they start online—and answer any questions they may have.

Here is to growing your name and brand for years to come.

- Your friends at Rolli

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