The daily news cycle causes publications to compete for viewership. When each news outlet constantly strives to be the first source of a breaking story or particularly interesting news item, becoming a valuable resource for them is more important than ever.
If you become a subject-matter expert, you may attract journalists when they have specific questions about your area of expertise. This is your key to securing media coverage for your own industry or brand.
Speak to enough journalists, and you may gain more exposure for your brand while positioning yourself as a go-to industry expert.
David Meerman Scott is the author of Newsjacking: How to Inject your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. In his book, Scott states, “I’ve been a marketer for two decades, and I have never seen a technique as powerful.”
Media opportunities like these tend to pop up at a moment’s notice. But, if you’re prepared and react quickly, you can make use of them.
When the right story arises, position yourself as journalists’ go-to source by following these five steps:
1. Follow leaders within your niche
Monitor journalists, analysts, trade publications, and major blogs covering your niche, both at home and abroad.
“To find these voices, start by checking the search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing) for relevant keywords and phrases: your company, customers, competitors, prospects, product categories, buzzwords, and whatever else you can think of,” Scott advises.
You can also aggregate articles from multiple sites in one convenient place using an RSS (Rich Site Summary) feed reader such as the WordPress.com Reader.
2. Monitor your target keywords
Set up a Google News alert for your target keywords, which might include industry or trending terms, upcoming events, product releases, and the names of big players or companies within your niche.
If you receive false hits, refine your search terms by using words like “and,” “but,” and “not.”
3. Leverage Twitter
The social media strategy here is two-fold. First, track your sources and keywords by following their respective accounts and hashtags. This positions you to stay on top of breaking news. Second, many news outlets rely on Twitter for eyewitness accounts, so being vocal on the platform allows you to act as a source for comments.
“If you can post a statement to a Twitter hashtag discussion that in 140-characters or fewer adds a compelling new dimension to the understanding of a breaking story, you may be contacted instantly by a journalist,” Scott writes. “If so, you will have made the first critical step” toward injecting your ideas into the daily news cycle.
4. Compile a list of journalists and publications to contact
Use LinkedIn or a service like Hunter to create a spreadsheet of journalists and media outlets to call or email when you have an interesting take on a breaking story.
Remember, you may be competing with others for their time. So, craft an attention-grabbing email subject line and highlight what you’re offering upfront.
5. Fire off your messages
Now it’s time to separate yourself from the pack by sharing your insights with the world. Write a blog post about your take on a news story, or create a video.
When you’re done, send reporters your insights and notify them of your availability to comment.
Remember, the potential for increased exposure does come with risks: your message could fall flat. Issue one too many ill-received statements, and journalists might ignore you. But, as the adage goes, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”