Respond When a Reporter or Producer Gets in Touch
They Won't Wait Long to Hear Back From You
It's simple. If you want attention from the media, then respond right away when a reporter or producer gets in touch. Believe it or not however, several media people have told me in recent days that it's not unusual for them to contact a professional for a quote or an interview and to never hear back from that person or to not hear back until a couple days have passed. Ironically, these were professionals who had indicated their interest in being media resources by responding to HARO queries, listing their names in expert databases, or by contacting the media directly. Yet, when the time came for them to get the media attention they were seeking, the professionals blew it.
Here’s the deal. Most media people are stressed for time and their lives are ruled by deadlines. This is especially true for print reporters, but it applies to TV and radio producers as well. So if a reporter or producer reaches out to you via phone or email, respond immediately. Don’t assume that your knowledge and expertise is so invaluable that that person is going to wait around to hear from you. Wrong! He or she will contact someone else, more than likely.
Here’s a couple other words of advice if you really want attention from the media:
• Make it easy for them to find you when you are not at your desk. For example, include your cell phone number in your office voice mail message. This message should also say how to reach your assistant.
• Be sure that your assistant understands how to handle any calls from the media he or she may take for you.
• If you are going to be out of your office for a while, make it a habit to check your email and text messages periodically. In today’s rapid-paced 24-hour news cycle, it’s essential if you are actively trying to become a media resource.
• Check your email and voicemail on Saturdays and Sundays. A growing number of reporters are researching and writing stories on weekends and many producers have begun using the weekend to book guests for the early part of the upcoming week.
Bottom line, the competition for attention from the media is fierce, especially from national media outlets. So when a reporter or producer gets in touch, jump. If you don’t, you’ll not only miss out on the immediate opportunity you were being contacted about, but it’s very likely that you won’t hear from that person again.
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