This first ran on Inkling Media, my friend Ken Mueller’s blog. If you read it there, hop to the comments, which are likely way more entertaining than this entire blog post.
I’ve spent my entire career in communication. Very early on in my career, I honed the media relations skill. I spent a good three years building relationships with reporters who I called, even 10 years later, if I had a great story for them to cover.
And then the economy blew up and everything went digital and newspapers went out of business and my reporter friends lost their jobs.
It used to be that you would hire a PR firm because of their relationships with reporters. It was a lot cheaper and more efficient than trying to build those relationships yourself, in order to have them do a story on you or your business.
But it doesn’t work that way anymore. There is a MUCH more efficient way to do your own media relations without the help of a communication professional (and you can hire a PR firm for much more strategic challenges).
At Arment Dietrich, we call it the very cleverly named “response campaign.”
Your Own Response Campaign
Essentially it’s commenting on blogs, articles, and editorials where you have expertise.
You see, reporters are as time crunched as we are…and most of them are doing the job of three experts. So they don’t have time for the long lunches and coffee dates and editorial meetings of old.
But what they do have time to do is read the comments people have left on their content.
I know. I know. You’re going to tell me you don’t have time to comment.
The Response Campaign Plan
So here is what I want you to do: Choose one newspaper, magazine, or blog that makes a difference in your industry. It can be Wall Street Journal or it can be one of your trade publications. Choose just one.
Then, once a week, comment on one article, blog post, or editorial. If you disagree, fantastic! Say so. But do it professionally.
Keep this up. After about six weeks, the reporter will feel like he or she is beginning to know you and will call you for a story in the works.
Every quarter add another publication, so you have four that you focus on each year.
Don’t be afraid to go after the big publications, either, if you feel like your expertise adds value to the stories they’re reporting.
If you are consistent and post intelligent comments once a week, you’ll soon have developed relationships with reporters who call on you when they need someone to interview.
Trust me when I say it works. This is what I did with Steve Strauss at USA Today. And it worked. Really, really well (see here and here).
But, don’t worry, if you still insist you don’t have time, we can do the response campaign for you. But, rather than comment as you, we find the articles, summarize it, write some key messages, and then leave the rest to you.