10 Tips on Dealing With Journalists

10 Tips to Get Famous In The MediaNever dealt with journalists before? It can be intimidating if you have never reached out to journalists to cover a case, business angle, or an interesting hobby or interest you may have.

1. Make a list of journalists who matter to your type of practice or firm.

2. Introduce yourself and your firm. Keep introductions mercifully short.

3. Take the long-term view when dealing with journalists. They may not be interested in one or several stories you would like to see published, but over time, you are likely to be quoted in an article or invited to a TV or radio interview. Think relationships, not speed dating.

4. Follow what a journalist is writing about. Go back at least 6 months before pitching your story idea. There is nothing faster that alienates a journalist is pitching the story that she wrote and published last week!

5. Be helpful and stay in touch. When something crosses your desk that would be useful to a journalist you’re trying to build, send it over with a short note.

6. If you pitch a story idea and the journalist is not interested, move on. There is no point in beating a dead horse. In fact, constant pestering will probably alienate the journalist. Remember: journalists don’t work for you.

7. When a journalist calls you for an interview, call back right away. Don’t keep a journalist waiting. Journalists are always on deadline. You may have an hour or two, tops, to return a phone call. If you don’t respond, the journalist moves on to another source—another lawyer, maybe your competitor.

8. There is no such thing as “off the record.” If you don’t want to see it in print or in a TV interview, don’t say it.

9. There is such a thing as “for background.” If you have special insight into the situation a reporter is writing about, you can supply this information by saying your material is “for background” rather than attribution.

10. If you have been misquoted, call back the journalist and explain the nature of the mistake. Try and do this in a neutral, factual fashion. If the mistake is very big on the journalist’s part, the publication may print a retraction or correct an honest mistake. Don’t ask for a retraction for a petty or trivial matter, however. It will be perceived as whining.


Image courtesy of patpitchaya / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Jana Schilder

About Jana Schilder

Jana Schilder is a co-founding partner of www.TheLegalATeam.com, a full service marketing, branding, coaching, training, public relations, and social media agency for lawyers. We have small firm focus and big firm experience. Jana was a director of marketing and communications at McCarthy Tetrault, Canada’s largest law firm with 640 lawyers, from 1993 to 1995. She was a manager of change communication at KPMG in the early 2000s where she worked with partners to reduce the turnover of junior accountants. She is also managing partner of First Principles Communication, a public relations agency she started in February 2004 with like-minded, very seasoned associates. She writes for The Huffington Post on public relations and reputation issues in Canada and occasionally writes for The Law Times, The Lawyers Weekly, and Slaw.ca on cyber-security, marketing and public relations.

Website: http://www.FirstPR.ca
Email: Jana@JanaSchilder.com
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