Connecting Words to Promote Your Outreach to the Media



Magic Phrases to Use With the Media

An article By Joan Stewart

Read this enclosed article by Joan Steward, aka The Publicity Hound.

“How can I help you?”

Those are the five magic words you should ask every media person, ezine editor and blogger you come in contact with.

As a former newspaper editor, ezine editor and blogger, I can assure you that almost no one asks that question. Instead, people who want stories written about them mistakenly beg, plead, grovel, cajole and make pests out of themselves.

To get in the good graces of the media and others who are in a position to help you, here are magic phrases you can use if you have a reporter on the phone, or you are writing a pitch letter to an editor, or you’re emailing a blogger or ezine editor.

“Do you need other sources?”

Reporters love this because if you can provide names and phone numbers of other sources, they don’t have to work hard tracking them down. Reporters at larger publications usually prefer multiple-source stories. Sometimes this is the only way you will be mentioned in a story. Bloggers will really love this questions because they always want to be able to publish news first and beat the journalists. (See “How to Pitch the Best Bloggers and Create a Publicity Explosion”)

“Please call on me if you need anything. I am also an expert on.”

Reporters and editors will welcome this, and they will probably take you up on your offer.

“Would you like a media kit?”

This is a thoughtful gesture. It helps reporters prepare for the interview with you.

Here are the deadly gaffes to avoid:

1. If the photographer is there for your photo, don’t demand that other people be included too, so there won’t be hurt feelings. This puts photographers on the spot. Usually, the photographer will oblige and take a few shots just to placate you, then make a mental note that you’re a real pain to deal with.

2. Don’t be a know-it-all amateur photographer who pretends to know the correct angles, lighting and backdrops. Photographers are professionals and know their trade better than anyone else. Certainly you can make suggestions about interesting places that they might want to consider when shooting a photo. But don’t demand to know the shutter speed or f-stop they are using. Leave the final decision and the technical details to the photographer.

3. Don’t rush the photographer and not provide enough time to take a photo. Once the photographer arrives, he or she will want to look around, consider several different backdrops, check and double-check equipment, make sure the lighting is adequate, and experiment by photographing you in a few different settings. It’s also considerate to give photographers several minutes after they arrive to compose themselves and load the camera. Offer them a drink of water. Ask if they need to use the lavatory. Or find out if there is anything else they need. They frequently rush from one assignment to the next and will appreciate that you asked.

4. If you have publicist with you at the photo shoot, don’t let them act as a bodyguard. Photographers like one-on-one contact with the photo subject for several reasons. It makes you feel more at ease. It helps the photographer discover something about you that they that might not have known. Also, because photographers often aren’t at the scene at the same time as the reporter, they have a shorter window of time to get to know the person they are photographing.

5. Don’t leave the photographer waiting. Sure, emergencies happen. But call media outlets as soon as you know there will be a delay in case the photographer wants to reschedule. Every minute you make a photographer wait is one less minute they can spend helping you look good.

6. Don’t demand to see the negatives so you can choose the photo you want printed. Leave this decision to the photographer and photo editor.

7. Don’t demand that you get to keep the negatives. The negatives are the property of the media outlet. They are under no obligation whatsoever to give them to you.

8. Don’t ask if the photographer can you 10 reprints‚for free. Don’t make this request of reporters or editors, either. Call the publication and order them yourself, and expect to pay.

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