Whether you’re in corporate management, a lawyer or other professional – becoming a regular news commentator can be very helpful to the success of your business.

Many will be familiar with leading lawyers or corporate CEO’s who regularly contribute commentary on television, radio, in newspapers – about areas of interest where they’re seen as experts.  These sorts of appearances provide the news media with a regular source of knowledgeable opinion – and also help those commentators build recognition and standing in an area of expertise in local, national and international markets.

If you maintain an expertise and would like to be regularly called upon for commentary by traditional news media– as well as new and emerging digital media news sites powered by social media – you can be – with a well thought out plan properly implemented.

Basic steps to becoming a regular news commentator

Beyond maintaining a recognizable expertise in some specialism, designing and implementing a custom media relations strategy is required before you find yourself being asked for that commentary.

Robert Scoble (@Scobleizer), a technology expert and well-known blogger, has written in Quora about what it takes to get and keep the attention of journalists, who often work on tight deadlines and need unique expertise on short notice.  Scoble’s recommendations can be applied to any industry sector specialist seeking to become a go-to expert for the news media.

Scoble noted that in his capacity as a tech journalist, he accepts about 1% of stories that he’s contacted about.  Some of his recommendations (adapted to be industry neutral) include:

Things to do before contacting a journalist about your expertise:

  1.  Find and follow at least 50 journalists who regularly report on areas where your expertise may be important to their readers.
  2. Ensure your expertise is something each journalist you contact – will have an interest in.
  3. “Know why said…. journalist MIGHT cover you and HOW he/she might cover you (IE, have an interesting story). If I was trying to get into the New York Times, for instance, I’d read at least 500 articles written there first and I’d even start putting them into buckets. Know what bucket yours will go in.”
  4. Keep it short
  5. “Make it easy to dive in. Do you have a blog? A video?” Etc
  6. “Work hard on a great headline. Lots of us get 1,000 press releases a day. Think about how to stand out.”
  7. “Get someone we trust to refer you”
  8. “Be persistent, but not overbearing”

Succeed with your expertise and hard work

With some hard work and dedication to thoughtful and considered outreach to journalists, you too can become a regular commentator in your area of expertise.  But always keep in mind what social media consultant Jeff Bullas (@jeffbullassummed up in his article entitled: 50 surprising tips for getting attention in mass media: “Be the purple cow. If you’re not different, there’s no reason for editors and publications to cover you.”

John Grimley provides clients with writing, editing, research and strategy services.  If you would like to discuss your specific needs — please complete the form below to arrange a time for a discussion:

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley provides custom communications services to professional services firms operating in international markets.

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