202.577.3350 will@willmarlow.com

(This is the second of two posts on getting your organization quoted in news stories.  Click here for the first post in this series.)

The second step to getting your organization quoted in the news is pretty easy.   All you need to do is: (a) read the newspaper and (b) keep a record of the names of reporters who write stories that you wish you were quoted in.  If you’re disciplined about clipping only relevant news stories and saving the names and contact information for the right reporters, you’ll quickly have a powerful list of journalists to talk to.

Some people get cocky with their press list.  They indiscriminately blast out mass emails to reporters, newscasters and producers, hoping that they’ll get lucky and find an interested reporter, and sometimes they do.  But this strategy will rarely result in a productive, long-term relationship with a reporter, a relationship in which the reporter relies on you for information, tips, and quotes when she needs to quickly produce a story.

To get that type of productive relationship, you should think about what you can do for the reporter, not just what the reporter can do for you.  So, take all the data you’ve been compiling on your industry that I discussed in the last post, and build your talking points around the data.  Once your data begins to tell a story, that’s the moment you should pick up the phone to make phone calls.  Since you’ve been diligently reading the newspaper and saving relevant stories, you’ll know exactly who will be interested in the story your data is telling.

For example, if you wish you had been quoted in the controversial Washington Post story from April 22nd about the supposedly dismal results of Facebook Causes (written by Kim Hart and Megan Greenwell), you might call them up and say something like: “I know you are interested in stories about philanthropy and technology, and I thought you might be interested in taking a look at some of the data we have been collecting about our online fundraising results.  Our data shows that 25% of our donors have interacted with us on Facebook, but if you look only at our new donors, over 75% of them reached us through Facebook…Not only that, but both numbers have increased 2% a month for the last six months.  The data shows some other interesting trends that I’d love to talk to you about…”

That’s the type of conversation you want to have with a reporter who covers your industry.  If you do it enough, and if you provide honest and accurate information that you can back up with data, you will earn long-term trust and attention.

Will Marlow co-founded AlumniFidelity to help his clients reposition their fundraising to benefit from Web 2.0 technology and marketing techniques. He’s working with clients such as UVA, the College of William & Mary, the University of Oklahoma, Bowling Green State University, Randolph Macon College, and he loves nothing better than a thorny marketing challenge.  Email him at will@alumnifidelity.com