(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.
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.