Written by Colette Mason

Did you know that journalists are crying out for information from informed commentators within your industry – because they are.  Journalists are researchers and communicators, not commentators on all subjects they cover (as a general rule) and so they need your help to complete their writing.

Watch the video or read on…

Experts can be found in every field.  Reporters like to quote people who are knowledgeable about the subject they are covering.  But did you realise that often, the person isn’t always the absolute world-beating expert in that subject. A lot of the time the person being quoted is simply the person who has diligently built a relationship with that reporter, who became their trusted advisor.

The thing is, journalists are often up against very tight deadlines. It’s quite conceivable that there is a person out there with a higher profile than you. A person with more recognized credentials.  But the probability of the journalist being able to secure an interview at short notice before their impending deadline is very remote indeed.  So journalists look to other people with experience and credibility in that subject to comment instead to help bring their story to life.

Why shouldn’t you be that commentator – that expert in your field. (And the more you do it, the more you become the recognised expert :) )

How This Applies To You

Offline media relationships are very important because they increase your exposure to your potential customer base both online and off.

Media loves to use experts, so why not establish yourself as one.  A helpful one, that is always on hand to provide a high quality answer.

So How Do You Establish Yourself As An Expert?

As well as keeping your eye on requests for information that journalists publish, be proactive and start building relationships.

  1. Research the key publications in your industry and call and introduce yourself to the reporter that covers your industry or a related field.
    Offer to be a source whenever they may be doing a story on your industry. Make the call short and let them know you’ll follow up with an email with all your contact info. Then follow through. Ideally give them the link to your media pack which explains the sort of stories you are comfortable commenting on.
  2. Strengthen your relationship by being the “Go To” person they can rely on at very short notice.  Be trustworthy and courteous. As the reporter won’t be as familiar with the subject as you are, make sure you ;et them know of the current hot topics if it’s important to the piece they are writing.
  3. Maintain the relationship by contacting them reasonably regularly. A great reason to get in touch is to let them know when there is a lot of buzz about a related topic. Why not let them steal a march on a hot topic and explain it’s significance to their audience.  A lot of times a reporter can’t spot the trend or its importance. It usually takes someone with knowledge of the field to point it out and help it the information get shared to a wider audience.

remember: Every reporter loves a go-to person who is accessible, full of information, and has lots of story ideas about their industry.

How That Benefits You

Without wishing to dash your hopes, it’s unlikely you’ll get an interview piece written especially about you (I’ve only had a couple so far). However, being quoted or used as a source in a story positions you as the expert above others in the field. You’re seen as a trusted, respected thought leader. And everyone wants to do business with the best in the industry.

Forming these relationships with the media takes a a moderate amount of time and effort, but can create massive pay offs in terms of repeated exposure and credibility.

So my question to you is, what are you an expert in online that you can pitch to the offline media? If you’ve had some success it would be great if you could post up some tips for others.

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