Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Be an "Expert on File"

Are you in business?
I assume that you are or you would not be reading this. Are you good at what you do? I assume you are or you would not be reading this. The real question is, if you are so good at what you do why does'nt the media know about you? Answer, they have never heard of you.

Solution? Tell them!

Every media person in your town keeps a file of experts, authorities, contacts and sources they can call when a story breaks or when they need a quote. Mortgage rates are at all-time lows. The stock market has been break dancing. Car sales are fluctuating. Investment advisors are in high demand. Religious organizations are being bombarded with questions, and so on and so on. Every time a story breaks or is considered “hot” the media people scurry for insights, a quote, insider information, and timely responses from industry experts. The LOCAL ANGLE is what most of these reporters are seeking. When they need an insight, quote or factual information they always turn to their file of contacts. You can become one of these valued resources by simply calling and letting them know you are available for comment. Call your local editor or better yet, beat reporter. Introduce yourself and your expertise. Offer to assist the reporter in the event they need help on issues and stories of which you are qualified.

Scan your newspaper and begin to look for “trends” any given reporter is following. Look for the impact a national story could make locally. Call the reporter and make yourself available in the event he/she needs clarification or an opinion on an ongoing and breaking event. Some national stories that you could comment on locally include:
*How the stock market will behave with Christmas looming.
*The local impact of major corporate scandals
*How the mutual fund debacle could effect local businesses
*How your industry is effected during the holidays
*What impact has the Iraq war had on your industry, and what changes are on the horizon
*Is Michael Jackson coming to town?

Every reporter in the world is looking for a local angle to a national story. If there is a national or regional story your paper is covering and you can help create a local flavor, you will get exposure and will be a valued media resource for years to come. The story does not have to be solely of a national scope either. What story lines does your local media seem to be hot on, a political race or hot issue, a nursing home infraction? In Birmingham AL (My home town) childhood obesity is the latest hot button. Are you a doctor, bodybuilder, runner, nutritionist, fast food restaurant manager? Did you lose 300 pounds on the Adkins diet, did your mom? See the various angles that could be offered by these different professions and/or people in the know? Everyday there is a story that needs further clarification. It’s all a matter of paying attention and making the call. Take a few moments today and scan your local paper. I’ll guarantee there is a story you're are qualified to comment on so... Pick up the phone and...

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