Empathy + Media
It may seem counterintuitive, but getting your expertise featured in the media has a lot to do with empathy—with imagining yourself in their situation and then helping them out.
Let’s say you’ve got a New York Times journalist on deadline with an editor breathing down their neck. Returning that email or call lightning fast will earn you some brownie points (you might even wind up being the only callback before deadline and be quoted by default).
I guarantee they’ll remember your speed next time they need you.
One of my clients is a widely-recognized authority and yet he routinely spends an hour—sometimes more—helping seasoned reporters understand the background in his specialty in the early stages of their piece. He’ll link them to survey data or introduce them to others in the field to round out their story.
He saves them literally hours of time on research while also subtly framing their story to align with his point of view. Nine times out of 10 he gets the quote and when he doesn’t they make sure to build him into the next story.
If you’re the one doing the pitching, look at the headlines your target has been writing so you know what’s grabbing their attention. If it’s all COVID, be prepared with a related hook. If you don’t have a COVID story, try a fresh angle that ties to the reporter’s demonstrated interests. Even if their editor says no now, they may come back to you later.
Getting into the media is much easier when you think of journalists as real people with a mission—your job is to figure out how to use your expertise and your story to help them meet it.