Monday means Marketing Sherpa. Today's Marketing Sherpa PR Interview features Peter Shankman and his new site/service called "If I Can Help a Reporter Out, I Will." The founder of The Geek Factory Inc., Peter also wrote the book, "Can we do that? Outrageous PR Stunts That Work and Why Your Company Needs Them."
The idea behind "If I Can Help Out a Reporter, I Will" is to match in a hurry, always-on-deadline journalists to a list of media-hungry experts just waiting to be interviewed. First launched on Facebook, the group members now number almost 1200 - Facebook's limit. That's why Peter's moving the service from Facebook to a site. Reporters email Peter directly; you'll find directions at the site.
Want to sign up? Visit How to Help A Reporter and enter your name and email address. The first email came today with queries from a student journalist, BusinessWeek, an author looking for real-life stories for a TV show, Investment Dealers Digest, and freelance journalists. No fit for our clients. That's okay. It's good to see stories in progress and learn more about the reporter's beat. And, the experience inspired me to type out a quick guide to keep handy in case there is a match - I can send our clients a link to this post.
When You Answer a Reporter's Query
Google the reporter to find out more about them and their work.
Check out a copy of their magazine or publication so that you can tailor your answer to their readers.
Respond only if relevant - think about how many answers in forums don't match questions.
Mention the topic in the email subject line.
Be brief: introduce yourself, comment and close with contact information.
Link to any information you have online that might be relevant.
Record a quick video/audio answer, if you're so inclined, so they can hear you or see you.
Be there when they call - if you're not there when they make the call, you might not make the story.
Think about your comments as sound bites - package them into 20 words or less.
Refer to your experience and give numbers, if you have them.
Set up a media contact page they can go to for images and background information.
Update your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts - make sure that what they see matches who you are.
Email Peter with a testimonial when you have a great experience - I'm sure he'd like to keep track of what works and how.
How to Contribute
Let Me Know . . .
What would you most want to be quoted on?