Are you a ‘source’ or a ‘flack’?

Take off your “PR pro” hat for a minute and put on your “shopper” hat.

You know how you’re constantly inundated with ads and offers and options for where to spend your money? How the web, social media, and email make it ever easier for brands and retailers to tout their next best things?

You’re probably like me – all of that info overload just makes you gravitate to what’s familiar and comfortable to you. For some, that may be Amazon. You know you might be able to hunt around and find a product somewhere else for a little cheaper, but with Amazon Prime, you know you’ll get what you order in two days, you know the return policy, no surprises.

Or maybe you love Trader Joe’s. Yes, you could get thousands of more products at a big box grocer, but you’d rather have the across-the-board quality on fewer items. Maybe you can find vanilla crème-chocolate wafer cookies somewhere else, but you love your Joe Joe’s and that’s what you want.

The point is: an overabundance of options usually leads people to consolidate their trust into a few select providers.

Put your “PR pro” hat back on now. How does this relate to the way journalists and bloggers deal with the frenzy of PR people reaching out to them all the time?

Rather than taking a little bit here, a little bit there from a broad cross section of the people who contact them, they actually develop a relatively few trusted contacts and go back to them again and again.

I see this with my most successful Inner Circle members – they’ve watched as resistance to their outreach wanes and then is replaced by requests for help from media.

Journalists call such trusted folks “sources.” That’s where you want to be.

The rest are dismissed as noise, pests, or at worst, “flacks” who get in the way more than help.

So how do you go from unknown or “flack” to “source”?

We’ve covered a lot of relevant tips in these posts. But the biggest first step is to narrow your focus to a manageable number of media influencers. Just like they can’t keep up with EVERY person trying to get their attention, you can’t be all things to all journalists.

Spend 80 percent of your time reaching out to the top 20 percent of your media list.

Once you’ve achieve “source” status, everything gets a lot easier.

P.S. ICYMI last week, we’re opening up the Inner Circle to new members on Nov. 17. Last time the spots sold out fast, so there wasn’t much time to think about it. If you want to have a chance, you need to start your due diligence NOW. Get a behind-the-scenes tour of the Inner Circle by signing up for a “Preview Pass.” It’s free and you get to learn from the results members are earning.

This article was originally published on October 15, 2015

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