New ways to help reporters out

We’ve known for a couple years now how useful it can be to do reporters’ legwork for them.

Journalists want to have multiple sources and proof points in their pieces. But they are being pulled in so many different directions they often don’t the time to gather them.

But you may not have realized the lengths that some successful PR pros are going to help out the reporters they are pitching.

For example:

One savvy pro I’ve trained tells me she regularly posts HARO queries seeking examples for a trend story she’s pitching. Of course her organization is prominently featured in the pitch, but she also gathers more proof points other non-related organizations. Then she vets them and passes them along to the top-tier reporter she’s working with.

Another pro taps into her network of hundreds of peers to identify hard-to-find sources for reporters she has relationships with, even for stories that have nothing to do with her clients. Social media and big email lists make this easy. As such, she has positioned herself as someone who can get good sources on the phone quickly, so who do you think her media contacts call when they’re covering an issue relevant to her clients?

Now, this is obviously a sensitive topic, particularly for the journalists involved. They’re not unethical or lazy – they are the final review on the sources and material we send them. But we need to be low-key about helping them out to this extent. That’s why I’m not sharing the specific details from the examples above. Once you establish this type of a mutually beneficial relationship, you want to keep it going and keep it quiet.

For the next story you pitch that you know will require some additional sources and proof points, find them yourself, then pass along.

This article was originally published on November 2, 2014

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