“You always know exactly what I need”

Two weeks ago I got an email asking, “How do top journalists choose the examples for their stories?”

Obviously it would take a book-length treatment to fully answer that question. But I’m going to share a great example that demonstrates one successful approach.

It comes courtesy of Natalie Bushaw, senior director of PR at fitness brand Life Time and longtime veteran of my Inner Circle. The enviable result of this process was that in mid-May, Life Time was featured as the opening example in a news story syndicated around the country, while most competitors were left out.

Here’s how it happened:

A few months ago, while her company’s fitness centers were all shut down, she knew that journalists covering the fitness industry would eventually be writing an “Americans are going back to the gym” story.

So she started reaching out to the journalists who had written about Life Time closing down. In this case we’re following, that story was the first time Natalie had worked with this writer.

At the end of April, Natalie sent a personalized email that alluded to “the new normal of health clubs” when they re-open and shared some resources about what her clubs will look like.

It took a while, but the writer replied with a brief thank-you and said “keep me posted.” Then two days later, the writer replied again and asked for some dates when some clubs would be opening, and some detail.

Natalie replied not only with dates and her brand’s reopening messaging, but some of the colorful nuggets that journalists love to include.

The journalist responded: “You’re so good at your job . . . Great nugget!” And asked for some specific color related to reopenings. Natalie acted like a reporter and tracked down those details from out in the field. After she shared that, the reporter wrote, “You always get exactly the kind of stuff I’m looking for. Thanks for making my job easy.”

She then asked for a customer who met certain criteria. Natalie tracked one down, got his permission to share his contact info, and sent the reporter his cell number.

Voila, he was the example at the top of the story.

The takeaway for you, whatever the size of your brand, is to be more useful than the other PR pros your target journalists are hearing from. Anticipate their needs, then adapt to their requests, and over time you earn that coveted designation in their minds as a “trusted source.”

Natalie shared the entire email convo, verbatim, with members of the Inner Circle earlier this week.

Her presentation is in our training vault, accessible only by members. The program is currently closed, but if you join our Wait List, I’ll send you bonus examples like this one. And then later, if you decide to join when we open next, you can access the recording of Natalie’s training and read those emails.

This article was originally published on July 15, 2020

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