You start reading an article in a newspaper, magazine or website that covers your industry. It grabs your attention. You are learning something from the research and facts presented. It holds your interest. You like the way the article is written and look to see who wrote it. You even feel a desire to leave a comment or share it. This could be the beginning of a relationship with an industry journalist.
Having such a relationship with a journalist in your industry should add a satisfying dimension to your work and to theirs. When your voice is heard in respected media your authority increases. When a journalist includes compelling quotes and exclusive information he or she serves the audience well.
Industry journalists have distinct styles and approaches to their work. Know what kinds of stories and topics they cover. When you work in the same industry, you have a ready point of common interest. When you ask the journalist a question, you have a second point of commonality – you are both curious.
Whether you meet online, at an industry conference or cocktail party, avoid spin. You need to build trust and be relevant. An opinion is okay. Journalists often look for someone with a point of view. But they also have excellent radar for BS.
Most industry journalists build a strong network of sources in their particular industry. They look for people who have credentials, knowledge and a backstory. It’s easy to call someone an expert, but good journalists verify authority.
Being in the communication business, industry journalists appreciate good communication skills. I’m not talking about reciting the company message, but real dialogue. If you can articulate or simplify a complex idea with insight and eloquence, you become a valuable resource for a journalist.
Timing is an important element when interacting with a journalist. They are often working under deadlines. A quick response is always appreciated. But current news is not always what they are looking for. It’s okay to send updates on a story they’ve covered in the past or something that is upcoming. It’s a good idea to include why their readers will care about the information you present. Industry publishers know their readers well. They have a good sense of what’s relevant and what’s not.
When you have news to share, talk it over with the journalist. Any help you’ve given in the past will be reciprocated within the ethical boundaries journalists adhere to. Never ask them to stretch those boundaries. Mutual respect and trust are the foundation of all good relationships. A well-crafted, informative and interesting article is the end goal for industry journalists and the sources they