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How To Make The Media Approach You For Comment

By Mace Usher

Plenty of day-to-day public relations requires creating your own story and then going about finding someone who is interested in it. However there’s an alternative choice, that could be much simpler and produce significantly greater results: becoming an expert spokesman.

Rather than going to the trouble of producing your own story, it is usually much more simple to comment – or piggy back – on something else that is already going on. This really is a fantastic way to increase your profile as well as improve your company.

Consider: who is a potential buyer more likely to turn to? Is it a person they’ve never heard of, or maybe the person who they’ve seen, heard or read in the news, who appears to be an expert in their market?

In essence, editors are constantly going to be needing commentary on things and the 24 hour news environment means there is a higher demand for this than ever before. It may also give you easier access to national media, if you want it.

National journalists are frequently tasked with covering stories of global significance and, as a result, often require reaction to significant events as much, if not more often, than they need to go delving for unique stories of their own.

At the start you will need to do the running, but it’s incredibly easy to find that all of a sudden writers are chasing after you for comment – a public relations dream come true.

This is all about adding something to the story. Your opinion doesn’t actually need to be contentious; you could simply be brilliant at interpreting the nuts and bolts of something, or the probable outcomes of an event.

Having the ability to come out with clever quotes that are on the ball and also encapsulate a solid sense of what’s going on will be well used, notably by the national newspapers and by the broadcast media.

I can explain to you via personal experience that working in the media (radio & TV) is often rather nerve-racking when something happens and you must find someone fast to discuss it or explain it to the public. Sometimes you only have moments to achieve it and there’s no time at all to try to find new contacts. You automatically go to those you already know you can depend on.

There’s a good reason you observe the same men and women in the media over and over commenting on some industry or sector: editors know they are interesting and reliable.

For you, the down-side of attempting to become the spokesman of choice is you really need to be on the ball and you’ve got to react fast. You should keep in a state of ninja-like readiness, particularly in the early days when you haven’t proven yourself.

Being a successful commentator is about being able to get your opinions out quickly, to the right individuals, and at the correct moment.

Here are the crucial steps you have to follow:

1) Decide what you are looking to speak about – this will commonly be dictated by the nature of your enterprise and expertise;

2) Work out exactly where you’d like to be heard, seen, or read. Don’t get snobbish about this; you may be lucky enough to rocket straight into the nation’s consciousness, but it could take time to develop your image. The local newspaper, the relevant trade newspaper, or your regional radio or TV station are wonderful places to begin with. BBC Radio is usually the ideal pick of radio for you since these stations normally do more talking.

3) Obtain the contact details – preferably the e-mail & contact number – of a few major journalists. (You can typically locate their details in papers/magazines/online without too much difficulty).

4) Listen/watch/read: wait for a story to turn up that is within your sector and could do with your professional input. If you know a specific thing is coming in advance – such as an announcement or event – then all the better. Let the journalists know in advance that you’ll be ready, willing and able to assist;

5) Pounce! When you notice a story and you have a viewpoint jot it down in a couple of punchy paragraphs inside an email (essays aren’t any good) and fire it out. Telephone the writer if you like, it’s nonetheless good to have the email so you’re able to keep your viewpoints crystal clear in your mind. Please remember to include all your details, along with who you are and what you do (yet again, no essays, only a couple of points that will make you look knowledgable). So, for example, if you are a tiny firm of estate agents in Derby, why not offer Radio Derby expert knowledge on the property market? Then they’ll get you in, and as long as you’re engaging and you don’t try and push your company too much, and you give advice to Radio Derby’s listeners then they may think: “Hey, that person is useful. I think we’ll get them in again the next time mortgage rates rise,” or whatever it is.

The real key to becoming a successful commentator is that you will need to have something to say and also deliver that in a helpful and interesting way. You have to be able to add to the story, even if it’s only to explain something that the public don’t understand. If you are a wallflower then becoming a commentator just isn’t for you.

But – and this is a big but – don’t be opinionated if you can’t support it. The more powerful the view you have, the more solid the ground you must be standing on in terms of logic or evidence. The media motorway is full of the wreckage of people who were simply loudmouth hawkers.

The last element that can take you from being a good commentator to a excellent commentator in the eyes of the media is being available at all hours of the day or night. These people are gold for hectic editors – particularly the harassed producers which occupy the world of 24-hour broadcasting. I say once again, with only a small touch of bitterness, I should know.

Websites, television and radio run constantly. Some individuals will poo-poo offers of interviews during the early mornings or late evenings, all too often because they think it is not worth their time. It is worth your time.

One time I interviewed a man on BBC Radio 5 at midnight talking about a new crime fighting website he’d founded. He was sceptical about staying awake to speak to me. This individual was much less sceptical as soon as his online traffic rose by around 1000%.

If you’d like to discover how to do your own PR work, attract new customers and save thousands in advertising fees, visit How To PR.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Usher, Mace "How To Make The Media Approach You For Comment." How To Make The Media Approach You For Comment. 29 Jan. 2012. 18 Jul 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Usher, M (2012, January 29). How To Make The Media Approach You For Comment. Retrieved July 18, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Usher, Mace "How To Make The Media Approach You For Comment"

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