Leveraging Your Reputation: The media’s Christmas list

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and mid-sized law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs.  Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

Editors and reporters expect different things from us than they did, say, four years ago. This holiday season, let’s make sure they get what they want. Besides, to quote the age-old adage: “You must first give, in order to receive.”

Consider the following items on the media’s wish list for 2010 to get prime time exposure in 2011 and beyond:

Multimedia story supplements

Words, words, words. Although powerful, words can only go so far. With the media going from print, radio & television to print, radio, television, blogs, social networks and all things online, it is only right that we offer the media material they can use on different mediums. YouTube videos of vital/shocking/ entertaining footage, Twitpics from the day of a trial, podcasts from a recorded Q&A industry panel – sprucing up your story with multimedia material is the ultimate holiday treat for a reporter and his or her story.

Fresh content that’s readily available

By now, the question is not “Are you using social media?” but rather, “Which social media applications are you using?” Your reasons for being active with social media are two-fold. First, reporters get story ideas from many different sources, so the more relevant places you can spread your message, the better chances there are that a reporter will pick up on it. Secondly, media like to see their sources stay as up-to-date with current events and trends as the front page of the daily newspaper. So make sure to keep your online newsroom current and refresh your blog with new content frequently, especially if it provides a fresh take on an ongoing trend.

Reality, without the hype

Despite what you might think, media will not be tricked by attempts to make a story sound more intriguing that it actually is. If you have a good story, you shouldn’t have to throw in phrases like “groundbreaking,” or “never before seen” – unless of course it IS groundbreaking or never before seen. Reporters and most bloggers nowadays are trained professionals and sometimes over-hyping a story can be more of a turn-off than a media turn-on. Instead, just keep it real. That includes being honest, kind, thorough, helpful, responsive and understanding. Sometimes we need to be reminded that these are the attributes that will keep reporters (and people in general) coming back to you as a trusted source and expert time and time again.

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