Create a Journalist Listening Station

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Garnering great press for your business is a powerful marketing strategy and as such, journalists should be on your radar as a target market. Now, instead of abusing them with buy (press releases) messages, how about starting by building some know, like and trust before you ever ask for the order – that’s just good marketing.

The absolute best way to do this is to become a resource to a select group of journalists that report on your industry or businesses in your community. As a resource your primary job is to help them do their job better by sending along industry information, adding to stories they write and commenting on potential resources and angles they might consider – nothing to do with selling your business or story.

If you do this I can almost guarantee you will start getting calls to provide quotes in stories as a reliable source.

Here’s how to make the job of journalist relationship building easier.

Use Google Alerts and Google Reader to track every story, blog post and mention your target list of journalists create and scan them in five minutes from one location (or, even have them sent to your email inbox as they happen in real time.)

Then you can visit your Reader page, see if anything from one of your journalists pops up and go make a relevant comment on their blog, drop an industry study in mail or suggest a follow-up angle to their story through a hand-written note. This entire process should take just minutes a day and can even be delegated once it’s up and running.

Some tech notes:

    Google Alerts

  • Use quotes around full names to get best results – “bill smith”
  • Check the RSS version to have it sent to Google Reader
    Google Reader

  • Create a folder in Google Reader just for your PR efforts so that you can store the results of your RSS alerts in one handy place
  • Get in the habit of checking and responding at least several times a week.


google alerts, Google Reader

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  1. Great strategy and a simple outline to implement it. Adding value before requesting favors is great advice for any situation where you need help. Just like a bank account — you’ve got to make a deposit before you can make a withdrawal!

  2. I think this strategy is genius. The worst thing you can do is bombard journalists or customers–if you become a good resource on subjects and help them out they’ll be more than willing to help you out.

    Jason Calcanis gave me the tip, to follow your favorite bloggers/journalists very closely and as soon as you see they’ve published something be the first one to comment. It goes a long way to making it seem like you really care about the authors writing.

    (I’m glad I’m the second one to post on this topic!)

    Follow your journalists on Twitter and hopefully when they tweet their new post, pick it up right away and get to commenting!

  3. Also, I really like the Top commentators section of this blog. I’m not crazy about comment luv, but it’s the same type of idea–engage and reward the people who help build your community. Great stuff

  4. I’ve begun to implement your thoughts and it’s great! Google alerts have especially been helpful by seeking out material important for me instead of me having to go find it. Google reader has been great as well, but I’m having trouble finding the time to read all that reader is pulling in.

  5. Thank you for this article, it was a great explanation of the process. I’ve been teaching loan officers how to do the same thing to form relationships with agents that they want to network with. Master your niche, be the resource.

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