By Mark Macias
Credibility matters in life, but it especially matters for journalists. Whenever you pitch a story to the media, the journalist is subconsciously measuring your integrity and experience. If the producer is going to invest time and energy on your story, he wants to make sure the idea has credence from the start so he’s not chasing false leads.
A lawyer pitching a story on corporate fraud or a teacher pitching a story on education reform will always have more credibility at the onset than a retired citizen who works part-time at the public library. The journalist will rightfully assume the lawyer and teacher have insider knowledge or expertise, which will lend credibility to the topic.
The credibility argument works for every story —not just scandals involving corporate fraud or education reform. If you are pitching a story on a jewelry designer, you need to establish that jeweler’s credibility. The reporter or producer listening to your idea is going to want to know what makes this jeweler qualified to speak about jewelry trends. Don’t assume the reporter will know why or how the person you are pitching is qualified to speak on the topic.
Do I have Enough Credibility for a Media Campaign?
So how do you determine whether you are credible enough to speak to the media? Here are a few questions to ask yourself when trying to establish credibility for your story.
*What makes you qualified to speak on this topic?
*How many years of experience have you spent in the industry?
*What part of your daily routine is spent reinforcing your expertise?
*What do you know as an insider that others would want to know?
You may possess a limited amount of expertise, but that shouldn’t stop you from continually trying to establish more credibility. Websites, op-ed articles, trade magazines can all lend credence to a person in search of credibility. Remember, the media needs experts for nearly every story because it lends credibility to their reporting. Even the salacious stories require insider knowledge.
So before you pitch your next idea, take a minute to make sure you have established credibility on the topic. Your news release should state why you are the person with insights into the topic. If you can communicate this expertise in the right tone, you will have a better chance of convincing a journalist to write about your business.
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Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC and Senior Producer with WCBS. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.