It's not WHAT you know; it's WHO you know! Meet the Gatekeepers

In the media world there are newsmakers, reporters, and gatekeepers. Sometimes the reporters and gatekeepers are one and the same. What do we mean by gatekeepers? They are the ones who decide what news gets printed or put on the air. You need to learn who they are and introduce yourself to them.

You or your business might be making news. If you are opening an art gallery, or perhaps a new concert venue in your town, that is newsworthy. You want to bring it to the attention of the right gatekeepers in order to get a story done about your new venture. How do you go about doing that? Remember the old cliché, "it's not what you know, but who you know?" Never has it been more true than in the media realm of the gatekeepers.

A little secret

Here's how to find the gatekeeper you need. It's so simple anyone can do it!

Media outlets, whether print or broadcast, have specific reporters/editors for different types of news. Opening that concert venue? Find out who the entertainment editor or reporter is, and get to know that person. Expanding your business to a new, bigger location downtown? Become acquainted with the business editor. For restaurants, get to know the food editor/reporter.

How do you find the right person? Here's an easy way. Go to the website and look for a link that says "Contact."

In the example above it's the last link to the right under the newspaper's logo. Click that link. First you'll see some general news links, as in the example below:

Now, if you scroll further down, you'll usually find a staff directory. NOTE: Not all publications and media outlets do it the same way. This is only meant as a guide. However, many outlets do list things this way. Here's an example of the staff directory:

There's a wealth of information in the directory: Arts editor, food editor, managing editor. Reach out to the one who fits your business model. Arts editor for gallery showings and concerts, food editor for restaurants, managing editor for business briefs and other news.

Put a face with the name

If you can meet that reporter/editor, all the better. However, reporters are very busy people. You can't always meet face to face. You can start by reaching out via email and introducing yourself. Explain that you have a story or a press release that fits their area of reporting. Tell them you'd like to send it. If you want to streamline the process, send them the news item in your first contact with them, but be sure to include a friendly email introducing yourself and your business. Keep it short. As mentioned above, reporters are busy folks. They're not going to read a lengthy tome about you.

Don't forget to follow up

After you've sent your item, wait a few days and then follow up with a friendly email asking if they've received your news item, and if they need any additional information from you.

If you're not sure who to send your item to, call the newspaper or station, and ask who gets your specific type of news. You might want to do this as a general practice. Staff changes occur in media, and sometimes the outlet's website can have outdated information. 

Most important of all – do your homework. Know your gatekeepers. You won't win any points by sending food news to the art editor. Be diligent, get to know them, and before you know it, they'll enjoy hearing from you because the news you send them makes their job easier.

Self-Propelled Marketing

Learn more about how YOU can get publicity for your business by checking out Self-Propelled Marketing. Visit our website to find out how.


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