Guest Column | July 9, 2019

Be A Resource, Not A Burden

By CJ Arlotta, CJ Media Solutions, LLC

Social Media Health Policy

Some businesses try to generate media coverage by bombarding journalists with news unrelated to the stories being covered. The better approach is to present yourself as a resource.

Don’t be an absentee MSP; participate in your community — the channel — by giving your opinions to and sharing your experiences with the journalists reporting on the issues impacting you and your peers. By participating in the discourse, you’re creating opportunities for not only yourself but others within in the channel who could benefit from your knowledge.

Being a resource to journalists is absolutely the best way to secure coverage, and there are a few ways to do that successfully, without being a burden.

Check In On A Regular Basis With Reporters Covering Your Industry

Keeping in contact with the reporters covering your industry allows you to stay in front of the issues you care about the most. After getting to know the journalists covering your areas of interest, check in with them on a regular basis; this reminds them of the following: You’re there for them when they need you the most.

For example, when a story breaks and a reporter needs a source, you should be the go-to channel partner; it’s as simple as that. The only way to put in yourself in that position is by being in regular contact with members of the press and providing them with the material they’re looking for when their developing their stories.

Follow What’s Trending In The Industry And Offer Guidance On Potential Angles

You can’t offer commentary to journalists if you’re not aware of what’s going on in your industry. Well, I guess, you can; it just won’t be relevant to the stories they’re reporting on.

To avoid sounding uninformed when speaking with journalists about trending industry topics, pay attention to what trade publications — including MSPinsights, ChannelE2E, Channelnomics, CRN, Channel Futures and ChannelPro Network — are covering by scanning coverage daily.

If you can’t keep up with the substantial amount of content produced by the channel’s leading media outlets, subscribe to their daily newsletters to help you with sifting through stories for the key takeaways (and if daily newsletters are still too much for you to track throughout the day, try signing up for a weekly one, such as channelWeekly).

Here’s the thing: Reporters are always looking for stories, so if you can offer a slightly different angle on a topic that’s been covered at length, oftentimes, they’re going to take you up on it, especially if your viewpoint is a bit controversial.

Understanding what’s been covered in trade publications enables you to be proactive when pitching new perspectives on trending topics.

Be Proactive When Reviewing Coverage

Waiting for journalists to contact you isn’t the best strategy to enhance your image as a thought leader in the industry. What you should be doing instead is making opportunities for yourself when reviewing coverage of the publications you read by making note of similar stories and topics.

Typically, if a topic is gaining traction, publications will reuse it in a variety of ways for days to come.

For instance, maybe they’ll dive a bit deeper into ransomware attacks if there’s an increasing number of incidents.

When you notice a pattern in the coverage you’re reviewing, reach out to the journalists you know — particularly the ones covering the trending topics you’ve spotted — to see if they’re in need of additional input on anything they’re working on; you may just catch them at the right time.

If you do, you’ll get the opportunity to express your thoughts and educate your peers on how you may do things a little differently than the rest of the community.

There are times when pitching your company’s latest news, hire or solution can benefit you, but in the long run, one of the top ways to ensure you get your two cents in is by coming off as a resource.

About The Author

CJ Arlotta is the managing member of CJ Media Solutions, LLC, a Stony-Brook, NY-based PR firm which provides a range of services for SMBs including ghostwriting, press releases, content creation, media relations, and more. He’s been a journalist for more than 10 years covering hospitality, healthcare, politics, and the IT channel. He’s written for Forbes, The Saturday Evening Post, ChannelE2E, Talkin’ Cloud, The VAR Guy, MSPmentor, and elsewhere. Prior to being a journalist, he worked as a communications specialist on political campaigns and for government officials.