Five Tips for Being a Great Wall Street Journal Source

July 8, 2014

by Joe Anthony

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Never before has it been more challenging for firms to earn quality coverage in premier media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fortune and Barron’s. With fewer traditional publications in circulation and readership attention scattered all across the web, the competition for high-quality ink is stiff.

Unlike content created for advertising, the world of earned media coverage remains democratic. The most valuable sources to major outlets are individuals with expertise to share and a compelling story to tell. Whether you’re being asked to comment on breaking news or to discuss developments in your company, the media interview is an opportunity to engage listeners in your business.

When you get the call to be interviewed by a journalist, be ready to maximize the rare (not to mention cost-free) chance for exposure and messaging on a mass scale. Here are five top tips to become a top interviewee.

  1. Don’t fake it If the prospect of positive exposure in a major publication is meaningful to your business, act like it. This is not a situation for shooting from the hip. Treat the interview like an opportunity to present before a high-end investor or your entire client base.Be realistic about what knowledge is comfortably within your wheelhouse – and plan accordingly for what is not. In the best-case scenario, you will know the subject matter in advance, and your research would be covered in the course of doing your job. But if you don’t know the topic cold or are behind on industry news, spend time bucking up on the market, economic trends and breaking news. Know your stuff and what you want to communicate.
  2. Meet the journalist’s needs Unless it’s expressly clear that the article will focus on you and your company, expect the journalist to be more interested in the perspective you bring to a topic. If you use the interview purely as an opportunity to broadcast your point of view, the content you deliver will not meet the journalist’s needs – and, consequently, will not end up in the published article.Respect that the interviewer has a job to complete, and be helpful in achieving that objective. A sharp interviewee can always find opportunities to integrate a message. Speaking of which…

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