What do reporters want?

One of the first things we ask our new clients is who they are selling to and what those audiences want from them. This is crucial information needed to develop on-target messages and communication approaches.

Since reporters are a key audience for our clients, it only makes sense that we take a similar approach. That’s why we spend time educating our clients about how reporters work and what they need so we can be responsive.

In a nutshell, reporters are looking for news and they like to receive it first. This sounds simple but there is much more to the story. In addition to getting the first beat on a story, a reporter also wants:

Information that interests the reader. While you may be introducing version 16.0 of your software or the greatest gizmo since the egg slicer, unless these developments speak to the interests of the reader, no reporter is going to cover it.

T&A. Reporters are looking for timely, accurate information. If someone reliably and regularly delivers timely, accurate and useful information, the reporter will consider that person a good source. Then the flow of information starts to shift and reporters begin to call us for information and sources.

Solid Stuff. Reporters want interview candidates who are prepared to tell a story about their company, product and industry. This means they deliver the details in a non-promotional format. The interviewee must be prepared to explain concisely who they are, what they do and why it is important. Email interviews, which are rapidly becoming the trend, require crisp, quotable answers that are grammatically correct so the material can be cut and pasted into a larger article.

Finally, reporters are people too. They work hard and, like everyone else, they want to be appreciated for their efforts. Be certain to reach out after an article appears to acknowledge the effort.

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