Help a Reporter connects journalists with folks looking for publicity.
Help a Reporter connects journalists with folks looking for publicity.

You’re likely already marketing in social media, doing your best to connect with actual and potential customers on, say, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Traditional media such as television, magazines, and news agencies may be off your radar. However, getting featured on “Good Morning New York,” in Glamour magazine, or in a Reuters’ news story published online and all over the world can produce a serious bump in sales.

Getting into the media spotlight can cost nothing other than a little time, effort, and creativity. Here’s how.

5 Ways to Connect with Media People

Respond to reporter queries. A service called Help a Reporter links journalists who are looking for interview subjects with people and companies looking for publicity. The basic subscription is free, with upgraded accounts at $19 or $49 a month providing a bit more convenience. As a subscriber, you’d receive three daily emails describing the specific sources or stories needed by reporters for news articles or feature pieces.

The key to success here is responding quickly and briefly only to those reporter queries where you have something exactly on target to offer. For instance, last December online jewelry merchant Brittany Witt got her earrings featured in a holiday gift guide for travelers by responding to a listing in Help a Reporter. In her short pitch to the reporter, she emphasized why these earrings were perfect for travelers.

Follow reporters, editors, and producers on social media. Identify reporters or other media people who focus on the kind of specialty, lifestyle, or niche products you sell and then find and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Over time, you’ll get a sense of their personality and interests. Sometimes they’ll even mention specific stories they’re looking for sources on.

“Say hello and create a relationship,” advises Roshanda Pratt, a former television producer….