By Rebecca Aguilar.

Whether it is local or national news, the media needs to fill hours daily on television and radio newscasts, pages in magazines and newspapers and numerous digital news platforms. That is why reporters are always looking for new stories, sources and people to feature. And guess what? You have a story.

News producers are also looking for new guests they can invite on a show to talk about their expertise or profile in a segment. They’re also looking for videos they can feature with the story behind it. You could be that person.

Most reporters are required to be on different social media platforms. To connect with reporters, it is important to build relationships with them first. If you want to eventually pitch them a story you have to know them.

“Google” search your local reporters and find out which ones may be interested in your brand or business. It would not be productive to pitch a business story to a reporter who only covers the police beat. Know what they cover. Read what they write about. Also read their company bios and social media profiles. They are a wealth of information.

Once you’ve done your homework on a local or national reporter, find them on their social media platforms. Follow them and friend them. Focus on reporters who would be interested in your expertise or business background. Also follow newspaper and magazine editors, TV assignment editors, producers, photographers and columnists.

Most reporters are required to promote their stories on their social media platforms. Reporters also tend to share their likes and dislikes on social media. Again, the more you know about the reporter, the better you can build a relationship with them.

There isn’t a reporter who doesn’t like a positive comment about their stories, and on Twitter it is a compliment when someone retweets your post. If you like what a reporter posts, feel free to comment and on Twitter retweet. If the reporter responds on your feedback, a simple “thank you” will do. FYI, criticizing a reporter won’t get you anywhere, and other reporters will see it.

Most reporters are nice people. Let them decide if they want to follow or friend you. Nothing is more annoying on social media than someone who constantly says “Follow me” or “Friend me.” No one likes to be told what to do.

What is trending today? Does your brand or business fit that trend? That is always a good time to pitch a story, a feature or even yourself as an expert on a topic. Remember reporters get pitched stories every day via emails, phone calls, mail and social media. It is key to pitch your idea at the right time. Your pitch should also be to the point.

Twitter example:
@RebeccaAguilar your profile mentions you cover business. I have one that is helping single mothers survive. #StoryIdea Please contact me.

Have your email address on social media platforms. It helps.

We’ve all met the sales person who turns on the “pressure sales.” Don’t be that person when pitching a story via social media. It can be annoying. Pitch, step back, wait and then try again. if one reporter doesn’t show interest, try again with another reporter the next day. Good luck!

Rebecca Aguilar is a multiple award-winning journalist and social media leader.
Aguilar is also the founder of the largest Latina virtual networking group “Wise Latinas Linked” on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Follow her on twitter @RebeccaAguilar

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