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Live from BlogHer :: Media Training for Bloggers


I’m so excited for this session - Media Training is one of the topics I was most interested in learning more about. Ever since the mommy blogger was slammed on national TV for having a glass of wine during a playdate, I’ve wanted to know how the heck to get media attention AND how to manage it (rather than them mangling you). This is being presented by Cynthia Samuels and The Sarcastic Journalist.

Getting Publicity

  • Send notes to press writers: compliment good pieces, let them know you are available, ask that they keep your info on file as a topic expert
  • Let a press writer know about hot topics on your blog or forums (within your community) by emailing them and letting them know
  • Let a press writer know when you’ve written about a topic that they have written about
  • To source contacts for TV - check the credits for “Booker” and “Researcher” names to source the right contacts to get on TV
  • To source contacts for print press - contact reporters or assistant editors before you contact the editors - editors are too slammed and you’ll get lost in the crowd
  • Send thank you notes (as in snail mail, real thank you notes) to any press that covers you
  • Don’t ever give a press person the idea that you think they are in your pocket - remember that they are in it for their own readers, and abhor the notion that they are doing this to help you - they aren’t.

Message Control and Soundbyte Skills

  • When you speak in sound bytes, you have a better chance of getting into the story
  • Message discipline is how people win elections and win high-profile debates - no matter what the question is, always work to get your message out in the manner you want it to be provided
  • Practicing in underrated - it’s easy to say more than you wanted or should have said to the press (I don’t mean sounding memorized - just that you have your thoughts together)
  • Remember - ratings and paper sales come from big drama and yelling and screaming, so be careful about what message you put out there, because potentially the worst possible sound byte to your credibility could be the one that is used

My biggest takeaway is that I found at the end of this session, we had only barely talked about press releases - I asked - is the press release dead? The presenters assured me it wasn’t - but that specifically the best way to utilize the press release is to know the media first. Know who writes about your subject area, know who is passionate about your topics. Sending your press releases directly to these individuals is the best possible way to distribute them - not blindly via fax or on web distribution services.

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  • Discussion

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    On July 27th, 2007 at 3:44 pm, Mara B. said:

    Very good information. Coming from a journalism background, I can tell you that most reporters don’t keep information unless they really think that they’ll be useful in the future.

    On July 27th, 2007 at 8:55 pm, Marijean said:

    I was kind of disappointed we didn’t talk about developing a home base and messages; traditional tools for media training, but the overall presentation was good.

    The news release isn’t dead — the delivery of it has changed. RSS is the way to go instead of e-mail. That wasn’t addressed either, but is important for people to understand.

    On July 28th, 2007 at 7:01 am, Lou Hampton said:

    The news release is not only alive, it’s thriving!
    In the “old days” the news release had one purpose–to get coverage in newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. While that is still a reason for issuing a release, in the internet age an even more important reason may be to get mentions in blogs, ezines, and search engines.
    Pitching top-level “mainstream” media still requires a targeted and often individual-reporter specific release. Otherwise, mass internet distribution can be very effective and inexpensive.
    Some authors are using several releases, each with a different story angle, to promote their books.
    A tremendous resource (particularly good for novices)for writing and distributing releases is in a post by Terri Zwierzynski of Solo-E, guest blogging for Denise Wakeman (who, like you Wendy, is at BlogHer07. It’s titled “Free Press Release Builder”:

    On July 28th, 2007 at 7:14 am, Lou Hampton said:

    Another resource for your readers concerned about doing well talking to reporters is my recently released “Meet the Media & Win!” media training card deck.
    It’s great both as an overview and as a quick refresher right before doing the interview. And incredibly affordable!
    Information is available on my blog:

    On July 30th, 2007 at 12:22 pm, Aruni said:

    Makes sense to me!

    On July 30th, 2007 at 4:40 pm, Scot Herrick said:

    Still, if you were new to media and wanted to promote your work, this is a good snapshot of actionable things to do to save a whole bunch of time and potential contacts.

    I would add one more to this list: make sure that if you are in a live interview situation to not correct mistakes made by the person doing the interviewing. They will know they messed up and by not pointing it out to their listeners/viewers, you will help them in their job.

    On July 31st, 2007 at 8:16 am, Michelle at Scribbit said:

    As someone who wasn’t able to attend I appreciate the synopsis. Thanks!

    On July 31st, 2007 at 2:39 pm, Don@AffiliateWatcher said:

    Thanks for keeping us updated. This is a very interesting article and one that most people seem to fall down on, myself included.

    I’ve always felt like a blogger who could get noticed by the media would have bountiful traffic.

    I’ve also been thinking about PR releases, just never have gotten around to it…same ole excuses, different day ;)

    On July 31st, 2007 at 6:52 pm, Damselfly said:

    I love this! Thank you.

    On August 3rd, 2007 at 6:13 am, Adam Kayce : Monk At Work said:

    Great post, Wendy — thanks so much. I’ve taken a course on PR, and I still haven’t done what it taught… but this is clear, concise, and do-able.

    Mentions on other sites...

    1. Speedlinking - 29 July 2007 on July 28th, 2007 at 3:47 pm

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