1. Think ahead. Each time you contact a member of the media, always remember that your goal is to build a long-term relationship and to establish yourself as a reliable, responsive source for information.
2. Be selective. Don't send each person on your media list every release you write. Key in on the reporters who are most likely to tell your story.
3. Take "NO" for an answer. Don't fret if a reporter turns down your initial pitch. There could be many reasons why your idea is just not right for them at that particular time. If you've had positive dealings with the reporter in the past, he or she will probably call on you for assistance in the future.
4. Rejected? Don't worry! Never be discouraged by rejection. Two or three reporters might pass on a story that another grabs. Remember, it only takes one!
5. What is your objective? Think about what you want publicity to accomplish for your organization. Then, develop your pitch and media list accordingly.
6. Never call a reporter on deadline, unless the reporter is waiting to hear from you. It is important to know deadlines of all of the outlets you pitch.
7. Think format. Is your story eye-catching? Could it be told in a sound bite? Remember, not every story is right for all media.
8. Be critical. Ask yourself, what makes this story compelling? If you can't answer your own question, you probably don't have a story.
9. Patience is a virtue. Beat reporters are usually quite knowledgeable about the areas they cover, but general assignment reporters don't have much time for research. Don't be annoyed by "dumb questions," think of them as an opportunity to educate the reporter to your point of view.
10. Be professional and courteous. Treat reporters as you would any other "client." Never have an attitude or come across as confrontational, even if a reporter seems abrupt. Chalk it up to the fact that reporting, especially on deadline, is high-pressure.