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Other than inadvertently becoming part of a scandal, crisis or other notably bad or good news, here’s the most likely method for becoming part of a media story – in a positive way. Get briefed on stories for which reporters, producers or bloggers are seeking input – right now.

For $99 a month, get PR Leads, a daily email of updates, customized for your situation. Dan Janal is diligent and savvy.  He depends on happy referrals to get more business.  Two other popular media matching services are free. Publicist (and sky diver) Peter Shankman’s Help a Reporter Out (HARO) email gets delivered to you three times a day. At the top of each email is a summary – one-liners on the kind of sources reporters are seeking. Scan it quickly to see if you’re a match for one of the queries. In just a few months over 10,000 sources signed up, as you can here. Journalists submit their query here.

ProfNet, a venerable fee-based service was upset with this upstart.

The other free service is Getting Ink Requests. It is run by another social media maven, Sally Whittle and a large collective of journalists. You can get queries via a daily email or Twitter or add value to your blog by featuring Getting Ink Requests on it.

As you review your compilation of media queries from HARO, Gettng Ink Requests, PR Leads or ProfNet, look for strong matches. Can you offer tips, insights, information, stories or examples that directly relate to what the media person is seeking? Be brief, specific and to the point.

See, for example, how Peter got HARO to be a part of this New York Times story. If you are off-topic or too self-promotional you’ll get be blacklisted by that media person. Here’s Sandra Beckwith’s tips on how to respond. (Don’t get featured on the Bad Pitch Blog.) 

Kristen King also writes bluntly about the biggest mistakes some people make in responding to queries. Here’s tips for offering what a reporter needs to cover your story.

Also, if you’re paid for your expertise (or you want to be) then help people find you when they want what you know. To raise your visibility and value, you may want to emulate Sally Whittle or Peter Shankman’s community-building model. That is offer a social media-based, free compilations/matching service related to your business.

If so, remember this. While Sally actively encourages people to share the media queries she collects, Peter also allows you to share, yet not online, please. So far Peter is attracting far more queries and members it seems.

Ann Hanley sees Peter’s approach as a healthy sign of our social media future. Erik Sherman describes why Peter should be able to copyright his compilations to preserve the value he creates for himself while facilitating a service that remains free for “us.” That’s the “Me2We” way.

As you can see, taking this “first ever” approach can raise helpful thoughts and competitive concerns among those who are accustomed to having more control. The downside of this free-for-all future is the weakest link.

The weak links are the aforementioned, irritating off-topic responders who spoil it for the rest of us.That’s why some journalists and others are seeking sources among their existing circle of colleagues, as Shel Holtz describes.

Hint: How many media pros are you LinkedIn to?

moving from me to we


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