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Journalism (© Microgen / Fotolia.com)

Anyone involved in the community relations or public relations department of a company knows how difficult it can be to get past the gatekeeper at whatever press organization they are attempting to work with.

The gatekeeper, which is just one word for a job that has many nicknames, is the person in charge of making sure that only good stories get back to reporters and editors. Basically, if you have a newsworthy story, and you can make it past that gate, there's a good chance that someone beyond the gate will be willing to run it.

But the problem is getting past that gatekeeper in the first place.

There is actually a lot more to gain keeping than most people think. For one thing, did you know that web sites out there that report news can have their own gatekeeping abilities? New sites that have captured challenges can act as sort of Gatekeepers to keep automated robots and people not relevant to the conversation from posting in the comment section on news stories.

Of course, the main type of gatekeeping that you are concerned about is that of the person in charge of the gate at media outlets. This is where a public relations or community relations person often get stuck. Communicating with the gatekeeper can be difficult at first. If you have not developed a relationship in advance, then you are going to have a hard time getting past that gatekeeper in order to talk to someone who can actually run your story.

The titles of the gatekeeper vary depending on the organization where the gatekeeper exists. In some media organizations, especially the larger ones, there may be several gatekeepers that you have to get through before you can actually talk to someone who can run your story. In some organizations there can be none.

The bottom line is that a person has to know how to get past the gatekeeper if they are going to be a successful public relations representative or community relations representative. There are some ways that you can get past the gatekeeper of course, but you have to know what they are. In this article, we'll go over some of the best ways to get past the gatekeeper.

The best way to get past the gatekeeper is to develop a relationship in the first place. If you already have a relationship with the person who maintains the gate at the media organization that you are trying to target, then you will have a much easier time getting your story sent to the right people. Of course, developing that relationship takes time. You have to put time and resources into developing is relationships before you were able to take advantage of them to make it past the gatekeeper.

The second thing that you can do is make sure that you have a newsworthy story. If you already have a newsworthy story, one that is going to actually improve the quality of the paper, then you're going to have a much easier time getting past the gatekeeper in the first place. If you are releasing a press packet that simply says your company is selling product X, and there are 50 other people selling product X, there is no reason for a gatekeeper to let you through to someone who matters.

But if you can come up with a news story that actually makes a paper or other news organization better, then they will be willing to run the story. It doesn't matter if it's advantageous to your company or not, all that matters is that the story is newsworthy and that their organization or publication is going to improve because of it.

You also should know what to say to the gatekeeper to get through. Of course, some of this will come with working with particular Gatekeepers and knowing what gift gets passed them on a general level, but you are also going to have to learn specific things that get past the gatekeeper. This is more than just learning the names of their husband or children, or what is going on in their life. That is developing a personal relationship and it is a different thing entirely.

Instead, you want to make sure that you have some ammunition in your arsenal that allows you to get past the gatekeeper, no matter who they are representing, with whatever new story that you have to offer. If you have these phrases and ammunition in your arsenal, then you are going to be able to talk to a reporter or someone that matters within the organization and have a much better chance of getting your story published. If you are working for a company, it is vital that you learn what gets past a gatekeeper and what does not.

 


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