Rockland Trust

A new client: ApprovalGuard

I’ve been writing since November 2015 for ApprovalGuard, a credit scoring website, and I’ve been so busy that I forgot to write a blog post about it here.

I write on the site’s blog about once per week, covering news on credit cards and advice on how to improve credit scores, among other topics.

I’ve also written about how to live without a credit card, using a credit card wisely during the holidays, and what to know about Costco’s change of credit cards. Check the blog each week for new stories.



How to Be an Expert Source

Being quoted in the media as an expert source can lead to all kinds of benefits. A mention in a newspaper article or online story can lead to more business for the source, or at least a few notes of congratulations on social media.

To help business owners be quoted as sources in stories, the service HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, connects sources to reporters looking for experts on specific topics. I’ve used it many times as a reporter, and it has been a huge help. There are other ways to be used as an expert source in a story, starting with the old fashioned way of calling a reporter up and meeting with them in person.

As a reporter for my entire career, I’ve seen many people who mean well in their efforts to help me as a potential source, but who fail in many ways. So I’ve written a short book called “Sources Say” to help people learn how to become an expert source and make the most of any media opportunities.

Talk like an expert source

The book goes over how to reply to queries on HARO so that you’re more likely to be used as an expert source, the importance of being succinct and responding quickly, and even how to talk like an expert source.

For example, some people I interview don’t say what they want to say in a way that’s unique. They talk in generalities or use cliches, and don’t give specific answers that demonstrate their knowledge.

One rule of thumb for reporters who use direct quotes — which are the words between quotation marks — is that if the reporter can write it better than it is as a quotation, then it isn’t a quotation worth using.

Be the source you want to read. Say it in a unique way and have some passion about the topic. Say it in a way that no one else has ever said it. If you’re going to be dry and boring, chances are you won’t be used as a source in the story.

That’s just some of what I write about in the book “Sources Say” on how to be a great expert source.

Here’s a graphic explaining how to be a top source for reporters:

Sources say graphic



Writing City Press Releases

press releases

I’m expanding my services to writing press releases for city governments, a field that I think is underserved.

I’m currently writing a few press releases each month for the Alameda Public Works Department. Here are two of the most recent press releases I wrote for the city:

I’m just starting writing for Alameda, so hopefully this will be a business relationship that will continue.

I don’t think many cities do enough promoting themselves. I can help them do this by writing press releases, managing their social media, contacting the press for coverage, and improving city websites to make them easier for citizens to navigate and get the information they need.

If you’d like to talk about how I can help your city government with press releases or other communications on a per-item fee or long-term contract, please contact me and we can go over your options.