In April 2009, Steve Strauss--the small business expert at USA Today--wrote an article called, “Should Entrepreneurs Twitter? Uh, No.” At the time, Twitter was barely a household name, but many business owners had found success using the social network to connect with people around the globe and compete with larger competitors.

He detailed the four reasons entrepreneurs should not use Twitter. Our experience had case studies to prove all four of his reasons wrong, and we carefully and thoughtfully commented on his piece. What came of that comment was a phone call where he opened his mind to new and different ways to use the social network, and then he wrote, “Twitter for Small Business…Reconsidered.”

Because he’s swamped with little to no time to listen to pitches, he reads the comments left on his articles to see if there is anything worth revisiting or diving into more deeply. In this case, it worked. The following is a step-by-step process for creating this magic for yourself.

1. Choose one newspaper, magazine, or blog that makes a difference in your industry. It can be The Wall Street Journal or it can be one of your trade publications. Choose just one.

2. Once a week, comment on one article, blog post, or editorial. If you disagree, fantastic! Say so. But do it professionally. Being negative or criticizing without a solution isn’t helpful. Professional discourse is.
3. Hyperlink Web-based resources related to your comments. Cite professional journals or your own work. You want to make it easy for the journalist.

4. Keep this up.

5. After about six weeks, the journalist will feel like he or she is beginning to know you and a relationship will begin to blossom. At that point, you can begin your give-and-take relationship. They’ll likely take your phone calls or return your emails, if you’re smart about how you approach them.

6. Every quarter, add another publication, so you have four that you focus on each year.

7. Don’t be afraid to go after the big publications. If your expertise adds value to the stories they’re reporting, comment away!

If you are consistent and post intelligent comments once a week, you’ll soon have developed relationships with journalists who call on you when they need someone to interview.

Yes, it takes some time. Yes, it’s hard work. Yes, it requires that you keep up with your reading.
But it works.

Devoting a bit of time toward nurturing human relationships is 100 times better than sending your company news release to 1,000 journalists--and not getting a single bite.