Public Relations, specifically media relations – that sought after, extremely important third-party endorsement that comes from getting your business’ name in the media – is an invaluable part of any solid, integrated communications strategy. You have a story to tell, NEWS that’s important to position your company and help boost the bottom line.
We sometimes tell our clients…only half joking…that the BEST INTERVIEW would be when the reporter sits down, asks some open-ended question like, “tell me about your company,” and then, happily, 20 minutes later YOU stop talking. Interview over. And, of course, the entire time you were at ease, smooth, and coherent, you anticipated questions before they were even asked, and had control of the interview from beginning to end. The reporter sat enthralled, wildly taking notes.
(And, of course, the ultimate goal being a FANTASTIC article appearing in the outlet the next day, all of your important messages included, brilliantly woven throughout a placement that makes the audience – your potential customers! – want to learn more or buy your product. AND your name spelled right!)
Now, honestly, that kind of interview doesn’t happen very often. But, you get the idea: the goal is for you to be SO COMFORTABLE and SO PREPARED that any interaction you have with a reporter is as positive as it can be, that the resulting article or segment is as accurate as possible and that you and your company are positioned well.
The ability to deal effectively with question and answer sessions is key to any media interview, press conference, or speaking appearance. And, it’s NOT just about being at ease. Preparing for an interview to discuss your business or your product is actually a process of defining and articulating your key messages, of differentiating yourself from the competition, of anticipating a reporter’s questions, and of taking as much CONTROL of the interview as you possibly can.
We recommend that every one of our clients take part in a media training workshop. The tools you will learn will help you in many ways.
But, here are a few quick tips for any interview or interaction with a member of the media:
- Tell the truth.
- Address the issues from the public’s viewpoint. (What does the reader/viewer/listener want to know?)
- Put your company in the big picture. Is what your company doing part of a larger trend? How do you fit into – or perhaps push beyond – that trend?
- Remember, you probably know MORE about the subject than the reporter does.
- If you say it, expect to see it in print.
- Assume EVERYTHING is ON THE RECORD.
- Be direct. Don’t evade a reporter’s question.
- NEVER say “no comment.”
- If you don’t know the answer, say so.
- In an interview, get the important facts – your key messages – out first, and repeat them whenever possible.
- If the reporter’s question contains language you don’t like (i.e. inaccuracies), don’t repeat it in your answer (it’ll end up in YOUR quote).
- Don’t exaggerate the facts.
- Don’t let error remain on the record.
- Be aware and respect reporters’ deadlines.
- ALWAYS follow-up with a reporter, thanking him/her for the time and the opportunity to tell your story, and always ask if he/she needs any MORE information form you. This gives you yet ANOTHER chance to talk about YOU!
Our stellar team of media relations experts is ready to help you make the “front page” today! Contact Lori Jones today!