Margaret McGann

Tips for dealing with the media

In communications and marketing, media relations, public relations, writing on January 11, 2010 at 9:24 am

You’ve written the release, researched who to send it to and pitched it, now what?

It’s time to build your relationship as a credible and trusted professional with the media.

Here are some tips on how to do that:

  1. Be relaxed: If a reporter calls to interview you, remember they’re calling you to discuss a subject you know well – your organization or field of expertise.
  2. Do your research: When you call a reporter, be familiar with his/her media outlet so you will understand the type of story they might want.
  3. Be courteous: When speaking to the press, be professional, friendly, enthusiastic, assertive, and concise. Don’t be aggressive.
  4. Be accessible: Always make yourself available for media interviews to increase coverage.
  5. Be prepared: Have your information in front of you. If asked technical questions, give brief answers – in layperson’s terms.
  6. Return calls: If a reporter calls while you’re out, be sure to return the call promptly.
  7. Answer all questions: If a reporter asks a question which you can’t immediately answer, tell them you’ll get the information and get back to them as soon as possible. And then do.
  8. Respect deadlines: Ask if a reporter is on deadline for the information you’ll give them, and respect that deadline. For example, if a reporter asks you for more information such as statistics, photos, reports, make sure that you get these to them promptly.
  9. Build relationships: Even though you both know you’re after publicity for your business, do not mention this. Your offer of information and/or a story idea is to help them serve their readers or audience. Reporters usually credit their sources, if not; use the opportunity as a first effort to build your reputation with the media. Eventually it will pay off.
  10. Do your part: If a television or newspaper reporter wants to photograph you in your office with a client or customer. It’s up to you to arrange a client or customer for the photo and make sure you have their permission.

Next time we’ll deal with preparing for the interview.

  1. Hi Margaret: These are great tips for cultivating relationships with media reps. Also useful is to get to know the freelancers who are writing/reporting in your market. Let them know you’re willing to feed them stories, and then follow through when appropriate. Keep your contacts posted on what you’re doing and ask them to do the same for you. As Margaret said, the important thing is to build the relationships.

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