Top 7 Tips for Working with the Media
By Gina Kazimir
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Itís easy to think that working with the media is mostly a matter of sending your news and then seeing it used. But what you may not think about is what actually happens after the news release is out, the pitch is made and the media decides they're interested. Itís simple to say you have a story, but making sure the story that actually gets told is the one you wanted to communicate can sometimes be a bit tricky. To help, here are the top seven tips for how to work with the media to tell the story you want:
- ALWAYS call the media back immediately. Even if you have to stall them because you donít have the information they need, or arenít sure you want to be part of the story, return the call. An unreturned call is a red flag to many media people, so better to call and then call back than to delay.
- If you want things right, make them easy. Be sure to have fact sheets and detailed backgrounders and put things in a media kit for the reporter to take home. The more detailed, correct information you provide, the easier their job.
- Whenever possible, show, donít tell. Demonstrate your product or service in use if you can. Itís more memorable. If you can't demonstrate, try to find compelling - but comprehensible - statistics or examples to use in your descriptions.
- Know your message and stay on it! Talking to the media should be an expanded version of your "mission speech" -- that 2 minute spiel you can be awakened from a dead sleep and spit out. Rehearse this if needed. Write down talking points before you do an interview -- CEOs do this all the time. It's your story and if you want to control it you need to be the impeccable expert.
- Unless you're being interviewed for breaking news, know that your story may run later than planned, or never run. Other news that is more time-sensitive will take over; placements are lost to stories about the weather. Honestly. It happens Ė just try again.
- The photo people and the writers often do not communicate. And the headline and caption writers are often different from the reporter who did the story. To ensure correct spellings and such, always ask the photographers and camera crews if they need you to write down names or other information for them.
- There is no off-the-record. Ever. If you don't want to see it in print or broadcast, don't say it. Period.
The author of these tips is Gina Kazimir, founder of PR Right Now, Inc. PR Right Now is a showcase PR firm offering complete PR and marketing services online or in person, from full strategic planning to simple news release writing done online in 72 hours or less. For more information on services or to contact the company, visit online at http://www.prrightnow.com or call 410-420-8679.
Article Submitted On: November 15, 2004