To remain relevant you should create a content calendar of topics to stay in front of your target market and integrate with other media and marketing outreach such as newsletter or social media posts. This will help develop relationships with other key influencers.
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There are more businesses looking to stay out of the media than get their name in the paper or their logo on TV. A good publicist or PR firm can work with reporters, editors and producers to keep their clients out of the media, as much as they can work to get them in. Here's how.
I have a friend who manages a number of properties and he is always quoted in real estate stories but has never used a PR firm.
He has developed relationships with a number of reporters in the region by sharing information with them over the years. Studies and research, tips and other great insight that would help them craft a solid story.
He gave more than he received and for that reporters would quote him as a third party resource. Over time. the advice was sound and the reporters started to quote him more and more.
If that is something that interests you, know what you can speak on and what you can share. Identify the reporters who cover those issues and follow them. Share their stories, send them an email or Tweet about their story, something you would add, perhaps additional insight into the issue and remain available and responsive should they eventually call you.
Confidence and preparation are the key to nailing any interview. As an attorney I used to be nervous appearing before a judge. Not only was there a judge and a courtroom filled with attorneys and bystanders, but opposing counsel was there at the other table waiting to object or enforce the rules of procedure. However, with preparation and practice comes confidence and comfort.
The same goes for an interview with a reporter. Now granted it is easier to talk with a reporter by phone, but in person, in front of a microphone (or smartphone) or camera, the nerves start to take over. In engaging a reporter like a judge, confidence is key. If this is an issue you are comfortable with you should treat as you would any conversation. In general,
- Answer only the questions asked
- Speak in soundbites
- Know what you want to say and say it
- Stick to your key messages
- Always go back to your key messages
Sometimes, however, you are caught off-guard and the subject is not positive. You are not prepared and not sure what they will ask you.
If that happens and you find the reporter asking questions and abruptly interrupting you, such as asking more questions before you can answer the first one, know that the reporter has an agenda, and it is not to make you look good.
If that is the case, wait for the reporter to finish and don't feel like you have to answer everything he or she asks.
Take a deep breath, look at the reporter in the eye with confidence and say,
"You asked a lot of questions, so let me try to answer them."
While you don't have to answer everyone, just stick to your key messages.
Never be confrontational -- it makes great television, but does not make you look great. Watch out for reporters in this situation ask you the same questions differently. If that happens just stick to your key messages.
Investigative reporters do their homework and chances are, if they come to you, they may already have produced the story and are just waiting to throw in a sound bite from you. Sometimes investigative reporters work on stories for years, file it away and just continue to work on it until they are ready to air it.
Sometimes, a reporter will act dumb or seem ignorant. Don't assume they are because they are not -- it is a tactic -- just like silence is used to get someone to talk. If a reporter asks you to explain something, ask them what exactly they want to know. Be as brief as possible and don't talk just to talk - just stick to your message.
Ninety-five of the reporters out there are professional and great people. In fact, you may find in some instances they are too friendly. Sometimes in preparing for a three minute story, they may spend an hour or more with you and you will talk casually. Feel free to talk but be guarded about what you say about the subject of the interview.
Again, think as if a judge is instructing the jury that while they can go home they cannot talk to anyone about the case, read anything about the issues or go on Twitter or Facebook at risk of tainting the jury.
So off camera or when the microphone is down, stick to sports and the weather.
The best advice is never saw anything that you will regret if your mother, spouse or children read it, see it or hear it. Be prepared, Be Confident and Leverage the Media to help you meet your goals in protecting your reputation.
It is the role of media, to investigate, to inform and to drive change in the public arena. Many reporters have a lot invested in developing these stories. Chances are, by the time they get to you, their stories have already been written and produced. They are simply looking for a quick visual and a soundbite.
- Know why you want to talk to the media. What do you hope to achieve in talking to the media? Before you talk with a reporter, know what you want to accomplish, even if they catch you by surprise.
- Know your audience. Then understand who your audience is. This will help you craft the appropriate messages that resonate with the right audience.
- Know what you want to say. Have a few key messages you want to convey and stick to those messages.
- Don’t hide anything you don’t want them to find later. When speaking to the media be concise and thorough and tell them everything that you can with in reason.
- “Off the record” or “For background only.” As a general rule, if you don’t want it in print then don’t say it.