PR Basics - Baseline PR Preparation, Part Deux

Posted on Jan 10, 2012 in CHI University
Tags: pr tips, pr basics, public relations, pr, integrated marketing communications, public relations firms

You have your elevator pitch at the tip of your tongue and your company backgrounder is within fingers’ reach of your staff. To effectively establish your baseline PR, it takes more than preparing what you will say. You need to identify who will say it, how you’ll present your information when an interview opportunity comes along and who your audience is.


Who, Who? Don’t be an Owl. Know your Audience.

Step one: Know your audience. How do your customers retrieve their news and/or information? It’s important to know what topics your audience is looking for and how they are finding it. In addition to knowing how your customers seek and consume information, you must also know your media:

  • Know your local/regional media – this includes print, broadcast and online media
  • Know your trade media – this includes bloggers who cover your field
  • Know your service organizations, customers, friends and prospects

Why do you need to know your media? Because you must always be prepared for who may call. Knowing your media puts you ahead of the game and keeps you ready for anyone that may be looking for a story, and knowing your customers ensures you’re ready for what topics the media will cover.


Who is Speaking on Behalf of Your Company?

If you don’t know who your company spokesperson is, it’s time to appoint one. Once you know who she or he is, then let everyone else know. Everyone else, meaning the media. If you don’t assign and clarify who your media spokesperson is, everyone who walks in and out of your building is a potential spokesperson who can be stopped by the media and interviewed about your company. In addition to identifying your spokesperson, confirm the procedure for when media call, email or stop by the office to ensure preparedness and consistency.


The Media Rang. Now What?

We can’t stress this enough: Always, always, always be ready for an interview. You don’t need to have a script for what you’ll say, as you won’t always know the questions. But you can ensure interview success by knowing the following, backwards and forwards, and being able to recite them at a moment’s notice:

  • What are the key messages for your company and your brand?
  • Think about the question that keeps you up at night, the one you dread someone asking. Answer it. Have that answer ready for if/when (when) it comes.

Other tips for interviewing? Take control. Having the media approach you for an interview with no notice can be intimidating and daunting. But by taking control, the interview is in your hands. When media call or email, ask the following questions:

  • “What is your deadline? Okay, can I call you back at 11?”
  • “Can you please provide a list of your questions?”
  • “Have you interviewed anyone else?”

Having these questions ready when media call ensures you do the interview on your time, on your terms, allowing you to prepare and represent your company in the best possible way.
You can pitch in an elevator, you’re carrying your company backgrounder in laminate form and you’re ready for anything the media throws at you. Now it’s time to show it off with baseline PR visibility. Stay tuned for the blog coming up in the PR Basics series.

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