7 Tips for Better Media Relations: Treat That Trade Editor Like A Customer
A recent piece in PR Daily provided solid advice about preparing for a media interview, some of which we’ve adapted and expanded for those of you who are fielding an interviews with a trade media reporters.
1. Talk to the trade reporter as though he or she is one of your customers. In fact, the trade press is an intermediary between you and your customers. Think about the message you are trying to convey to the reporter. Is it any different than what you’d want to tell a customer?
2. Make the reporter’s job easier. The trade press has a tough job. Editorial staffs are never big enough to cover everything happening in the industries they cover. Don’t assume the reporter or editor knows everything about your business. Meet their deadlines so you don’t force them to do unnecessary follow-up.
3. Keep it simple. Most interactions with the trade press will be focused on a very specific subject. Have one key point that you absolutely want the editor to understand and include accurately in her story. You can literally say to the reporter, “If you take away only one thing from our discussion today, this should be it.”
4. Be honest. That should go without saying, but you may be surprised to know that not everyone tells the truth to the news media. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to tell the reporter everything you know, or go beyond the scope of the question. But your answers should be truthful in what you do reveal. You want to be a trusted source, a go-to subject matter expert. So tell the truth. And if you don’t know the answer, don’t make one up. If possible, tell the reporter you’ll get back with an answer, and then do it. “I don’t know” is a better answer than telling the reporter something that is false.
5. Be prepared. Know what the reporter wants to discuss. Write out some notes before your interview. Be prepared to share some knowledge with the reporter that will make his story more interesting – and make him feel like more of an expert. Practice what you’re going to say. Understand the ground rules; for example, find out how much time the reporter has. Speak authoritatively and take your time. A pause to collect your thoughts can be an effective way to let your last point sink in with the reporter.
6. Put things in perspective. Use easily understood comparisons to make your point. If you have a statistic that helps provide clarity, use it. But don’t flood the reporter with complex information.
7. Follow up. Send the reporter anything you promised – photos, spec sheets, whatever is relevant to ensuring the reporter accurately represents the information you have shared.
If you’d like help preparing for a media interview or news event, call us at 630/377-2555. Cooper Hong Inc. supports a wide range of clients with business-to-business public relations, and we’re ready to help you build and maintain contact with the media who cover your industry.
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