Whether you’re excited to field your first interview or you consider yourself an old pro, ask yourself: am I media friendly? This entails having your website in order, establishing media protocols and keeping priorities in check.
We’ve created a checklist to maximize your media relations:
- Check your website. You should have basic FAQ information easily laid out and accessible to answer basics on your company. You also need a clear media contact listed—make it easy for journalists to take next steps to learn more about you.
- Get media trained. If you plan to interact regularly with the media, proper training is a worthy investment so you know what to expect and how to handle a variety of interview scenarios. “Just winging it” isn’t always the best approach, especially for a broadcast interview.
- Keep it simple. Part of media training will teach you to speak in simple language. If you’re in a jargon-heavy industry, this is especially important. You need to skip the abbreviations and use simple, clear terms anyone can understand. Even if the reporter has industry knowledge, don’t assume their audience does. You could lose potential customers if you talk over their heads.
- Establish protocols. Everyone at your company, from the receptionist to the executives, must know the protocol for when a journalist calls. One way to lose an opportunity is to bounce the reporter around the phone chain looking for the correct spokesperson.
- Respect deadlines. The media lives by their deadlines—opportunities often come fast and furious. Respond with your availability ASAP and be flexible; interviews happen from trains and outside conference rooms all the time. Journalists will appreciate your willingness to hop on a quick call.
- Focus on the relationship. Not every interview will focus on you and your company. Participate in conversations that showcase your industry thought leadership, and be a willing source for journalists. Help them out in any way you can, even when it’s not directly related to you. By focusing on the relationship and not your direct benefit, you’ll establish yourself as one of their first calls.
- Pick your battles. Journalists are human, and in their fast-paced world, mistakes happen. Maybe your title was slightly off, or you feel you were misquoted. All fair points, but before you ask for a correction be sure it’s worth asking the reporter to take that extra step for you. It’s important to pick your battles, especially when working with a reporter with whom you don’t have an existing relationship.