8 tips for handling media opportunities

8 tips for handling media opportunities

You’ve sent out that perfect pitch and the reporter has responded with interest. You’re excited—as you should be! You celebrate by doing a happy dance around your office—then, it hits you: now what?

The work doesn’t end after researching and crafting the pitch and capturing a reporter’s attention. So, what are your next steps?

Here are some tips to help you make the most of any media attention that comes your way.

1. RSVP. At the top of the list is a prompt response. If a reporter responds to your outreach, be sure to get back to him or her promptly. Even if you don’t have all the answers to their questions, at least let them know you’ve received the message and are working on responding to their requests. If you wait, the opportunity may disappear because they’ll have moved on to the next story or source on their list.

2. Provide what they need. Make sure you’re ready BEFORE reaching out to media by having your images, logos, customer references and any other information they may request ready.  

3. Prepare for the interview. Do a little research on the reporter. Take a look at what he or she has written to get a sense of his or her style. Read his or her bio. Think about what questions he or she may ask—and what answers you’ll give. It doesn’t hurt to prepare a Q&A document to refer to and rehearse answers, especially for tougher questions.

4. Listen more than you talk. During the interview, you want to make sure you don’t talk too much. We may have all been on media calls with clients who, despite coaching to the contrary, seem to do ALL the talking! Not a good move, especially if you want to build a relationship with the reporter. Let the reporter drive the discussion. Of course, you do want to answer their questions and work in your nuggets (see next point), but don’t overdo it.

5. Work in your “nuggets." What are the top three things you want this reporter to take away from your interview? If they remember nothing else, what three key messages—or nuggets—do you want them to write about? Open and close with those and try to weave them in throughout the interview, as much as it makes sense.

6. Wrapping up. When you wrap up the interview, make sure to ask if the reporter needs anything else—images, customer references, etc. See #2 above so you’re prepared to send these over immediately after the interview. Also during wrap up, you should ask when the article or interview might appear. You can then follow up to get copies, if it’s a print publication, or make sure to inform your audiences when it will air, if it’s a broadcast interview.

7. Follow up. If the reporter did need something, make sure to get him or her the requested information as soon as possible. If they contact you with questions following the interview, get right back to them with the answers (or reply to say you’re working on getting them the answers—refer back to #1 above). Even if they don’t send any follow up questions, it’s not a bad idea to simply send them a quick email to thank them for their time and ask if there’s anything more that they need.

8. Promote Your PR. When the article appears, blast it out via social media, post it on your site, share with your sales team and employees—make sure to let your audiences know it’s out there. You worked hard to secure it—now be sure to leverage it. Be sure to tag the reporter and publication in your social media posts.

Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to building a relationship with the reporter so that next time he or she needs an expert source, they’ll call you first.

Michelle Messenger Garrett is a public relations consultant, speaker and award-winning writer with more than 20 years of agency, corporate, startup and Silicon Valley experience. She works with clients ranging from small businesses to enterprises such as Adobe and HP, assisting them in crafting and carrying out a PR strategy to help them get the word out, get noticed and increase visibility, prospects and sales.

Photo: Media interview via Shutterstock

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