7 questions reporters should ask PR pros
When you work with reporters on almost a daily basis, you learn a lot of about the media industry. You pick up nuances among publications and outlets and working styles of different reporters.
You also get asked a lot of questions (and that’s okay, because I ask a ton right back).
Many are unsurprising. Others make me wonder why I don’t hear them more often -- because the answers were valuable to the people asking them.
Here are the questions reporters should consider asking the PR pros they work with.
1. “Can you send this to me by X time on Y date?”
Broadly speaking in the business world, it’s helpful to state when you need something by. It’s particularly helpful in media relations for reporters to set deadlines from the get-go. We’re going to ask anyway, so including it in an original request saves a few emails and a bunch of time.
2. “Which other clients do you work with?”
If you’re working with PR pros at agencies, it’s wise to ask which other clients or projects they’re working with. Often times, they represent similar clients to those you’re already aware of. The PR pro may have a line into another executive or spokesperson you’ll want to interview at a later time (or pass along to a colleague).
3. “Can I meet with him/her?”
The preferred follow-up question to the previous one but can also apply in other situations.
4. “What should I be on the lookout for?”
Only a few reporters I’ve worked with in the past have asked a spokesperson about upcoming milestones for his or her firm or macroeconomic/industry events to keep on the radar. But why wouldn’t you? If a top executive working in a firm or industry you cover is anticipating something, maybe you should too.
5. “What else should I know about?”
I have a love/hate reaction to this question, only because sometimes I don’t know the answer. But asking this question leaves it open-ended for interview subjects to talk about what’s top-of-mind. And sometimes that’s more interesting than the original topic.
6. "Can you confirm this?”
I know most reporters are really good about fact-checking and will continue to be. Still, there have been occurrences when inaccurate information needed to be corrected. Speedy and detail-oriented are two adjectives that can rarely be done together successfully, but both are critical to our industries. I encourage everyone I work with to take extra time to review and reporters should feel free to fact check diligently.
7. “What’s up?”
I invest my time in helping to put the “relations” back into “media relations.” You tend to work better with people you know better, so cultivating relationships (on both sides) is helpful in understanding each other’s working styles and personalities.
What other questions should journalists ask PR pros?
Julia Sahin works in financial communications at one of the largest PR firms in New York and is a monthly contributor to Muck Rack. She plans on doing big things. Connect with her on Twitter. All opinions should be seen as her own and do not reflect her employer’s.
Photo via Pixabay