If you do PR for your company or organization, one of the best things you can do to get in the media’s good graces is to encourage media people to contact your CEO or other sources directly, without demanding that they go through you. Also, don’t act like a bodyguard, shielding Mr. or Ms. Important from difficult interviews or tough questions.
Making it difficult for journalists to contact your experts was one of the items on a list I wrote titled “11 Things PR People Do That Annoy Journalists.” I shared the list last week when I spoke in Augusta, Georgia to the Innisbrook Agency Group, a group of 15 public relations firms throughout the United States. Mark Alison of the Alison Group in Augusta followed up my comments with a helpful tip that shows he knows how to play the media game.
After one of his clients has completed an interview, Mark calls the reporter and asks:
–“How did the interview go?”
–“Do you need any other information to complete the story?”
And, I love this one:
“After talking to Bill Jones, what do you think the essence of his message is?”
That’s a great tactic because it accomplishes three things. If the reporter misses the point, or fails to grasp the source’s key message, Mark then tries to get the reporter back on the right path. Mark also is offering to help clarify information the source already has given, or supply missing information. The reporter’s responses also help Mark understand if his client needs more coaching on how to interview.
If you or your client are a spokesperson for a company, nonprofit or government agency, make sure they know what’s expected. Al Rothstein explains the difference between a spokesperson and an expert spokesperson, and what the expert must be able to do. Al was my guest during a teleseminar titled How to be an Expert Spokesperson the Media Love.