This guest post is an excerpt from The Little Red Book of PR Wisdom, written by Brian Johnson of Australia, an award-winning journalist, a former news director, on-air presenter, producer, narrator, foreign correspondent and documentary maker, who has worked for radio, television, magazines, newspapers and websites. He has provided editorial PR services to a diverse range of leading organisations in the private and public sector including “60 Minutes,” Penthouse magazine, Lifeline to the National Trust. The Little Red book of PR Wisdom, 260 pages, is $34.95 delivered, and the ebook is $11.99.
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By Brian Johnson
If possible, it’s a good idea to have two contacts on your press release or pitch.
Sometimes the media will phone and want to do the interview then and there. If you’ve only got one option, that person may not be available.
You might think it unreasonable not to be given notice. But you have put out a media release and the person you have nominated is, by definition, available for the interview.
Also, if you’re distributing releases on a regular basis, try not to offer the same person (it may be your boss) over and over. Too often, deep inside the media organisation you’re trying to crack, you will hear, “Oh, we spoke to him last week,” as your release gets rejected.
Have someone else on tap. If there’s an expert who fits your material, see if he or she is happy to be interviewed as well.
PR people can become paranoid about “owning” the topic and making sure they get their plugs in during the interview. They feel that by offering up an outside expert, their own organisation might not get the credit deserved.
Every so often, you get coverage where the credit isn’t forthcoming, and this can come to be seen as the paranoid norm. It’s not true.
If the media are doing the story, they will instinctively let the audience know where it comes from, so you’ll get your plug in.
And keep in mind that it’s about giving the media the story they want so you can get coverage in the first place.
The clincher is to link your organisation to the information as exclusively as possible – as the source of the information – and then offer the best interview options.
Otherwise you’ll be left to wonder why no one called, because you alone are convinced this was a better topic than the last one.
Give the media options and avoid the one-spokesperson-fits-all approach.