The next time you do a media interview, remember these 10 Magic Phrases the Media Love.
Almost no one says these things during an interview. That’s because most people being interviewed talk about themselves and worry about impressing reporters or editors. Use these phrases and they’ll remember you.
“Is this a good time to talk?”
If you call on deadline, these should be the first words out of your mouth. Don’t launch into a long pitch because the reporter might be 10 minutes from deadline.
If they can’t talk to you now, they’ll tell you when to return the call. Don’t expect them to call you unless they ask for your phone number. Even they ask for it, they might not call.
“Do you need other sources?”
Most people being interviewed wouldn’t dream of offering other sources for a story. They want it to be only about them. Why let anyone else hog the spotlight?
Because journalists sometimes work for media outlets that insist on stories with multiple sources. And because the offer makes it look like you’re willing to go far beyond the interview to help the reporter. If the reporter needs a specific kind of source and you don’t know anyone who would be a good match, say so. But if you can help, do it.
“What other information do you need?”
You might be surprised at what you hear. Listen.
“How can I help you?”
This is another question almost no one asks. It’s a valuable tool. Use it.
“Would you like a media kit?”
A media kit is a collection of information that helps them cover you. It includes things like your bio, head shot, environmental photos, frequently asked questions, press releases, articles, etc. If you’re an author, it might include a sell sheet, order form, book synopsis, a press release about your book, and a photo of the cover.
Journalists, because they’re often rushed, don’t always think to ask for this. They’ll be grateful you reminded them.
“I can provide a (map, pie chart, illustration or other graphic).”
When I worked as a reporter, I was sometimes so busy gathering information for the story that a photo and graphics slipped my mind. Have maps, pie charts or other graphics on hand that they can use. If the quality isn’t perfect, that’s OK. Bigger publications will take what you have and make it look good.
“Are you looking for photo ideas?”
Have a few up your sleeve. Are there props in your office that you could use in a photo? Be willing to let a photographer follow you around your business and take shots of you talking to employees and customers.
“Please call on me if you need anything. I’m also an expert on…”
If they know about your breadth of expertise, they might call on you for another story down the road. Let them know the topics on which you can comment.
“May I call you again in three months?”
This is a good way to stay on their radar screens. Tell them you might call with a story idea
or to check in to see if they need anything. Knowing you’re available to them could mean you
get a call next month.
10. “What’s the best time to call?”
This says, “I care about you.” Listen, and follow their directions.
What phrases have I missed? If you’re a journalist or blogger, what do you like to hear when you speak with sources?