Work with the Media for Free Publicity

by Melanie Rembrandt, www.rembrandtwrites.com on November 9, 2011

You’ve got an interview scheduled with a key media venue. Great! To have a good experience and improve your chances of being quoted correctly, follow these helpful tips:

1) Know your company.

– Review your company’s website, history and key events.

– Understand your company’s marketing messages, key practices, products, and services. Confirm confidential information that you are not supposed to share (revenues, technologies, internal issues, etc.).

– Be aware of current news and trends in your industry and what the competition is doing.

– Prepare some key bullet points before the interview so you know what to discuss.

2) Watch your body language!

– Wear appropriate attire that projects your company’s image (a corporate t-shirt or plain colors with a light-colored shirt under a dark suit jacket or sweater works well)

– Maintain good posture and direct eye contact with the reporter.

– For television, do not look directly into the camera.

3) Answer questions correctly.

– Be positive in your responses (especially if responding to negative questions).

– Be honest about any problems, but focus on positive actions. If you don’t feel comfortable responding to a question, simply state that it would not be right for you to speculate, and then reiterate the facts you know (“Our servers stopped working briefly, but we were able to switch to a secondary power source within minutes. We have added power gauges to all of our systems to ensure that this will not occur in the future.”).

– Know the subject matter you are presenting or say, “I don’t know that information right now, but I can find out for you.”

4) Be brief and to the point when you answer reporter questions.

– “Five C’s to success: Speak with conviction in a conversational manner while retaining composure. Be confident. Remember that you are the expert. Be colorful–tell stories and anecdotes that illustrate your point. Give examples.” (from University of Michigan, News and Information Services)

– Speak in complete sentences and thoughts to improve your chances of being quoted correctly in final media mention.

– Never say, “No comment.”   Explain why you cannot give an answer such as, “I can’t answer that question because it is not our policy to divulge private, client information.”

– Never say anything you don’t want to see or hear in the media, even if it’s “off the record.”

– Listen to the reporter.

– Correct any incorrect statements with facts (ex. “I’m not sure where you received that information, but our company does not provide stock tips.”).

– Provide appropriate company information, success stories and testimonials as needed.

– If you do not understand a question, ask for clarification.

– Avoid jargon and explain any questionable terms.

– Be yourself, and try to make it a pleasant experience for both you and the reporter.

These are just a few quick tips to help you with your publicity efforts. If you have questions, or would like more free PR and SEO copywriting tips, please write to me below or visit www.rembrandtwrites.com. Thanks!

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