Working with the press is a skill every smart business owner should seek to develop, especially nowadays as access to the press has never been easier. It really doesn’t matter how large or small your business is, the press can make you or break you when it comes to getting the word out about your products and services. Here are a few suggestions on how you can create a positive relationship with the media.
Know Their Deadlines
Learn the different deadlines that your contacts in the various press organisations work under and always seek to meet these deadlines. The press generally work to very stringent deadlines and if you want to be really involved you’ll need to know them and make it easy for your contacts to meet these.
Return Calls from the Press
If the press contact you and you miss the call, always return calls or emails in a timely manner. Even if you can’t be of help at that particular time, you might be able to point them in the right direction and sometimes just being willing, is all it takes to get quoted.
Learn that relationships are a two way streak and don’t just reach out to contacts in the press when you want them to do something for you. Reach out when you can do something for them too.
Answer Their Questions
When the press does call you about something, be sure to answer their questions or try to send them to someone who can, so that you can be known as someone who is willing to be available to them and to help them.
Be a Willing Resource
People are typically lazy and the press is no different to you and me there, they like to take the easiest way to get the information they need to do a story. Be the resource that is always open to giving them the information they need and they will always turn to you.
Do Your Research and Know Your Stuff
It’s important to do enough research about the press to know exactly who to talk to and when. Also, it’s important to understand how they like to receive their news items and the right people to send your news to.
Learn Sound Bites
The trick to being quotable is to learn to think and talk in sound bites so that the press can easily package your quotes and use them. The less they need to edit what you say, the more likely they are to use your quotes.
Don’t Exaggerate or “Spin”
While some puffery is expected in marketing and advertising, it is not something you should participate in when dealing with the press in terms of building a positive relationship with them. The best advice is always to be open and honest and if you’re like me you call a spade a spade, in other words just be yourself.
As long as you seek to make yourself a resource to the press, rather than to seek to use them for your own benefit, the press will be there for you when you need them. Creating a positive relationship with the media requires very little additional work on your part and will pay off in big ways, remember a television interview is only ever a call a way if you’re known in the right circles and if you learn to work with the press.