Media relations is an important business development function that sometimes gets sidelined, especially in difficult economic times. It’s difficult to quantify its results, so it’s easily disregarded. However, media relations can be vitally important to ensure a company stays ahead of the competition and its message is heard by potential customers.
Media relations is a very effective method of communicating with the community. When doing a media interview, it’s easy to forget that the audience is not the reporter, but his or her readers/viewers. This provides an important education and business development opportunity.
Here are some tips for working with reporters/editors/producers:
- Remember that with media, their deadlines are immediate, particularly with the importance of online media coverage. Understand and respect these immediate deadlines.
- Be accessible. Ensure everyone who answers the company’s telephone knows that reporter calls take priority and should never be placed in voice mail. If the company principal or spokesperson isn’t immediately available, someone needs to explain to the reporter when he/she will be able to return the call.
- Return calls to reporters immediately! If you don’t, your competition probably will.
- Develop relationships with reporters, particularly those that cover your type of company. Ensure you are a ready source of prompt information for reporters.
- If interviewed, relax and do a good job. If you do a good job once, a reporter is more likely to call back for another story.
- Read the newspaper, watch television and listen to the radio. The best way to see how you fit in a particular media outlet’s coverage is to be familiar with them.
- Have information about your company on your company’s Web site (such as history, bios of key leaders, photos and company logo) that reporters and editors can easily acceess.