If you are going to be proactive about getting earned media attention (editorial coverage), than you need to be prepared. Run through your company with a check list and decide what needs to be improved upon before you pimp yourself out to the media.
Before this, you probably were reactive to the writers that contacted you. If someone called and requested an interview for a story, you either complied or denied. You probably missed a view good opportunities along the way as well.
Pick Your Spots
You decide which media outlets (magazines/TV/newspapers and radio) you would like to see your company featured in and invite them to meet the key players.
Make a list of potential columns, sections and segments of the publications and television shows where you think your business or your expertise can contribute newsworthy information.
- Be sure to appoint interviewees/representatives from the company. Don’t let just anyone be interviewed. Not everyone is good on camera and not everyone communicates your message well.
Skip the Tricky Questions
Remember, you do not have to answer every single question a writer asks, especially financial questions. If you do not want to answer a question, you can simply say, “we cannot comment on that”, but be prepared.
- If you are opening up your doors to a reporter, make sure all company members that are being interviewed for a story have consistent answers. Nobody should contradict any one else. That will be one big red flag.
Whenever you are in doubt about how to answer, tell the reporter you will need to get back to them. Don’t let anyone put you on the spot.
- Never feel rushed into answering anything.
As far as financials go, you can give percentages of growth, but remember you should be able to back all big claims if you are going to make them.
- Reporters and journalists can be very skeptical. They are trained to look for problems. They want a balanced story and will look to show the good, the bad and the ugly. The upside and the downside. It won’t be “all positive”. That’s why it’s not an advertisement that you wrote. It’s called editorial coverage.
In order to simplify the process, it’s best to consider all possible questions that will be asked. Think like a journalist. Write down the nosiest questions you can dream up. You and your team can then meet together to discuss the answers to these questions and you should write them down, exactly how you would like to see them in print. It is important that everyone in the company is on the same page.
If you decide do not want to answer a question, be sure to left everyone know – We will not be answering any questions like (give them clear-cut examples).