There is nothing better than free publicity. But getting it isn’t always easy or glamorous. Here are 20 things your clients should be aware of and ready for when seeking those 15 seconds of fame through TV, radio or print.
- Many times there is an immediate sense of urgency in the media. You must act if you want media coverage. If a reporter calls and you miss it, return their call as SOON as you can. Do not ignore or wait a day to call back. If it’s a topic you aren’t comfortable discussing or you aren’t the right person, that doesn’t mean you can ignore them. They reached out to you for a reason and its better to be honest and either recommend another source or idea for them.
- You may have to drop your lunch meeting or plans if a reporter calls. For example, they could get a story assigned at 1pm and need an interview and story done by the 5pm newscast. If they call, find a way to make this work for them.
- You might have to get up at 4am for a 5am interview. A few hours of lost sleep is worth the great exposure you’ll get from morning show viewers. Yes, there are people watching this early!
- You may spend hours prepping for a TV segment and only 20 seconds of it is shown in a story. This is the reality of editing and time elements behind the scenes with producers.
- Sometimes you are only half of the story. And the other side is offering a different view regarding what you do or say. Journalists don’t write sales copy, they report news. To be unbiased, they will sometimes took for another source to discuss the topic at hand. This is especially true in health or medical related stories.
- Unless you are a big-name celebrity or did something absolutely amazing, an article won’t be all about you. Most reporters look for a variety of people to profile or quote to make the story balanced.
- Don’t expect a profile story or front page story every time you have news to share.
- Never threaten a reporter or try to bribe them into a story. You’ll get blacklisted and so will I!
- Just because you advertise does not mean you get any special priority for stories. Reporters will cringe if you tell them you’re an advertiser and want them to do a story. Yes, there are some situations and media outlets that offer play for pay, but that’s a whole other topic to discuss for marketing plans.
- Sometimes you’ll have a five minute TV segment that ends up being only 2 minutes. That’s just how the cookie crumbles.
- Sometimes the interviewer won’t ask you anything from the talking points provided prior the interview. Be prepared for possible off-the-wall questions or controversial viewpoints, too.
- A reporter is working on a variety of stories at a time. They may not even know your name until they look at their script/notes or understand what you do. Be aware and be prepared for your interviews so your point and name/biz come across when speaking. Everyone is human, too. Sometimes a reporter will call you by the wrong name or mispronounce your business or service. Politely explain the right way to say it.
- There are no guarantees. A reporter may be planning a big story centered around you and then its dropped. You may have a bunch of live shots and interviews set up and then a big fire or national news happens. Many times there is no make-up story afterwards. This is the reality of news…and why its important to do multiple things to promote your event or special. Yes, this does happen when you woke at 4am and spent 2 hours prepping.
- A story could be rescheduled many times. Sometimes the reporter doesn’t know when it will run. You may have something happening on a Saturday, but the reporter wants to do it Sunday. Find a way to make it work.
- Cold hard fact. Sometimes the interviewer doesn’t really care about the topic. For example, in a TV interview they will have a producer and director in their ear (an IFB) talking as you talk, so you may feel ignored, that they aren’t listening or don’t care. This could be true. But that doesn’t matter, you still need to get your message out to the audience, so be on, be energetic and be informative in everything you say.
- Visuals are important. A photograph or TV segment needs to tell a story about the topic at hand. Many media don’t have the staff on hand to come out and shoot your photo. Have hi-res photos available of you, your customers and your services/products. Its worth the investment and you can use these for your website, your promotional material, etc.
- A media coach is a VERY wise investment. If you want to get the right message across, you need to know how to do it and you must practice, practice, practice. If you bomb in an interview, your friends may not say anything, but that reporter or producer will..either to their co-workers, you or me and that’s NOT good.
- Your clients or customers are needed for stories. If you are talking about a new way to lose weight, the media wants to talk to someone who lost weight on the diet plan. Always have a few people in mind that are willing to speak to a reporter.
- Don’t ask for media coverage and then get shy about the calls or attention or coverage. Whats the point?!
- Everything IS on the record. Don’t say “No comment” or ask for certain things to be “off the record.” This is why it’s important to go over talking points and be prepared through media coaching so you know how to get your point across in the most effective manner.
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