If you’re aiming to grow your products and services and expand your client base, there’s no panacea quite like positive public relations. A well-timed article on your firm in the newspaper, a mention of your offerings in a radio or TV segment or an Internet post that pours on the praise about your business can add a healthy boost to your bottom line.
But if you’re dead set against garnering good publicity and want to ensure that the media don’t bother you in the future, follow these suggestions:
Don’t reply to your PR agency’s messages. You’re paying a PR firm to field media inquiries, so they should conduct the interview for you, right? In fact, to save time, give them permission to impersonate you on the phone to a reporter at any time.
Keep your press releases locked in the vault. You’ve paid your PR agency to write stories promoting your products and services, but that doesn’t mean they should ever see the light of day. Keep them locked up tight—someday, perhaps when Scorpio is rising and Mercury is retrograde, you may choose to approve and release them.
Be impossible to get a hold of. If a reporter is trying to track you down for an interview, just ignore the calls and messages. Eventually, they’ll get the hint that you’re too busy to be disturbed.
It’s your calendar or the highway. When trying to schedule an interview date and time, adopt the can’t lose approach of the “let’s do lunch”-promising Hollywood mogul. Refer the reporter to your secretary, who should make it clear that it’s an honor and a privilege to talk with you and that virtually every second of your calendar is booked solid over the next three months, but that you can be squeezed in on a Friday evening in August for five minutes.
Let spontaneity rule the day. If you do decide to pick up that phone, don’t waste time thinking before you speak. Just say whatever comes to mind—after all, you’re pretty good at improvisation.
Hawk your wares and toot your horn. There’s nothing wrong with being a shameless self-promoter when talking to a journalist. Who cares about the questions the reporter specifically asks? Amaze this person with detailed minutia about the wonderful products and services you offer and the fascinating personal life you lead.
Take charge. Assert yourself as the controller of the conversation and be sure to monopolize the reporter’s time. Don’t even let that media leech get a word in edgewise. Convince the unconverted of the hypnotizing power of your voice.
Duck behind your off-the-record shield. Why take the risk of being misquoted or having your comments taken out of context? Before answering each of the journalist’s questions, keep repeating the words “this is off the record.” Like the mask of Medusa, these sacrosanct words should turn the reporter to stone and prevent him from ever repeating in print a syllable you’ve said. Now go home and sleep well tonight.
For more helpful tips on how to work with the media and handle publicity opportunities, contact me today.