For businesses looking to grow their clientele and expand public awareness of their products and services, a healthy jolt of publicity in the form of a published article or TV/radio appearance can work wonders. But earning the priceless PR benefits from such exposure isn’t possible if the reporter assigned to the story can’t connect with you in time.
There’s an unwritten rule in public relations that your fame can far outlast the proverbial 15 minutes if you give the media what they want. Trespass from this rule, however, and you’ll be lucky to get 15 seconds—because the clock ticks away faster from you the longer you deny a reporter or editor the story they seek.
Hence, you either need to reply fast and focused when it comes to inquiries from the media or risk becoming yesterday’s news. If you get a phone call or e-mail from a journalist requesting an interview, follow these tips to maximize your potential for positive publicity:
While it’s always important to respond punctually, avoid providing spontaneous, on-the-spot comments if you have the reporter on the phone during the initial call. You never know the direction that this call can take. Instead, get the person’s contact information and story deadline and ask if you can call them back shortly.
Next, notify your public relations firm of this inquiry; they can manage the entire process for you, including scheduling the interview and photos at a time that accommodates both your calendar and the reporter’s deadline. Your PR professional will also help prepare you on providing appropriate answers/quotes and may be able to learn of any other sources featured in the article, including your competitors. Additionally, they can help analyze whether participating in the article or broadcast segment is in your company’s best interest and advise you accordingly.
Even if you don’t want to be interviewed, it’s always a good idea to respond in a timely fashion. If you completely ignore the request, you may not be contacted again by that writer or the publication or station he/she works for, which means you’ll miss out on future publicity opportunities. Worse, they may try interviewing your competitor instead.
The moral to this story? Capitalize on the right publicity prospects as they arise, be prepared and always respect a journalist’s deadline. For more valuable suggestions on how you can get out the good word about your business by utilizing the power of the media, contact me.