Whether you work for a nonprofit or a for-profit company, building strong relationships with the media is crucial. Keeping these tips in mind can help ensure that the experience is a pleasant one for all parties concerned.
# 1: Provide Solid Stats
When meeting with a reporter, you obviously will want to present your company in the most positive light possible. A reporter simply wants to find out the facts and communicate them to his or her readers. These goals can easily align if you help the reporter learn solid, useful stats about your business rather than unverified claims.
# 2: Respond Quickly
Most reporters have one or more editors breathing down their necks to ensure that they submit their assignments by deadline. If you miss interviews, forget to respond to questions and generally make it difficult for a reporter to make a deadline, you can expect to not hear from that journalist again.
# 3: Frame the Issues and the Solution
Especially if a reporter contacts you about some sort of problem that involves your company, you may be tempted to quickly become defensive. However, doing so will frequently only make you look guilty, even if this is not the case. Instead, try to clearly and honestly frame the issues and the subject being discussed, as well as the solution to them if possible. Explain simply and honestly how your company is working to create that solution.
# 4: Refer the Reporter to Someone Else if Necessary
While we’d like to think that we’re all experts on everything in our fields, there will be times when you’re not the best person to speak on certain topics. Rather than wasting a reporter’s time and possibly making yourself look bad in the process, do not be afraid to refer the reporter to someone else; he or she will appreciate your help in ensuring a high-quality story.
# 5: Treat the Reporter with Respect
This last point may seem like it should go without saying, but it frequently goes unheeded nonetheless. Reporters play a critical role in modern society, but they are not always appreciated by individuals or organizations that are uncomfortable with being in the public eye. Simply treating a reporter with respect and appreciation will help establish a cordial, professional relationship on both sides.