Media Relations 101
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  • 1. INTRO TO MEDIA RELATIONS
  • 2. UNDERSTANDING THE NEWS MEDIA
  • 3. Understanding the News Media
    • Media relations –
    • Refers to a relationship that an individual or organization develops with journalists
    • Informing the public of an organization’s mission, policies and practices in a positive, consistent and credible manner
    • Broadly divided into proactive and reactive activities
    • Public relations –
    • Extends that relationship beyond the media to the general public
    • Gains an organization or individual exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment
    • It also offers third-party legitimacy that advertising does not have
  • 4. Understanding the News Media
    • Purpose of media relations:
    • To build awareness through third-party sources
    • To create understanding of an issue or position
    • To develop public image; foster goodwill toward the organization
    • To publicize a new product or service
    • The role of media:
    • To tell THE story, not to tell YOUR story
  • 5.
    • Proactive Media Relations:
    • Stories initiated by the company and/or the agency
    • News releases
    • Bylined articles
    • Case studies
    • Expert source pitches
    • Human interest stories
    • Social Media
    • Editorial calendar opportunities
    • Crisis Media Relations: Stories initiated by the reporter that
    • may not be favorable toward the company or that result
    • from conditions beyond the company’s control
    Understanding the News Media
  • 6.
    • What is news?
    • Is it new
    • Is it unique
    • Is it the first
    • Is it timely
    • Is it the only
    • Is it local
    Understanding the News Media
  • 7.
    • Understanding Media Lead Times
    • Daily newspapers (4 p.m. night before)
    • Weekly newspapers (2 days to a week before)
    • Television (same day to two weeks)
    • Radio (same day to two weeks)
    • Online (immediate)
    Understanding the News Media
  • 8.
    • As a spokesperson, you have the right to:
    • Not be tricked
    • Be treated fairly
    • Be quoted accurately
    • To say “I don’t know”
    • Know the topic of the interview beforehand
    • Know who you’ll be talking with and if they’ve written about the company
    • As a spokesperson, you are obligated to:
    • Be honest and be ethical
    • Be professional
    • Be prepared
    Understanding the News Media
  • 9.
    • As a spokesperson, you DO NOT have the right to:
    • Say things “off the record”
    • Review an article before it goes to print/airs
    • Speak about topics or issues you are not educated on
    • Disclose private information about the company, its employees, its agents, its customers or its vendors unless approved in advance
    Understanding the News Media
  • 10. Understanding the News Media
    • Do’s and Don’ts of Media Relations
    • Do:
    • Treat this as a business relationship
    • Rehearse
    • Remember to use key messages
    • Speak in sound-bites
    • Be memorable
    • Know the media will talk to your competitors
    • Respect deadlines
    • Provide detail
  • 11. Understanding the News Media
    • Don’t:
    • Keep talking to fill silence
    • Speculate
    • Talk too fast
    • Forget: Everything you say can and will be used in print
    • Bad mouth anyone
  • 12. The 4-Step Interview Process
  • 13.
    • Screening
    • Preparation
    • Interview
    • Follow Up
    The 4-Step Interview Process
  • 14. The 4-Step Interview Process
    • Screening
    • Ask questions about the interview
      • Topic
      • Deadline
      • Contact information
      • Publication
    • Stall, if necessary
      • This isn’t a good time. Can I call you back this afternoon or tomorrow?
    • Do NOT get pushed into an instant interview
    • Determine if you want to do the interview in-person or over the phone
    • Contact your agency to make them aware of the opportunity. In most cases, media should be referred to your communications leader.
  • 15.
    • Screening
    • Research the reporter
        • Do they usually cover this topic or beat
        • Have they covered organization before
        • Was it a positive story or experience
        • What is their background
    • Research the publication
        • Is this a tier one, tier two or tier three media outlet
        • What is the audience (agents, customers, employees)
    • Determine the appropriate spokesperson
        • Are you the expert
        • Is there someone else that is more appropriate for the topic or audience of the publication
    The 4-Step Interview Process
  • 16. The 4-Step Interview Process
    • Preparation
    • Analyze the reporter’s request to further your own communications objectives by writing down:
      • 2 – 3 key messages you want to convey
      • 2 – 3 difficult questions you’re likely to face and how you would answer them
    • Get your surroundings ready
      • Reserve a space for the interview where you won’t be interrupted
      • Gather any supporting materials or relevant press information
    • Get yourself ready
      • Rehearse key messages, particularly if this is for a broadcast interview
      • Review statistics, dates or other information you want to convey
      • Take a deep breath
  • 17.
    • The Interview
    • Avoid:
    • Hallway interviews
    • Lunch interviews
    • Interview during happy hour or over cocktails
    • Interviews during private events
    • Do:
    • Set ground rules up front
    • Outline any topics that are off-limits
    • Communicate any time constraints up front
    The 4-Step Interview Process
  • 18. The 4-Step Interview Process
    • A good answer:
    • States or restates the question
    • Gets right to the point
    • Is conversational and sincere
    • Uses relevant facts, figures and names
    • Doesn’t use industry jargon
    • Is informational, not promotional
    • Uses visuals to clarify a point, as available
    • Is truthful
        • If you don’t know, say so.
        • If you make a mistake, correct it.
        • Never speculate.
        • Don’t lie.
  • 19. The 4-Step Interview Process
    • Positive Vs. Negative Language
    • Word choice during an interview can be critical in helping to ensure your words don’t get misquoted or your thoughts misrepresented.
    • Avoid negatives, absolutes and statements that place blame
    • Choose positive, more flexible words and statements
    • Use power words that describe action or invoke emotion/feeling
    Valuable Lessons Mistakes Differences Faults Unwise Bad Could have Should have Seldom Never Often Always Situation Problems Instead use… Avoid…
  • 20. The 4-Step Interview Process
    • Controlling the Interview
    • Bridge from a question or topic to the answer/message you want to give
        • From my perspective …
        • Let’s talk about something I am even more familiar with …
    • Briefly answer the question, but quickly move to a message you’d like to give
        • Yes, but …
    • Pose a new question and answer it yourself
        • The real question here is “what are we doing about the problem.”
        • The heart of the matter really is “what we are doing about the problem”
    • Stop talking
        • Reporters often leave uncomfortable gaps of silence to get you to fill the space
  • 21. The 4-Step Interview Process
    • Responding to difficult or inappropriate questions
    • Stay calm
    • Don’t show panic – by laughing, avoiding eye contact or body language
    • Take a deep breath and collect your thoughts
    • Don’t be defensive
    • Use pre-determined lines to buy you some time or to address the nature of the question
        • I wasn’t prepared to talk about that today.
        • I can send you some additional information on this topic.
        • I’m not sure how this question is relevant to the topic at hand.
        • Can you elaborate on the question?
        • I’m not familiar with the issue/situation and am not equipped to discuss this.
  • 22. The 4-Step Interview Process
    • Follow up
    • Discuss how the interview went with a member of communications or the agency
        • Were you able to include key messages
        • Were there any errors in the information provided
        • What was the tone of interview
        • What questions were asked
        • Is follow up needed
        • Do you know when the piece is expected to run
    • Make any corrections or clarifications immediately following the interview
  • 23. The 4-Step Interview Process
    • Follow up
    • What if there is an error or mistake?
    • It is appropriate to promptly address a factual error or mistake
    • Be aware that print retractions and corrections are usually tiny and are not immediate
    • Online edits can usually be made in real-time
    • What if the article is negative?
    • Be cautious
    • Assess how much damage is really done
    • Address an issue first with the reporter you spoke with
    • Don’t risk ruining a good relationship
    • Use your communications leader to handle this matter
  • 24. QUESTIONS? Mike Hogan Media Relations Specialist Phone: 614/383-1617 Email: mike.hogan@fahlgren.com