Media Relations 101


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Media relations best practices

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Media Relations 101

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