The media is sometimes viewed as a thundering herd. Yet it behooves you to examine each media interview in its own separate context. Here are some issues to consider when reporters start firing questions at you:
- Don’t buy into a reporter’s “what if” question. Keep your comments grounded in the real world, not the hypothetical.
- Refuse to be rattled by a reporter who interrupts. Wait for the interruption to subside, then complete your response.
- Set time limits in advance of your interview and enforce them. Better yet, have the public relations advisor who accompanies you enforce this rule.
- Supply the reporter with background information about your organization and your issue ahead of time. This can include news releases, web links, speeches, white papers, and more.
- Ask clarifying questions if you do not understand the reporter’s inquiry. Better that he tease out any nuances than you try to guess.
- Hold firm to any ground rules you agreed to in advance, such as whether they could take a tour of your office or plant. Appoint an “enforcer” in advance.
- Record the interview for your records, if you wish. Nothing fancy needed; a small recorder or your mobile device will do the job.
- Decide in advance which bloggers, if any, you will treat as accredited journalists at your meetings and news conferences.
- Never guess at an answer. If you don’t know, offer to supply the information later or refer the reporter to the proper source.
- Come prepared with third party references. These are contacts who agree to offer some good words about you and your efforts.
Okay, your turn. What methods do you use to raise the odds of being quoted in the press?