One of the
most valuable things a company can do is establish good
relationships with the media. This does not mean bugging
media members to death – it means becoming a valuable
resource that journalists and editors can rely on for
solid information in your industry. Here are several
methods to get on good terms with the media.
accessible. Make sure the media knows where to find you.
Make it easy by placing a link to a media contact
information page in a prominent position on your Web
site. At the minimum, have your media contact
information at the top of the site’s “Contact Us” or
“About Us” pages.
call. Too often, reporters call a company at deadline,
only to be put on hold or sent into voicemail. Calling
them back later is no way to score points. All media
calls should be handled personally by the most qualified
employee available. If your media representative is out,
the next most responsible person should handle the call.
Never drop an opportunity.
agreeable. Don’t argue with journalists. It’s the
quickest way to make enemies who can make your life
hell. You can present your side of the story without
getting confrontational or irritable.
perspective. Understand that what you want from a story
may not be what reporters are looking for. Try to
understand their perspective and present your
information as helpfully as possible. If you can’t help
them on a particular call, don’t waste their time – tell
them. Being honest will earn you future calls on more
appointments. If an emergency keeps you from an
interview or briefing, whether on the phone or in
person, make sure someone else keeps the appointment.
Never let a journalist down.
look good. Provide journalists with more information
than they ask for whenever you can. Helping them by
providing valuable research and information can make you
a hero in their eyes. But make sure it’s useful
information on the core subject and not fluff.
Journalists can see through a sales pitch and won’t want
to use you again if you take that approach.
have established relationships with media, work to keep
those relationships alive. This doesn’t mean calling
journalists every week with useless information. Call
them when you have reliable information on industry news
– even if it doesn’t concern your company. Giving
journalists an inside scoop on current events will get
you on their source list of and keep you there.