The Nine Worst Mistakes You Can Make When Dealing With The Media
"Did you get my article in yet?" That question, when asked by a PR person or business owner, is enough to set a reporter's teeth on edge. All it manages to convey to the reporter is that you don't bother to read his or her publication or tune into their program. To give you a leg up in dealing with the media and in the spirit of learning from our mistakes, we've compiled a list of things never to do, when dealing with the media.
1. Ask "Did you get it yet?" It's sort of the PR equivalent of a kid asking "Are we there yet?" All it does is waste time and irk the reporter. It is better to ask if the reporter has any questions about what was sent.
2. Ask "Can it run on the first page?" That's like someone telling you how to run your business. Determining story placement is an editor's job. It is presumptuous to ask them to run it in a certain location or to complain if you don't like the placement.
3. Ask "If I buy an ad, will you run my story?" That's bribery and any legitimate reporter will be offended. Save your advertising questions for the advertising department and your editorial for the report. Of course, if advertising offers to help you get free editorial (and you can ask them how to go about it if you're buying an ad), that's a different story. Grab it.
4. Don't send a release about something the reporter doesn't cover. Do your homework. Determine who is writing about your areas of expertise - and send your material to that reporter. That way the story will appear in the section of the paper that will be of most benefit to you.
5. Don't bombard the paper with releases. Target your release to the people at the media outlet most likely to use it. If you don't know, call the publication and ask an editorial assistant. You'll be appreciated for doing so.
6. Don't vanish. There is absolutely no point in sending out a release if you're not going to be available for an interview. By hook or crook, make yourself available, find another spokesperson - or don't bother sending a release.
7. Ask "Why wasn't I quoted?" That's questioning the reporter's and paper's judgment. Often times, you may have been cut out for space reasons by an editor. Better to work on your "quotability factor" by giving sound bites that are just too good to be cut.
8. Say "Call me when it runs" Read the publication or view the program and find out yourself when it runs. A reporter doesn't want or need to be bothered.
9. Lastly, be considerate of their deadline, not yours! Most importantly, whenever you call on a reporter be courteous and ask if they have a few moments to speak with you if they are not on deadline. If they are, phone back later. The reporter will appreciate it and it will help you build your relationship with that person over time.