1. Pam Lontos Column: The Dos and Don'ts of Dealing with the Media
As a business owner, you probably know how important publicity is to the success of your business. But the truth is, many entrepreneurs, high-level executives and even marketing and public relations managers (and maybe you're one of them) make crucial mistakes when dealing with the media - and then they end up on reporter's block call or spam e-mail lists. The good news is, by being aware of the more common dos and don'ts of dealing with reporters and editors, there are many steps you can take to avoid these pitfalls!
Reporters, editors and producers are deluged with requests from hopeful business owners, corporate public-relations professionals, authors and other people seeking coverage. Their days are spent meeting impossible deadlines while doing copious amounts of work, all the while constantly communicating with all of those publicity-seekers.
So, if you're ready to get the publicity your business deserves, here are 15 tried-and-true ways to get the most out of your media contacts, and ensure reporters, editors and producers answer your calls and respond to your e-mails:
1. DON'T forge ahead with whatever is on your mind when speaking to a reporter. DO ask if the reporter is on deadline. Journalists' time is as important as yours, and their deadline pressures are horrendous. If they're on deadline, ask for a good time to call back.
2. DON'T be self-promotional; DO make sure to share actual information with viewers or readers. DO give value-added tips, advice or information so that you will help improve people's lives, offer insights or entertain. If you can achieve that goal every time, the media will always make time for you or even actively pursue you for interviews and articles.
3. DON'T say, "The answer is in my book/the products on my Web site/the report we sell, etc" rather than giving out the information during radio, TV or print media interviews. DON'T be seduced by the thought that people should pay the price of the book to learn what you think. DO view your interview as a way to show how valuable you and your thoughts and ideas are. That's the best advertising you could possibly do to sell your business!
4. DON'T ask the reporter to send you his or her article so you can review and approve it in advance. DO provide follow-up contact information and offer to be available to clarify any confusing points or answer additional questions. Offer to help the writer check facts or review small sections of the article for accuracy.
5. DON'T fail to prepare for interviews or fail to familiarize yourself withthe readership or audience. DON'T assume everyone should be interested inyour subject matter, just because. DO make sure your subject matter appeals to the media's target audience. If you are calling up an editor at Better Homes & Gardens Magazine, make sure you're pitching an article that fits with the homey, consumer-oriented material the magazine specializes in. Read the magazines you want to be quoted in; watch the interview shows where you want to be a guest.
6. DON'T ever nag the reporter. DO space out your calls so you do not become a pest. Use e-mail rather than expecting to connect every time by phone - many journalists rely on e-mail as a way to get work done quickly, and many let most calls go to voice mail anyway.
7. DON'T assume the reporter or editor remembers who you are. DO remember they deal with multiple sources and many different subject matters. Immediately identify yourself by name or by topic before launching into the purpose of your call - even if you spoke to the same journalist the week before.
Next month, part two of Pam's article will showcase more Dos and Don'ts when it comes to publicity!
Pam Lontos is the president of PR/PR, a public relations firm that specializes in professional speakers, authors and experts. An author, speaker and former VP of Disney's Shamrock Broadcasting, Pam knows the ropes of getting you good publicity and how to use it to boost your bookings or book sales. She is also author of the new book, "I See Your Name Everywhere!" Call for a free consultation: 407-299-6128 or visit: http://www.prpr.net/ .
Reprinted from 'PR/PR Pulse,' a free e-zine featuring tips and techniques for gaining publicity. To subscribe, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Add Me' in the subject line.
Note from Erin: I have personally worked with Pam when researching articles. As a journalist, I find her to be one of the best sources for vetted, tried and true information. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to her newsletter to see for yourself.