4 Important Tips For Working With The Media
Media is good for you. Only when you do it right. While talking to FedEx’s America’s Small Business Summit representative, I learned the following important media tips.
1. KNOW YOUR THREE KEY POINTS. This is your opportunity to tell your story. Select three key messages that you want readers to learn. Think of facts and anecdotes to develop and support your three key points, making a compelling story. Keep bringing discussion back to the three points that you want to make.
2. YOU ARE ALWAYS ON THE RECORD. Only say things that you believe are fit to print anywhere and everywhere.
3. IT IS OK TO ASK QUESTIONS. If the reporter approaches you for a 1:1 interview, ask questions so you understand where they are coming from. This will help you better fit your story and their needs. What kind of story is it? What’s the angle? Who else has been or will be interviewed?
4. WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW, SAY SO. You are an expert but you don’t have all the answers. Say “I can’t speak to that, but what I can tell you is…” or “I’ll get back to you.” It is extremely tempting to hazard a guess, but this may be published … you want to be accurate.
A few additional tips:
Be assertive. Don’t just answer questions, seize every opportunity to drive your messages. Reporters grab audiences’ attention by leading off with the most important, newsworthy information. Do the same thing with your answers.
Use flags. Signal that a key point is coming up with a phrase like; “the key point is,” or “what makes this important is.”
Turn negatives to positive. Don’t repeat negative language or allow the reporter to put words in your mouth. Anticipate tough questions and develop responsive answers that are not defensive. Bridge to one of your key messages with phrases like “let me put this in perspective,” or “the real problem is”.
Avoid jargon. The public doesn’t know your industry jargon so don’t use it even when the reporter does. Explain abbreviations and technical terms.
Focus on your objective. Don’t get mired in statistics or lengthy explanations. It’s OK to pause and think!
In summary, you should know your three key points, bear in mind that you are always on the record, it is okay to ask questions, and if you don’t have the answer just say so in a polite way. It will add to your values.