The high quality content you create not only attracts visits from potential business leads, it can also attract attention from reporters and journalists who may reach out to you for comment. So, what do you do when the media comes knocking on your door?
Here are ten tips for working with the media:
- Designate a single spokesperson to deal with the media. This is the best way to ensure continuity and control of your message.
- Prepare a statement and fact sheet that can be shared with the media upon request. Anticipate questions and have prepared answers for each one.
- Deflect controversial questions by focusing on your company’s policies, procedures and programs.
- Don’t say “no comment.” This can drive the reporter to seek information from irresponsible sources. At the very least, you can say, “Let me look into that further and get back to you” or “Because this is a matter under investigation, we cannot provide you with any further details.”
- Don’t talk off the record. Always assume that everything you say will be on the record or may be quoted out of context.
- Don’t repeat negative questions or misleading words. They may end up in print as part of your quote.
- Don’t argue with a reporter, even when provoked. Again, any of your statements may end up in print.
- Don’t make “ad lib” comments. Stick to prepared statements.
- Don’t expect a review for approval, i.e., don’t expect the reporter to clear his/her story with you before it is published or aired.
- Always listen very carefully to what the reporter says. Respond only to what is specifically asked, unless it is to make a point you have carefully thought out in advance. Otherwise, don’t expand – that can lead to trouble.
Keep calm and keep these tips in mind. They can help you control your comments and manage the conversation with a reporter.
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