With the explosion of Internet news sites, blog posts and the use of social media, there are now thousands of ways for you to promote your book, service, brand or business. In this second post of a 2-part series, I will provide the final 3 tips on how to respond to the media.
1. Don’t Panic
2. Know Your Facts
3. Be Friendly, But Do Not Be Friends
No matter how often you speak to a reporter, see them on the news, or meet with them socially, when they call you for a statement, you are not talking to a friend. They have a job to do and that job is to get the facts or confirm what they already know. Your job is to respond to them politely, professionally and briefly. State your message clearly and leave out everything else. This is not the time to get friendly.
4. Never lie
Journalists have zero tolerance for people who lie. If you are caught in a lie, you will experience an onslaught of bad press from which you and your business will never recover. The idea is to persuade the journalist with your words, not manipulate through deceit. That is a dangerous game. Also, there is no such thing as “off the record.” Whatever you say to a journalist is fair game for wider distribution.
5. Manage Your Message
So how do you stay in control of your message while you are contending with a professional journalist whose job is to get you to say what you do not want to say and reveal what you do not want to reveal? When the news media approaches, you have a unique opportunity to get your message out to a mass audience.
By and large, reporters desire to get the truth and create a compelling report that people will want to read/see/experience. Their goal and your goal should be the same—to find the truth and to share information. If you have a message, you have an opportunity to state it. You are in control of your message and you can take the opportunity that is presented to make your statement.
The Digital Age has provided greater means and opportunities for us to disseminate our messages to a wider audience than ever before.
If it ever happens that you become the focal point of media scrutiny, your best approach is not to panic, take a moment to get organized and be clear with your message—then stick to it and repeat it as often as you need.
Keep your answers short and clear. Do not speculate. If you do not know the answer to a reporter’s question, say, “I don’t know.” Be as helpful as you can and try to develop a relationship with the reporter for future contact.
If you find yourself in the media spotlight, take the opportunity to spread your message across the globe and keep these 5 tips in mind.