When Does A Startup Need A Public Relations Consultant?

Let’s say you’ve started a brand or business and have gotten to the point where you need exposure. So, you advertise on social media, have your friends spread the news, and use paid ads in order to get the word out about your business or product. While all of that does make a difference and may get you some amount of awareness, these tacts aren’t going to be able to create the same amount of opportunities for you that you’d receive if you were to hire a public relations consultant. That’s because advertising lends little to no credibility to your brand, whereas a public relations consultant will upgrade your brand’s storytelling and be able to get you verified by a trusted third party (i.e. an editorial piece). Doing this will give you and your brand the security and legitimacy it deserves and in turn, significantly increase your customer base.

If you’re unsure of whether or not you do in fact need a public relations consultant, it’s important to ask yourself how you’re going to build the brand recognition that you want and how you’re going to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive market. The value a public relations consultant provides is endless, but let’s get into some of the specifics as to what exactly a PR consultant does and the value they provide.

1. CREATING YOUR BRAND’S STORY & MESSAGING

It’s important to note that a public relations consultant doesn’t just advertise. In fact, they go so far as to even create your brand’s story and messaging. If you’ve worked with a marketing agency, they may have helped with this but because of their unique skill set, a public relations consultant is able to take your messaging to an even higher level. Public relations consultants know what sells. They know what people read and what the public resonates with because they’re used to working with journalists in order to put out news stories to the public. Therefore, even if you do already have your brand’s story and messaging in place, your PR consultant will be able to spin it in a way that will stand out amongst your competitors and really shine in the media.

2. STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS TO YOUR BRAND

A public relations consultant always has his or her pulse on what’s trending and when. They’re experts at strategically planning out when you should release certain information and products in order to secure the optimal performance. They’ll be able to assist you with planning opportunities for your business – whether that’s events you should put on, ads you should create, or specific audiences you should target in order to get noticed. Because they have their pulse on what’s going on in the media, they’ll also be able to direct you how to work around any threats to your brand – whether that’s competitors or someone spreading false information. The more information you have on what your competitors are doing, the better you’ll be able to market around them and explain why your business or product is superior.

3. CULTIVATING RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE MEDIA

While you can post on social media and use Facebook or Instagram ads to spread awareness, it’s next to impossible to get your business into a media outlet without a close connection. That’s where a PR consultant comes in. One of the main advantages to working with them is that they are closely tied to different news outlets. Whether you want an article written about what you’re doing in a major news source, or you want a spot on a local or national news station, a PR consultant is your foot in the door. A big part of their job is cultivating relationships with the media, which means that you’ll get exposure you’d likely never be able to get on your own or without a very close connection.

4. CONDUCTING PRESS OUTREACH GO SECURE COVERAGE

Because of the tight relationships that PR consultants typically have with the media, they will be able to get you in touch with press which will heighten the legitimacy and notoriety of your business. They’re able to study the news outlets and media companies that they know and figure out which would be best for you and your business. They’ll then be able to place you in a position of receiving optimal media coverage from the audience that you want and is very specific to your brand and/or business. While some marketing companies sometimes claim they have the ability to do this, it’s important to work with a PR consultant on this because you want to receive secure and legitimate news coverage from outlets or sources that are going to best shine light on what you’re doing.

5. PROVIDING MEDIA TRAINING

In addition to landing you large media opportunities, a PR consultant will also be able to work with you in order to help you feel calm, comfortable and confident in front of crowds or a camera. While some business owners may have experience doing this, the majority don’t and it can be a nerve wrecking experience addressing a large crowd or speaking on a news channel. A PR consultant will sit with you and help you formulate what you would like to say and help you practice until you feel ready to address your audience.

6. MONITORING AND RESPONDING RAPIDLY TO NEWS CONCERNING YOUR BRAND OR INDUSTRY

Not all press is good press, and oftentimes, new businesses face threats from their competitors. If someone were to write a negative review about your business or product or put out content that was false or that was negatively affecting your brand image, it’s usually very difficult to get this taken down. That’s where a PR consultant comes in. He or she will be able to go in and do damage control. They’ll be able to work on getting that information taken down, or stopping the spread of false information. In addition, they’ll be able to act quickly in order to get it taken down as soon as possible so it’s not lingering out in the public.

7. CRISIS MANAGEMENT

Similar to how they’re able to monitor and respond to news concerning your brand or industry, a PR consultant will also be able to get false information about you or your business offline. People can be vengeful and unfortunately, there may be some that aren’t excited about your success. If this were to happen, a PR consultant is able to get the situation under control, target the person who is spreading the information, and stop it before it escalates.

8. MANAGING YOUR INTERNAL MESSAGING TO EMPLOYEES WORLDWIDE

Not only do PR consultants work with you in order to target the ideal customer, they’ll also be able to help you work with your internal team. It’s important for your company to remain unified and remain committed to the same vision and message. Your PR consultant will be able to help you draft the language to use in order to communicate effectively and unify your team, no matter where in the world they may be. PR consultants are usually wordsmiths and brand experts who have the unique skillset needed to unify your company.

9. COMMUNICATING YOUR CSR PROGRAMS TO THE COMMUNITY

According to investopedia.com, “Corporate social responsibility is a broad concept that can take many forms depending on the company and industry. Through CSR programs, philanthropy, and volunteer efforts, businesses can benefit society while boosting their brands”. It’s important that a brand or business not only helps their target audience, but also society. Doing things such as donating to certain charities or volunteering your time to help others is a great way to genuinely positively affect society while also getting the positive recognition that your brand and business deserves.

PR & Marketing: How They Work Together To Achieve Success

Marketing and PR are typically lumped together as one in the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You can be a great marketer but a terrible PR person, and vice-versa. You need to look at them separately if you’re going to maximize the potential within your company and run the best possible public relations campaign.

So how do these two fields work together to help maximize your company’s potential?

What Is The Main Difference?

First, we need to examine the main differences between the two. The big divide is quite simple to understand. Marketers are more concerned with measuring metrics and tweaking online and offline campaigns to drive more sales. A PR person is more concerned with the company’s image in the media.

The work of a marketer directly influences the work of a PR person, and vice-versa. PR people tend to manage brands as a whole, whereas marketers focus on driving sales to specific products.

How They Work Together To Make A Brand Whole

Marketers and PR people both have the same goal. They’re there to drive sales. To work together and make a brand whole, these two departments must communicate and work together. Occasionally they may even share the same goals.

So just how do they work together to make a brand whole?

 

PR people tend to think about how people perceive the brand. Online reputation is a big issue for them, and so is putting out any potential fires before they start to cause serious damage to the brand. Marketers rely on the PR department to avoid damaging the brand, otherwise, the fluidity of their marketing campaigns could come under threat.

On the other hand, marketers are there to not cause problems in the first place. A PR person may be the company’s shield against the media, but it’s up to marketers to avoid causing problems to begin with. Instead, PR people should be going on the offensive and promoting the brand, rather than defending it.

What Are The Most Common Misconceptions About Pr And Marketing?

Marketing Pros are PR Pros – This couldn’t be further from the truth. Just because a marketer created a successful PPC campaign doesn’t mean they know the first thing about pitching a business or getting in touch with a local radio station.

PR is Offline – PR is increasingly about online interactions. Managing a firm’s online reputation has become just as important as managing its offline reputation.

Creativity is Related ONLY to Advertising – This couldn’t be further from the truth. Marketers and PR people express creativity in different ways. Both departments must strategize and must set themselves apart from their counterparts at other companies. A lack of creativity is killer for any marketing or PR department.

Conclusion – The Same But Different

Marketing and PR are two departments that have never been closer. But that doesn’t make them the same. The key to making the most of both within your company is communication. Coordinate your efforts and you’ll get more from both parties.

How do you use marketing and PR within your company?

 

Facing The Covid-19 Coronavirus

On December 31, 2019, Chinese authorities notified the WHO of a group of patients infected with an unknown virus. Less than a month later, on January 20, 2020, the first case of the newly named COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus was detected in the United States. What’s unfolded since has gripped the world on many fronts as governments react to protect public health and economic stability.

For businesses large and small, these turbulent times pose a significant amount of uncertainty. Leaders will be tested as to the best course of action for protecting their employees, customers and shareholders. While there will be tough decisions to be made and choppy waters to navigate, not all of it must be grim. All crises and challenges provide opportunities for growth and future success. We have laid out a few of our own ideas here that perhaps will help our own clients, partners and readers with taking control and leading through challenging environments.

  1. Communicate Frequently: For the very few companies who are not already doing this, communicating with your customers and employees on updates concerning the pandemic’s impact on your products and services is important for keeping lines of communication open and maintaining a steady presence through a storm.

  2. Re-Connect with People: Use this time as an opportunity to reach out to clients, past clients, partners and vendors to check in on how they are doing. This is an important time for us to be there for others even when there isn’t an immediate gain. Compassion wins and those you touch will remember it later. This is an opportunity for building deep, long-term relationships that successful businesses are built on.

  3. Keep Working: For those businesses who are able to run with a remote team, now is the opportunity to lean on (or create) rock solid systems and processes and leverage technology (think virtual conferencing, project management tools, etc) to keep productive even when the team is apart. One silver lining that may come out of this is realizing newfound productivity through remote work and less unproductive face-to-face meetings.

  4. Maintain Team Morale Virtually: Just because you are working remotely doesn’t mean that a leader can neglect their culture and team morale. Get your team together weekly or even daily for group bonding time using video conferencing tools such as Zoom. Isolation affects everybody in different ways and it’s important to continue to be there for each other and maintain the camaraderie of a team.

  5. Be a Voice in Your Industry: Chances are, your industry is experiencing a great deal of uncertainty during these times. Seize the opportunity to be a thought leader on the impact of COVID-19 on your industry and how to move forward. Reach out to reporters covering your vertical to offer your industry insight. Publish content on your own blog and social media channels about the impact of COVID-19 on your industry and what you’re doing about it. You may even consider hosting a webinar to bring your industry together during a time when many of your conferences and trade shows were likely cancelled.

  6. Help Others: If you’re in a position to do so, allocate some of your resources to give back to the community and those impacted by the virus. We will get through this a lot smoother if we all come together to support one another in whichever way we can.

  7. Stay Focused on the Big Picture: This, as in all other global crises, will pass and the world will emerge stronger. While you’re in crisis management mode, don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Continue sowing the seeds for long-term success and do not neglect the daily activities that will continue compounding into results long after this is over. Keep the momentum going.

As we work with all of our clients to navigate the COVID-19 landscape and continue to grow their organizations and voices as leaders, our commitment to serving is steadfast. For organizations seeking guidance on communicating when the stakes are high, our lines are always open and we will continue to be prepared to help. Be safe, and protect your health and the health of others before all else.

Are You Making These Top 3 PR Mistakes?

Successful PR campaigns can define your brand both online and offline. But good PR and bad PR are separated only by a very fine line. Thousands of companies make the same mistakes and then wonder why they’re not getting any return on their investment.

These are the top three PR mistakes that are responsible for the majority of failed PR efforts.

Pr Mistake #1 – Not Responding To The Public

The first mistake you can make is not responding to the general public in the right way. Refusing to comment in the face of negative press might be acceptable legally, but to the public, you are essentially admitting your guilt. Statements from your company should be pointed and definitive.

Another example of poor public response is to attack negative reviewers. Never face complaints by claiming the customer is mistaken or plain wrong. You’ll always look worse, regardless of whether you’re right. The key is to not get emotional and to refrain from getting into public disputes with people. Always take the high road.

Apologize for your mistakes, give clear answers to the media, and try to maintain a positive attitude when you’re in the public eye.

Pr Mistake #2 – Failing To Understand What People Are Saying About You

PR departments are responsible for managing your company’s reputation. The only way they can do this is by finding out what people are saying about you. Monitoring things like reviews and comments can reveal useful feedback to improve your products and services.

The goal isn’t to somehow suppress negative feedback. You need to embrace that negative feedback and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Useful tip: Set up a Google Alerts notification for your company’s name and major products so that you are always in the know.

This is also vital to prevent any slander against you. Smear campaigns from competitors are not just damaging they’re illegal. Don’t underestimate the potential for this to happen to you.

Pr Mistake #3 – Winging It

It’s amazing how so many companies claim to be concerned about their PR but don’t have a strategy. You need a documented PR strategy, including what you want to achieve, how you’re going to achieve it, and in what timeframe you want to achieve it.

Firm PR strategies are necessary because it’s the only way you can track your progress and understand whether you’re succeeding or failing.

If you already have a PR strategy that’s just the first step to a successful PR campaign. You need to schedule reviews every few weeks where you go back over that strategy and examine what you’ve done and whether you’re still on track. The strategy should be the heart of your PR department.

Conclusion – Succeeding With PR

Successful PR doesn’t mean you need to have a budget of thousands of dollars. Even small businesses can succeed with PR simply by adopting a strategy and approaching customers in the right way.

Want To Succeed In The PR Field? These Are The Traits You Need

Public relations is all about portraying you or your brand in the best possible light. There are many ways to promote a brand online. It takes the right sort of person to be able to come up with a solution that works in the long-term. You’re playing the long game. You’re not trying to become a fad. You’re trying to make sure your brand is an authority.

So, what traits do you need to win out in the world of PR?

Tenacity

Tenacity is the will to win. It’s the determination to keep pushing even when things aren’t going your way. PR is rarely something that succeeds overnight. It takes time to make it work and you won’t see any real results from your campaigns in the extreme short-term.

You need the tenacity to keep pushing because you know that eventually, you’re going to get the results you expect.

Writing Skills

Online PR’s main tool is written content. Whether it’s a caption to go with a video or the copy you produce as part of your Google AdWords ads, you need writing skills to convince people to buy from you. Your results could hinge on a single word being in the right place.

It’s not just about being able to write proficiently it’s about being able to write persuasively to accomplish your PR goals.

Thinking Outside The Box

Every brand would love to go viral. Aiming to become viral is normally fruitless because it’s a matter of luck. However, that doesn’t mean to say you can’t become an early adopter. You need to be on the forefront of your industry if you’re going to elevate your brand.

This is not something you can take a training course in. The best PR experts can think creatively. Can you come up with innovative solutions to problems?

Strong Communicator

PR guys work on a team. Their job depends on what’s going on throughout the entire company. Strong communicators will always flourish in the world of PR. They have their finger on the pulse of a brand and the wider market. And they can communicate exactly what they want and they know what they can expect from everyone else.

Effective PR is a team pursuit so you need to be able to make yourself heard and listen to others intently. But what is it to be a strong communicator?

Contrary to popular belief, strong communicators aren’t necessarily the loudest in the room. Some of the strongest communicators are introverts and don’t shout louder than their peers. They simply take everyone else’s opinions on board and when they speak people listen because they always have something useful to say.

Conclusion – Do You Have The Skills?

These are the four main characteristics that will set you apart from the crowd. They’re skills that can be learned, but you need to open your mind and apply them to every aspect of your life.

Are you the right person for a job in public relations?

How To Keep Your Brand Consistent Across All Platforms

Your brand is your most valuable asset. Without your brand, you will never become a success story because you will have no way to market to customers and retain them. The key to a successful brand is to keep it consistent across all platforms. This is how to do it.

What Is The Relationship Between Your Brand And Your Customers?

Your brand is influenced almost entirely by what your customers say about it. How people talk about your company is what your brand turns out to be.

If a travel agent has a lot of customers on their Facebook page talking about how much people loved their tours, their brand becomes a brand that provides a fantastic product with a high-quality result. That brand instantly becomes more trustworthy, and therefore more marketable.

In other words, keeping your brand consistent across all platforms involves providing a consistent level of service and a consistent connection.

Consistency Is In The Voice You Use

Your social media platforms, marketing campaigns, and public relations effort involve talking to customers. Even if you are not speaking to them directly, you are still speaking to them passively. Every marketing campaign is an opportunity to interact with your target market.

It’s imperative that every brand maintains the same tone and the same positive outlook. You must decide on the tone that’s best for you, but the point is that it should always remain the same.

A consistent voice guarantees consistent communication from customers. And as we have already mentioned, that’s what makes your brand.

Bringing Your Channels Together

It’s easy to look at Facebook as one entity and Twitter as another. It’s easy to assume your marketing campaign from one product is entirely separate from your PR department reporting on the activities of your company. That’s a misunderstanding of consistency across your brand.

Those channels are linked and you shouldn’t attempt to separate them. That’s why you should pay serious attention to how news on one channel will be received on another channel. Then you should think about how you can link them together to enhance your exposure.

Doubling Your Gains Through Consistency Across Channels

For a positive brand boost, you should aim to transfer your customers from one channel to another. Give them a reason to check out everything to do with your brand.

The best way to do this is by providing exclusive content on each one. That content can be related to the same campaign or the same topic, but making them slightly different gives people a reason to follow you on multiple channels.

Companies in any niche can easily take advantage of this.

Conclusion – Brand Consistency Is The Definition Of Success

All successful brands have one thing in common: consistency. Public relations, marketing, and social media should all be linked together and they should all have different types of content. It doesn’t take long to obtain consistency, but it does require a conscious effort to do so.

Have you developed a strategy for maintaining brand consistency?

Traditional PR: Is It Relevant?

Traditional PR is steadily becoming increasingly irrelevant. Press kits and press releases used to be staples of every company big and small. But they discovered an awful truth. They are just not relevant any longer because they are not effective.

However, what you need to keep in mind is that the skills associated with traditional PR still exist. So, we answer whether traditional PR is still relevant?

Less Return On The Investment

Press kits and press releases are just not as effective because they have either become too widespread, and technology has taken the reigns. For many companies, it’s a combination of both. How many journalists are going to waste their time reading a press release from a random small business they find online?

Like with TV advertising and radio advertising, for most organizations there’s no real targeting and the returns simply aren’t worth it.

Connecting Traditional Audiences Still Matter

Let’s take a closer look at the press release. This used to be the best way to reach journalists and traditional media outlets. But today journalists aren’t looking at press releases. They are going to Twitter and video ads. In other words, the industry has gone 100% digital.

It’s still important to connect with traditional media, though. You still need the techniques of traditional PR to succeed, even if you are applying those traits to more modern advertising methods.

Which Transferrable Skills Are Most Valuable?

  • Hitting Your Audience – You must hit your audience. This was always the case. But traditional PR options aren’t particularly effective at hitting their target audiences anymore. But with digital methods, you can target like never before.
  • Writing a Story – Traditional PR was still about the story. You always needed great writing skills to succeed. That’s still relevant, even if the words might not be on the screen but converted into a video presentation instead.
  • Planning at the Higher Level – Traditional PR campaigns were always woven into a grand plan. In this digital age, one of the biggest reasons why companies fail at marketing is because they are unable to plan at the top level.

Where Is The Industry Going?

Take the three skills listed above and think about how they can fit into a digital world. That same digital world comes with much shorter attention spans, no gatekeepers, and a nearly unlimited number of channels to utilize. That’s not going to change, but traditional PR experts only need an understanding of these new channels and they can still be successful.

The message is that you shouldn’t confine the entire traditional PR to the trash can of history. Use those same skills but apply them to the new marketing methods of today.

Conclusion – Get Started

It’s time to start learning those traditional PR skills. A mix of traditional PR and new-age PR will give you the best results. Combine new channels and old knowledge together and you will gain a great advantage over your competitors.

What do you think is the most important traditional PR skill?

Brand Storytelling: Media Angles For Your Company’s Story

Every day, countless new startups are emerging in today’s market and changing the way that our professional landscapeOne of the recurring challenges for internal PR teams is continuously coming up with new angles for telling your company’s story. It’s especially difficult when you’re on the inside and often too close to an organization to effectively zoom out and think from a reporter’s perspective. Once the story topics directly related to your company’s core message and newsworthy announcements have been exhausted, brand storytelling requires a lot of creativity to consistently find new ways to provide insightful, fresh content for journalists.

THE HIDDEN DIMENSIONS OF YOUR COMPANY STORY

The good news is that almost every brand has more dimensions to their company story than are immediately obvious. Remember that it’s not products and features that make compelling stories– it’s people, communities and problem solving that make a story capture a reader’s attention. When you start brainstorming beyond your product and the key message of the company, there are many other places where inspiration can be found (and still tied back consistently with your core message and values). Below are just a few of the unique dimensions of a brand’s storytelling that are often overlooked, but can powerfully communicate a whole lot about your company story in a way that garners media attention.

COMPANY CULTURE & OFFICE ENVIRONMENT:

Workplaces are often a breeding ground for great stories of human connection, team building, quirky office traditions and other things that make your company stand out. These stories can showcase the true character of a company’s workplace, its management and how it lives out its values everyday. This is great for connecting with the hearts of potential customers, and also for attracting talent to an organization.

BACKSTORIES OF TEAM MEMBERS:

A company is more than just products and services– it’s the team behind it and each of those team members has their own unique journey. Taking the time to showcase those stories not only makes your employees feel seen and recognized, but also is one of the best ways to communicate the values your brand lives by and to cultivate a more personal connection between your customers and your team. People want to do business with people they like and relate to– not faceless brands.

YOUR FOUNDING OR FUNDING STORY:

Almost every company has an interesting and often untold story of how the organization got started. Or maybe your path to securing funding was full of twists and challenges. It’s surprising how few companies use the story of how they got started in any of their brand material. Readers love a good success story, especially when it includes overcoming significant obstacles. Telling that story in an engaging way, provides a way for customers (especially in B2B) to relate to you and even attracts new talent.

COMMUNITY SERVICE STORY:

One of the best ways to communicate the values behind your company story is by sharing any community contribution and activism that your organization feels strongly about. This is another great way to inject a human-interest dimension into your brand storytelling and connect with customers, potential employees and the media on common causes that you care about and are willing to use your platform to help support.

CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORIES:

Earlier we looked at showcasing powerful stories about members of your team. The same can be done about your customers. Look at the customers for whom you’ve made the biggest impact. There is no better way to sell your company story than through tangible results. Creating a story around your customer who faced a problem and how you helped them overcome it with meaningful results (the bigger the results the better) is a great way to tell a story that is entertaining and educational while also infusing your company’s core message. Just seek your customer’s permission first, of course.

YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE:

Every company faces problems and setbacks as it grows. The larger you grow, the bigger those challenges become. What’s more, many other companies are or will be facing the same challenges you’ve already overcome. Take a story from one of the biggest, scariest challenges your company has successfully overcome to date and identify exactly what the challenge meant to your company’s survival, how you came together as a team to identify solutions and then how you implemented to overcome it. Engage readers further by sharing some tips for others who are facing the same challenge based on your direct experience.

REMEMBER, BRAND STORYTELLING IS A PROCESS

Remember, these are just six of the myriad creative ways out there for identifying an entertaining, insightful or provocative story that makes your brand unique. As with any marketing program, you refine brand storytelling through trial and error. Get your team together, brainstorm ideas, package them into pitches that you can share with reporters and continue to refine your company story until you find the winners that garner attention.

Local Media Relations 101: What To Know About Handling Your Local Media Outlets

When it comes to maintaining successful media relations, it is important that you understand there is both an approach you need to have when dealing with big national media outlets, and there are approaches that you need to take when handling local media relations. Here are some tips when it comes to dealing with your local media that will help you find the success that you are looking for when it comes to handling your local media outlets.

Getting to Know Local Reporters

One of the best and most important things you can do when it comes to making an impact with your local media relations is to get to know your local media outlets:

  • Pay attention to the media in your local area and start to get to know what type of journalists will likely cover you and your company.
  • Learn the names of the reporters that will likely cover you.
  • Send your information directly to the local reporters instead of their ‘editors’ so they can also get to know you.
  • If there are local events that will help you meet reporters and editors, join these programs or ‘press clubs.’
  • Try to arrange a short meeting to get to know these individuals

Getting Your Information in the Hands of These Reporters

If you have mass mailings, newsletters, business cards or basic information about your company and your business, send local media outlets a copy of this basic information about your company so they can start to get your information about your business. You can also consider inviting local media outlets to follow you on social media sites as well. This way they can stay up to date with news and information that is going on with your company.

Delivering News That is Newsworthy

Developing close relationships with your local media outlets is important, since you are their neighbor and local community member. One of the ways that you can start developing these close relationships is by only sending them news that is actually newsworthy. When you take the time to make sure that you are only delivering newsworthy news, the reporters will begin to trust you and believe that you are sending quality information that they can count on. If you are sending them random information and only self promoting information every day, chances are they won’t ‘trust’ you to provide them with anything they can actually use to create a newsworthy article. They will trust you that the emails that they are getting from you are actually worth their time and will eventually start to build a better and more trusting relationship with you.

Handling relationships with local media is not the same as establishing relationships with national media outlets. If you know how to deal with these relationships then you can be much better off with your local media outlets as you start to get your name and your business out to the public.

How To Talk To A Reporter – Press Interview Tips

Giving an interview to the press may seem intimidating, especially if it’s your first. There are multiple ways an interview could be conducted depending on the nature of the news outlet (a television studio, telephone, Skype, email Q&A etc). If the reporter you are giving an interview to is writing an article for print or digital publication, interviews are most commonly conducted by phone.

As such, we have created this guide to provide you with the press interview tips and advice on how to talk to a reporter during a phone interview; however, these same tactics can apply to email, Skype or even a television interview. Delivering a powerful interview is one of the most important elements of a successful public relations strategy. Heed our press interview tips below to project confidently and articulately in front of the media.

KEEP THESE PRESS INTERVIEW TIPS IN MIND WHEN TALKING TO A REPORTER:

FIND A QUIET LOCATION WITH NO DISTRACTIONS

Although giving a press interview by phone gives you the luxury to handle the interview from anywhere, it’s important to use a location that allows the reporter to hear you clearly and for you to not be distracted by interruptions. Find a location, ideally indoors, that is quiet, has good cell reception and is unlikely to lead to you being interrupted or intruded on. This will allow you to think clearly and give a better interview (with a lower likelihood of being misquoted).

USE A HEADSET OR EARPHONES

Using a headset or earphones during a phone interview has multiple benefits. Having the ability to freely move around and walk while talking as well as having your hands free, often leads to speakers being able to think more clearly, project more confidently and feel like they are having a more natural conversation.

TAKE NOTES

Keep a pen and pad handy during phone interviews to help keep track of the conversation. While being asked a question, you may think of a point that you want to remember to return to later in the conversation or you may want to keep track of key points for multi-part questions.

USE TALKING POINTS

Similarly to taking notes during an interview, you’ll also want to have notes prepared in advance with talking points to cover during the call. The key to a successful interview is making sure that you communicate the most important elements of your message and not getting sidetracked by questions or veering off on tangential responses. Despite all of the mental preparation you may do ahead of time, it’s normal to still feel some nerves and jitters during a press interview. When you’re nervous, it’s more difficult to recall important points you wanted to convey. So having those key points in front of you will ensure you communicate them and also allow you to feel a little calmer thanks to your advance preparation.

SPEAK SLOWLY, BREATHE

When you’re nervous, it’s easy for your speaking to speed up and for you to breathe less or more shallowly. This can make it difficult for a reporter to follow what you’re saying and it can make you come across as less confident. There’s a simple solution. Take a deep breath just before beginning to speak for each answer. This not only gives your voice more power, but forces you to slow down by a moment or two and be more articulate When giving longer answers, remember to continue speaking at a slower pace than might feel normal and take breaths as often as you feel you need to. You’ll think more clearly, deliver more confidently and enunciate with more resonance in your voice.

IT’S OK TO NOT ANSWER A QUESTION

There will be times when a reporter asks a question that you can’t or don’t want to answer. The key to handling this professionally is to politely communicate that the question is something you cannot speak to at this time. Reporters are accustomed to hearing this. If they persist, continue politely, but firmly, let them know you cannot provide an answer. There is no need to explain the reason why.

EVERYTHING IS ON THE RECORD

By the same token, for every question that you do choose to answer, remember that anything and everything you say during an interview is “on the record”. This simply means that you should never say anything before, during or after an interview with a member of the media that you would not want to see quoted in print or on television. There can occasionally be exceptions to this depending upon your personal relationship with a specific reporter, but as a general rule, it’s always best to operate under the premise that anything you say could end up in print.

PROVIDE VALUE

Think of reporters as you would think of any customer in your business. You need to provide them with value in order to cultivate a relationship. Many businesses make the mistake of only providing reporters with self-serving talking points that seek to sell their product or service. This usually leads to an interview not being published and a potential relationship being squandered. Make sure that your talking points contain a healthy combination of both information about your company and also valuable insights and educational facts about the topic at hand. The more value you provide to the press, the more often they’ll come back to you for additional interviews.

FOLLOW-UP POST INTERVIEW

Finally, remember to send a follow-up email to the reporter after your interview. It’s a good idea to accompany this follow-up email with a head shot or relevant photo that could be published with the story (it doesn’t mean they’ll always use it, but you want to be proactive in any case). It’s also acceptable to ask the reporter for a possible time frame for when your story could be published. Let them know that you are available for any follow-up questions they may have or supporting information they may need to finish their story. Follow-up emails are important for continuing to build a long-term relationship based on providing value to the media.