Preparing yourself or your team for media interviews includes understanding how to create and maintain good relationships with members of the media. Over the years, I’ve interviewed members of the media from outlets that include The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Clear Channel Radio and many others. Here are some tips based on what they shared.
Let relationships develop over time.
Like friendships, some of your media relationships will be closer than others, and they develop over time. In their excitement over getting a live editor or producer on the phone or meeting one in person, some people will overestimate the relationship and assume that now they’re friends, buddies…amigos. If this sound like you, take a step back. Think of one of your close friends. When you met this person, did you glom onto him or her the first time you spoke or did you chat for a bit, establish common ground and let the relationship grow from there? Allow members of the media to get accustomed to you and to want to hear from you.
Media training is meant to help anyone who is going to be interviewed by the media to feel as prepared as possible.
Most people who are in business or who are experts, authors or entertainers, would love to be featured in, or on, major media outlets, not only so they can spread their messages to millions of people quickly, but because large media outlets have a trusted following. Being seen on Oprah or CNN, or being featured in Inc. or Bloomberg Businessweek, gives you instant credibility among their audiences. This “third-party endorsement” from the trusted editors, writers and producers at the media outlets goes a long way in building their audiences’ trust in you!
If you want to see your face on TV, or your products or words of wisdom in magazines, you need to know how to present your information the way the media want to see it. The first place most media members go to check you out, is your website. Then, they will immediately look for an “online press room”.
An online press room is, in the eyes of the media, the place on your website where they will find what they need to know to determine whether or not they want to do a story on you or to interview you. It’s also the place they might go back to in order to produce an article or segment on you. They want all the information in one place and, preferably, to see the various components at a glance.
Journalists, bloggers and TV and radio producers are very busy, especially now that many of the media outlets have reduced their staff, so the more you can supply them with the information they need at the click of a mouse, the more they will want to work with you.
Do you need social media tips that will help you to create relationships with the press?
Use these social media tips, from a PR Expert and Media Trainer, to get on the press’ radar.
If there are certain bloggers or media personalities who you think would be interested in you, your company, products or services, search for them and follow them on social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Members of the media sometimes post queries on social media sites, or they may see what you are working on and contact you to interview you.
Here are a few social media tips that can help you to get started:
You can follow specific writers, producers and departments of your favorite media outlets like The New York Times Health Section, Fortune Magazine, Today Show 4th-hour hosts Kathie L. Gifford and Hoda Kotb. Make them aware of you by commenting on, or sharing, their articles, tips or segments. Be sure to the outlets or content creators so they see that you shared their content. If you add an insightful comment, this can help capture their attention, too.
One of the most interesting things I’ve had the pleasure of doing is to interview members of the media about what they seek in guests to interview and what they think potential guests and interviewees should do to get featured in large media outlets.
The video below is from an interview I conducted at my Meet the Media Day event, with Nicole Dorsey Straff, who had been on the launch team as managing editor of Fit Magazine, spent years as Fitness magazine’s west coast editor, and is now at ValueClick Brands. In this video, Nicole touches on what the media want, how to get featured in large media outlets, and more.
Watch the video below to learn what the media want and to learn how to get featured in large media outlets.
Use these video engagement tips to capture the attention of the media.
Videos are extremely important because members of the media (especially TV producers) need to see how you will come across on camera before they will book you for an interview. Increasingly, print media outlets are now including videos on their websites, to correlate to their print articles. Members of the media frequently search YouTube and Google for experts to interview and products to feature. So, if you want to attract the media and keep them interested in you or your company, video is crucial.
Here are a few video engagement tips to get you started:
If you are an expert, create videos of yourself sharing valuable tips or information, or demonstrating what you do. If you create products, you can also share tips, but be sure to create at least one video that shows the products in use. Be sure that the lighting, audio and video quality is adequate for the media. You can lose the attention of the media quickly if your videos look too unprofessional or if they are difficult to watch.
Being a contributing writer or editor for a major media outlet, like The Huffington Post or Forbes.com, can do a lot to increase your visibility and to establish you as a thought leader. While thousands of people submit themselves for these positions, there are some things you can do to stack the odds of being accepted in your favor.
How to become a contributing writer or editor:
1. Be sure to carefully read the submission guidelines, which are usually listed on the media outlet or blog’s website. If you can’t find the guidelines, go to the About Us or Contact Us or FAQs page, and you will probably find them there.
2. Before you submit your information, be sure that the written materials that you have online — on your blog, your website and your social media profiles — represents you well, both in terms of content and writing style.
Are you asking yourself, “should I write a letter to the editor?”
If you want to be seen as a thought leader, one good way to gain visibility is to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper or other print media outlets, in the hopes of it being published, of course.
Letters to the editor are generally meant to be in response to something that a media outlet has published.
People write letters to the editor in order to express opinions in support of, or in opposition to, an article that was published in the editor’s media outlet. Some people write letters to the editor to expand upon information that was shared within an article that the outlet published.
In an age where photos and graphics are used to tell stories, it’s interesting how words, and wording, are no less important than they were in the past.
Consider how a quote can make its way around the Internet, crossing time zones and continents.
Make it funny and people can’t wait to share it.