8 Tips for Responding to Media Inquiries

By Jul 29 , 20100 Comments

Occasionally, media relations can be reactive-responding to calls and requests from the media regarding a story about your business.

To a large degree, coverage in the media is a powerful influence that provides a significant opportunity for exposure of your business. However, it is important that you have an effective plan of action in place to respond to any unsolicited media inquiries. Here are some tips to consider that can help to prepare you for this opportunity.

Effectively preparing for any media inquiries will ensure that the potential coverage will be well received and increase the exposure of your business.

First and foremost, always be friendly and show interest in helping the media, whether you decide to be interviewed or not. Make sure you get the contact information of the reporter, and keep it in your records for future reference. Ask them if you may send them press releases in the future if they are relevant to their beat or publication.

Take good notes and get the basic facts about the request-name of reporter, name of media outlet, deadline, what the story is about, and if your company will be the only business featured. This will not only be valuable information to keep in your files, but you will also need this information when you add the interview or piece to your Media Room.

Resist the urge to process the request immediately. Prior to making a commitment, buy yourself some time, keeping the reporter’s deadline in mind. Tell the reporter that you will need to call back when you have more time to talk. This will allow you to appropriately assess the request and determine if it is a worthwhile opportunity.

If you decide to go ahead with the interview, take a moment and review your notes from the inquiry call so that you can organize your thoughts and practice what you want to communicate.
Since the interview will be shared with a mass audience, it is important that you are well prepared. Be sure to provide the interviewer with several good “sound bytes” that reflect positively on you and your brand.

It is more preferable to have the reporter interview you at your place of business. As a result, your story will be more interesting when the reporter sees more visual effects. Be sure that the area in which you meet is tidy and organized, and that there is no sensitive information in plain view. Take special care to insure you will not be interrupted during your interview.

Give the reporter a quick tour of the business, briefly explaining any unique aspects of the company.
Also, have a few of your employees ready in case the reporter wants to ask for their comments. Equally important, make sure that you have prepared your employees to speak beforehand.

During the interview process, conduct yourself in a friendly, relaxed and professional manner. Organize each answer in your mind before speaking and answer in brief, to-the-point statements. If there is a question you aren’t prepared to answer, simply tell the interviewer that you’ll need to do some further research into it, and that you will be happy to get back to them with an answer.

Finally, you may be misquoted, as this happens quite frequently.
If the error is serious, write a letter to the newspaper’s editor-in-chief and to the reporter. Explain the error and offer clarification.

Effectively preparing for any media inquiries will ensure that the potential coverage will be well received and increase the exposure of your business.

About the Author:
Traci Hayner Vanover, aka The Promo Diva®, is a business consultant and publicity expert specializing in working with small businesses, authors and startups. Drawing on over twenty years experience in the fields of marketing and promotion, Traci’s blog, located at http://www.PromoDiva.com, blends helpful tips and resources with a healthy dose of humor. Traci is the founder and publisher of Everything Small Business Journal.