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Executing successful media relations and securing coverage as part of your PR program requires a certain level of commitment and, most importantly, a willingness to prioritize media interviews. If you’re an early stage brand, gaining the attention of top-tier reporters can be a challenge when only a limited amount of information has been published about your company.
Working with trade media that is hyper-aware of your industry is a good way to secure coverage and build credibility before you approach top-tier journalists. However, many trade outlets have a lower viewership due to their industry specific focus. These metrics are not a sign that the interview isn’t that valuable and should not be a reason to decide to pass on the opportunity.
This is one example of a difficult situation that can arise when securing media opportunities. While most media interviews are a valuable opportunity, not all of them will achieve the same goals so it is important to establish the intended outcome of the briefing before engaging. Additionally, vying for the executive spokesperson’s valuable time can be challenging and present a roadblock to interviews happening. Below are a few tips to effectively communicate opportunities and schedule media briefings.
In some cases, especially when conducting issue-based rapid response outreach to journalists, PR teams receive requests for interviews with a quick turnaround prior to the regular hours or late in the day. As a result, it is important to identify your key spokespeople and the specific topics each executive can speak to, as well as to verify availability from all stakeholders.
Since C-level executives have busy schedules and tend to travel extensively, plan to have backup spokesperson on deck who can speak to similar topics. Keep in mind that some media briefings will focus on industry thought leadership while others will look for more technical insights, so identifying who within the company is most appropriate to speak to each topic and having a firm grasp on their availability is imperative.
Depending on different aspects of opportunity such as editorial deadlines, journalists may have different preferences for the format in which the interview is conducted. Due to the limited availability of camera teams these days and the cost of actual in-studio productions, journalists with busy schedules may prefer to conduct interviews by phone or even through email and resources must be available to accommodate whichever format journalists prefer.
Developing tailored messaging and talking points for interviews is crucial to securing a successful piece of coverage. Briefings should not be a sales pitch, but rather focus on factual information and be data driven. By understanding what the reporter wants to get out of the briefing, you have a much higher chance of the interview resulting in actual coverage.
As mentioned earlier, the value of an interview is not only measured by the viewership or readership of the media outlet. By connecting reporters with expert resources, you are helping them write their story and if you provide valuable insight, which might include proprietary research or first-hand knowledge, the journalist may want to speak to you again in the future as a resource for additional articles. This value will lead to more placements and increased viewership.
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