When you have the opportunity to connect with a media representative, the last thing you want is a mixed message. It can result in coverage that doesn’t generate the results you want. It can also mean that a media rep decides to not cover your story or just isn’t interested. And when dealing with the media, you often only have one opportunity to communicate. The following tips will help you get your message across accurately with the media.
Whether you’re pitching a story idea, or you’ve captured media attention and you’re giving and interview or answering questions, the most important first step is to know what you want to say. What message do you need communicated to your audience and what is the desired result? If you’re giving an interview, outline two to three bullet point messages and don’t be afraid to repeat them. This will help ensure that your key points are communicated. If you’re pitching a story idea, be sure to have goals and a message identified in the pitch. It can be frustrating if the media picks up your story idea but has a different take on it.
When communicating the media, make clear and strong statements. “ABC company is dedicated to improving community resources,” is clear and succinct. It can be helpful to repeat the same message in different ways, but make sure that you’re consistent with your theme and message. For example, “It’s clear to ABC company that community resources are important. We’re dedicated to improving the available resources as well as helping to increase options and availability.”
Back up your statements with stories. The media loves stories because that’s what captures audience interest. If you want to make sure your message is clearly communicated, have a story that demonstrates each key takeaway.
At the end of your pitch or interview, summarize your key points. Again, don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. You have filler information with your stories and examples, and the media rep will undoubtedly ask the basic questions. Repeating your key takeaways or key points is fine.
Follow up any pitch or interview with a thank you and a quick summary and… you guessed it… repeat yourself. Restate those key takeaways or messages that you want your audience to know.
Keep in mind that when talking or communicating with the media it’s okay to break things down into numbered steps or points. “The two points I want to make sure are clear with readers are…” Communicating with the media is an opportunity to bring new awareness and business growth. Don’t let the journalist walk away from the interaction with a misunderstanding about your message and goals.