If horror-story master Stephen King advised on supernatural PR tactics, he’d surely cite the follow devilish tricks to play on the media. (Of course, media angels never would commit such sins.)
- Confuse advertising with media — Especially in the business-to-business tech and life science industries, trade journals are equivalent to media lifeblood. Although you might invest heavily in trade media advertising, this isn’t your passport to free press. You must earn editorial coverage by pitching solid news stories, compiling case studies and offering quotable spokespeople.
- Leave them hanging — Deadlines are sacred for journalists. Be diligent about meeting a deadline because, if you miss one, some editors never will call you again.
- Make a killing — Some business writers and industry press will call you to comment on a sensitive subject or industry issue. Your first reaction may be to ask them to kill the story. Resist your gut reaction and instead share your concerns about the story and cooperate by presenting facts and credible information.
- Tell a crypt keeper’s tale — The media will research you, your company and their story line before speaking with you. Do the same by being prepared for interviews. Strive to communicate two-to-three key messages during the interview and back up your messages with fact-checked proof points, such as statistics, survey results, and customer names and contact information.
- Protect your company like a gargoyle — When speaking to the media — even when communicating difficult or bad news — your job is to be confident, cordial and convincing. You may feel like snarling a gargoyle if Anderson Cooper comes calling but save the routine for next Halloween.
- Eternity is a long time; media Q&As are not — Skip the story-killing monologue and answer reporters’ questions briefly and succinctly. If they want more information — or need clarification — they will ask.
Share with me your scariest media relations stories — I’ll write about your do’s and don’ts in future posts.