How to Work with the Media

8 08 2008

Business owners and marketing pros have to know how to work with media and how to tell stories that motivate, inform and inspire media’s consumers. Today’s media consumers are tomorrow’s business customers.

Business Review Weekly had a story on future leaders, stating that the new CEOs must have better presentation skills to succeed in electronic and printed media. Poor presentation will be seen as a weakness.

The best way to deal with the media is to think of them as a customer. Your best customer. You need to use your customer service mindset when dealing with the media. Advertisers can refuse your business at any time, so you need to play nice. Here are some tips on dealing with media and advertisers in general so you can market your business successfully.

1. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Play up your strengths in interviews and downplay your weaknesses. Also, approach the media as an expert. Let them know what areas you specialize in and that you are available as an expert source at any time.

2. Decide ahead of time about your communication objectives. What do you want that next article to be about? Do you want to inform or entertain the audience? Are you trying to influence public opinion or just market your business? You can work with the media to achieve all these things, you just need to know ahead of time what you want to achieve so you can steer the subject matter in that direction.

3. Pinpoint your best channels of communication. Try to use the best outlet for reaching your target audience. Does your target audience read the newspaper or watch television more? Do they subscribe to a certain magazine? Be where your target audience is already looking.

4. Hammer out your key message in three main points. Practice what you’ll say in an interview to make sure you deliver the message as you intend. The media will quote you just as you say something, so try not to slip up! Just as in job interviewing, you need to think of the top three qualities of your business that you want people to take away with them.

5. If you aren’t good in front of the camera, hire someone who is. This is what public relations and advertising pros are hired to do. They represent you and your company in front of the media and make you look as good as possible.

6. Don’t send out a press release without a hook. You need something that will make the media knock each other over on their way to your door. Give the media something to grab onto – if you can give them a great opening line or a headline in your press release, they’ll be more apt to cover your story.

7. Establish long-term relationships with various media. Seek them out at trade shows or wherever you are in the community. Get to know reporters on a first name basis. Network with them and get to know their industry. If someone has won an award, send them a note congratulating them on their achievement.

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