If you're preparing to face the media or engage in a one-on-one interview, you may be wondering what to expect. What are reporters like? What are they after? What are they thinking?
The answers vary, depending on experience and subject, but overall they're all after pretty much the same thing: a story. As such, the more you can help them tell their story, the more important you become to the reporter. As a result, the better your chances of getting your own story across.
Much of what passes as news these days is a recitation of events and what people say about them.
In other words, a local fire causes heavy damage and a neighbor comments about the loss; the City Council passes an ordinance and a store owner comments on what it means to her; an elected official makes a speech and someone from the other party offers an opposing viewpoint.
What reporters need
While readers and listeners may benefit from comments like these, what's often missing in today's news cycle is good, effective and well reasoned interpretation of the news. Reporters are constantly on the lookout for effective thought leaders who can add a unique perspective on events or trends. The need is even more apparent when it comes to breaking news.
It's easy to convince yourself of either of two realities: that everyone wants to cover your story or that no one wants to cover it.
Both are probably wrong.
In the first case, no matter how compelling you think your press release or event may be, chances are not every member of the media is convinced. News is like that.
In the second case, no matter how many doubts you may have about the news value of your story, chances are at least one media outlet will be willing to report it. News is like that, too.
So, stop talking yourself out of sending out a press release or advisory. You never know who will show up or call for a quote. What should you do?
Press kits are not always necessary. In many cases, a simple press release will suffice. But when the issue is a bit more complicated than usual, when you want to brand your event or when you're involed in an extended media campaign, a press kit becomes invaluable.
Press kits can be distributed at press conferences or one-on-one interviews. They can be mailed to a reporter ahead of an event to bring him or her up to speed on the issue. They can also be adapted for editorial board sessions, giving the editors the materials they need to understand and, ultimately, support your position or issue. But don't stop there. Go digital.