This is the first of a series of posts about how to prepare for and conduct a successful media interview.
The key thing to remember when submitting to an interview request is that it has opportunity written all over it. It's an opportunity for you to improve your name recognition, extend your brand, gain exposure in the media and be seen as an expert within your field or specialty.
If you hold a press conference and no one from the media attends, will it still make news? The short answer is: maybe. How can that be you might ask?
In this climate of smaller news rooms and fewer reporters, some media outlets have a hard time deciding which stories to cover. There are no-brainers, like a major announcement from the mayor, but other events are more subjective.
Your press conference simply might not be able to compete with the other stories vying for coverage on any given day. But that doesn't mean it can't make news. There are four things you can do to improve your chances of getting coverage:
Image: Chicago Tribune
One of the first rules of effective public relations and media relations, especially when it comes to crisis communications, is to have a consistent message. Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page recently pointed out the problems the U.S. government encountered after the death of Osama bin Laden.
With various versions of the raid on bin Laden's compound contradicting each other, Page notes: "Just as Americans are feeling really good about our military capabilities and the success of courageous SEAL Team Six, we’re brought down to the earth by the inability of the Pentagon and the administration to get the bin Laden story straight. Don’t be shocked if the narrative changes again."
The problem is that in the chaos that follows breaking news, there is a tendency to speak before all the facts are known or to try to hide the bad news while emphasizing the good news. The hope is that no one will really notice if the truth gets shaded just a bit. That's a dangerous policy. Why?