21 Jan How to get the most out of your press coverage
Face-to-face meetings with members of the press can be intimidating. Will they ask the right questions? Will you give the right answers? Will you say something dumb that you’ll regret seeing in print later? It’s natural and right to be concerned, but that shouldn’t be a reason to avoid meeting with editors. In-person meetings with the press can be the best way to line up positive mention of your company in the media in the future.
If you follow these five suggestions you’ll maximize your chances for a positive experience:
It’s no accident that politicians have their lists of talking points. You should, too. As you prepare for your meeting, make a list of the main points that you want to get across and prioritize it. And the list should be short, maybe containing just three points. Often, meetings with the press will be limited in time and held at busy places such as trade show booths, and the editor may be distracted by other news events. Because of this, it is critical that you plan to get to the point, without confusing or overwhelming the editor with too much information.Another part of planning is to learn as much as you can about the editor and the media outlet, and what possible upcoming publication opportunities there are for your news. When we develop a press meeting plan for clients, we include a media profile and a list of editorial calendar opportunities for discussion
Typically, a member of the trade press won’t ask any hostile or difficult questions, but it doesn’t hurt to make a list of the questions that you’d rather they didn’t ask and how you would respond if they did. Maybe you’re under fire from a competitor. If so, add their claim and your response to the list. Study the list beforehand and you’ll know what to say. Don’t be defensive and you’ll make a good impression.
Listen, listen, and listen to what the editor has to say.
If you listen to what the editor has to say you’ll get insight into what he or she wants to publish. If their view matches yours, then so much the better. If it doesn’t, you have work to do to get your perspective reflected in their communications.
Know what is the next step.
In many respects, an editor meeting is like a sales call. There needs to be a next step identified and followed or there’s likely to be no order received, which in this case means your news may not get covered. Ask the editor what opportunities there are for getting your news published in his or her media outlet. Review any opportunities that you discovered prior to the meeting. Ask if you can provide more detailed information or photos for publication. Does he/she need an electronic copy of the press kit? Make sure that you know when it is appropriate for a follow-up contact and then plan to follow through.
Meeting with the press is a great way to establish your company and yourself as thought leaders in your industry. With some care taken to planning and carry-through, you can make the best use of your next opportunity.