Local TV stations go live every few hours. Major newspapers put out a new publication every day. Some radio stations have a DJ on the air non-stop. Meanwhile, all of their digital departments are pumping out content 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The media moves swiftly and that means we need to keep up with their pace to get earned media.
When a journalist responds to our pitch or is seeking a source to interview, a few moments can be the difference between your company being featured or your competitor getting the coverage instead. How do I know this? For close to a decade, I was the journalist on the other end of the line trying to set that interview up. Now I spend my days fielding those calls, working to get our clients in the public eye as much as possible.
A Brief Look into the Day of a Journalist
For any organization that works on a 24-hour news cycle, every shift usually starts with an editorial meeting to decide what stories will be covered. This is when reporters and news directors consider pitches or press releases we have sent them, and then hopefully assign them to a reporter. That reporter has the remainder of their shift to put together at least one, but usually several, stories. Deadlines are serious in news and if the story isn’t done, it doesn’t run. That is why every minute in a journalist’s day counts, and why they may seem pushy when it comes to getting an interview.
Not every type of media moves at this lightning speed. Magazines, weekly newspapers and some news programs can plan stories out a little farther in advance. But with the luxury of time also comes the curse of being bumped due to other developing stories.
The Media Moves Swiftly: What this Means for You
Public relations, also known as earned media, is a great way to get free visibility for your company while building the credibility of your brand. But to do so, you must be flexible and accommodating.
When I worked in news, I would try to “spread the love” and reach out to new people now and again. But if I knew I needed someone fast, accurate and who was good on camera, I would call a few steady standby subject matter experts. You want to be that person for reporters.
You get there by doing these three things:
- Respond when your account rep calls you with an opportunity. We work hard to earn you media opportunities and do our best to make the experience as easy as possible for you and for the reporter.
- Be flexible. We understand a last-minute request is not always convenient, but often if you want the coverage, you have to act quickly. If we are sending out a planned release or pitch on your behalf, try to keep some flexibility in your schedule for the next few days afterward or designate someone in your company who can field an interview if needed. We’ll always give you as much notice as we can, but that’s not always a lot.
- Be prepared. Even with many interviews being conducted virtually through video chat or over the phone these days, you will still have a bit of time to get ready. If you’ll be on camera, take a quick look in the mirror to make sure you look professional and pulled together. Pro tip: wear something with your company logo on it. Review your information about the topic to make sure you have the key points you want to make, or even practice answering a few questions.
If you are available, prepared and give a good interview, you increase the likelihood the reporter will think of you for other opportunities. Contact us to find out how we can help earn you media attention and make the most of it.