Monday, July 13, 2009

How You Can Make Media Relations Effective

By Kevin Sinclair

With media relations, remember that journalists have to be accountable to their editors and to their readers. For journalists, the most important thing they're trying to accomplish is to put out a newsworthy story. Does that mean you can get a fair chance at getting your own story across?

Many are misinformed about the press. In fact, many people believe that the media is in fact out to get them and that you have to be careful of what you say. This can also be true in the reverse. In those cases, people believe that the media wants to write good things about some people or organizations, perhaps to the detriment of reality. In fact, the truth usually exists somewhere between these two extremes.

If you want to get the best out of the media, first, appreciate that the media is going to need a good story. On the other hand, you as the hopeful positive target want some free publicity so that you can reach out to your audience and customers.

What's the best way to make this positive for both parties?

1. Make It Newsworthy

Your story should be something the readers are going to be interested in and perhaps even love. If this is true, you're probably going to have a good experience with the press. Of course, you as the company may have a message to deliver; if possible, make it valuable to the people who are going to see your story.

What you want to focus on is the value that your company brings.

In addition, journalists also want to know what the next new trend is. If you can let them know that the industry is heading in a certain direction, you've won half the battle. Or if you can offer breaking information on news that's not been reported previously, this, too, is going to be newsworthy.

2. The News Has To Be Valuable to Your Audience

If your company is introducing a new product, focus not just on its innovative features (which may be of benefit to your users, true) but on the benefits users will get from the product and from those new features.

For example, one of the most important things for products these days is that they are environmentally friendly. If your product is among these, this is going to be newsworthy.

3. A Prepared Speech Is Fine, but Make It Personable

Of course, you see many people on the news these days reading prepared speeches. This is understandable, because most people (even experienced speakers) need at least some notes to follow when they're trying to present certain points.

However, if you read from a prepared speech, make your points clearly and have them back with facts. If you have an opinion, that's fine, but remember that the media and the people listening will also want to hear the facts. If you can do this, you can make a good impression.

4. What If You Have To Do a Television Interview?

It can be stressful if you have to do a television interview, because this presents many new things to think about. Do you look good? If you're nervous and go blank, this is also a common problem for many. And doing an interview instead of a prepared speech will also probably take more time.

However, if you need to do a television interview, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Because your audience can see you, make sure your body language matches your words. If you're nervous, again, this is understandable. However, try to be as casual and comfortable as you can. As you go along and the interview goes well, too, it's likely that you'll relax and simply become more natural. When you respond, look at the interviewer and not at the camera.

In addition, your responses should be as short and precise as possible. Don't ramble, but do make complete points as much as you can.

One of the best things you can do to help improve future interviews is to record yourself and watch to see how you appear during the interview. This can help you correct anything you see that you'd rather not repeat and improve upon what he did for future interviews.

When you go on television to do an interview, people can see you, so that your enthusiasm and style is also carried across visually. This, in turn, gives you a bigger impact.

5. How Do You Get the Best Out Of Media Relations?

One of the necessary parts of business is to do media relations. However, instead of looking at journalists with a wary eye, keep in mind that they have a job to do (as do you), and that their presence can actually help you.

Typically, journalists are well informed and do their research. They call upon relevant sources, as they need to. Journalists want information that means something, and it also has to be authentic and true. They want reliable insights from you that will get attention from the audience.

If you understand their needs, you can adjust your interview in such a way that there's news in it for journalists who will find it useful. In turn, their readers will also find it informative and valuable. When journalists know that you want to work with them, this will make things a lot easier for them.

With this said, you might still have some trepidation. That's fine. However, speak with conviction and authority as only you can about your subject. Know what you're talking about so that people will find you authentic. If someone has prepared something for you or you are repeating something you simply read, it's going to show.

Once you start on the interview, you might be surprised to find that you'll become very comfortable in a very short period of time during it. This is especially true for a topic you understand well.

Developing a good relationship with media relations lets you reach out to investors, the public in general, customers, and even your own employees. Don't be afraid of doing so, but instead use it for something positive. If you appreciate it and handle it so that it provides a win-win situation for both you and the media, it's all positive.

Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of Be Successful News, a site that provides information and articles on how to succeed in your own home or small business.

Article Source: Artipot

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