So youve put yourself out there with a public relations campaign. Your dealings with the media now
become critical. Those relationships with the media can make or break your public relations efforts.
Heres how to get the media to love you:
1. When the media calls, stop what you are doing and give them your full attention. Thats
right. Maybe youre having lunch. Or in a meeting. I advise my clients to say to others around
them I only allow interruptions when the media calls.
2. Treat the media like gold. Answer their questions in a forthcoming manner, in a respectful,
pleasant tone. Do not disparage others and be careful about making negative comments. Do not
lie or provide exaggerated claims. Just like you, media people appreciate those who take the
3. Be realistic about coverage. A reporter can interview you for an hour and you might only have
one line in the media. Or none. Depending on how the story goes or space available or the
editors whim, any of the above can happen. The reporters owe you nothing for your time. Take
this in stride and be pleasant and understanding in future dealings with them.
4. Lose control. You have control over advertising; you have minimal control over PR. Thats the
difference between paying for something and not paying for it. A media piece may not contain the
story that you would like covered. It may focus on an angle you dont like. The reporter
determines what angle to use, depending on his/her needs and information you provide. It also
probably wont be 100% accurate. If it is 90% accurate, youre doing great. Take this in stride
and dont complain to the reporter.
5. Stop complaining. Sometimes, after a phone interview, you will be misquoted. Unless it is truly
a libelous or slanderous comment, you should take it in stride. DO NOT decide to complain to the
reporter, or you will certainly not be getting any press, at least not favorable, in that media again.
6. Give several contact numbers, including day, night and weekend, to the media (including
vacation/out-of-town contact info). The press waits for no one.
7. Be realistic about when the media will cover you. Typically, daily newspapers, radio and TV
have a one-day to three-month coverage window. Magazines have a 2-3 month to one-year
window. The lead times vary depending on editorial calendars, seasonal coverage and breaking
news. In addition, the media chooses when they want to run a story; you have little control over
when they run it, unless it is tied in with a timely event, such as a holiday. While you would love to
see yourself or your organization on the 6 oclock news or the front-page of the business section,
the media may have other stories slotted for those options, or they may need to fill a space in
another segment. Similarly, you might want your story to run immediately, but the media may
hold it for months, if there is no urgency in running it.
8. Pick up your own copies of your articles or tapes. Do not ask the reporter for a copy. They
will be offended! Pick up a copy of the publication or call the media outlet to order a copy or tape.
9. Spend time reading, listening to the radio and watching TV. These activities are a part of
most of our days. And if you plan on pitching a particular media outlet, research it first (that
means reading a publication, listening to the radio or watching that particular show, even if you
generally wouldnt). Once you do your research, you will have a better idea of the types of stories
they cover, and also what has already been covered. Remember, the more you understand what
the media likes to cover, the more likely that you will create great media angles that the media
10. Thank them. Media people, just like you, enjoy a pat on the back once in a while. And no one
can ever get too many thank-yous. And to be remembered even more, put it in writing.
By putting effort into developing media relationships, youll increase your chances of current and future
public relations success.