It’s time for another installment of what your business, nonprofit or government organization needs to know when it comes to working with the media.
Repeat after me. The press is your friend. Whether it’s good news to share or bad news to share, they are your friend.
The press has the same goal as you do – to provide accurate information about what is taking place to the community.
Here are five tips to remember:
- Do not be demanding and expect the media to be your advertising and public relations agency. We understand if you could, you would like your business to be in the newspaper or TV station for free. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Let’s say you have an art gallery. And every month you have new artists showing their work and several events. I am sure the media would work with you to put an announcement in the paper but you can’t expect them to do a story every month on your business. Best advice I have heard is sit down with the paper and see how you can work together.
- If a reporter calls you to talk about a story, don’t trash talk the last reporter who did a story on you and how much you hated the story. Most reporters I know are straight to the point. They don’t play games and will tell you exactly what the story is about. If you have concerns, ask the reporter what the story is about. If you don’t want your business in the paper, a simple no is all you have to say. Too often, businesses share too much information that the reporter doesn’t want to know or isn’t what the story he or she is writing is about.
- Don’t expect your local newspaper or magazine, TV station or radio station to know what’s happening with your business or organization. Communication is a two-way street. If you have exciting news to share, contact the press, either by email, a phone call or ask to stop by and visit. And yes, press releases are still good to send to editors.
- Understand when you pitch a story, it’s the editor’s job to decide whether it’s something he wants in his paper or magazine. A friend recently shared how a man came into the office and harassed her about how she should run a story on how his nonprofit was instrumental in a young woman’s success. Since the editor knew the young woman, she also knew this wasn’t the case. Just like you wouldn’t like someone coming and telling you how to run a business, neither does the media.
- A story in a local newspaper or magazine about your business is free advertising. A reporter recently shared how he wanted to take a photograph of the owner of a new business in his town. The business owner complained and wasn’t willing to have his photo taken. Be willing to cooperate. If a reporter asks for information, send it to them on time. Again, it pays to work with the press because it ultimately benefits your business.
If you are approached by the press to share your story, be open to the idea. Cooperate and be appreciative. If you have concerns, ask the reporter what the main idea of the story is about. This is your chance to promote your business. Take advantage of it and learn how to work with the press.