The following is an informative article submitted by Guest Author, Gini Dietrich, Chief Executive Officer at Arment Dietrich PR. The article focuses on building relationships with the media and provides tips for communicating and interviewing with reporters. Gini fully understands franchisors’ public relations and communications needs and will be speaking at the upcoming Franchise Finance and Development Conference in Las Vegas. Recently, while participating in the International Franchise Association Convention in San Diego, Gini was interviewed on The Franchise Show, where she discussed communication tactics using social media to develop new business and networks for company growth. Arment Dietrich PR is among the country’s fastest growing boutique public relations agencies. Their motivation is a relentless drive to find new and better ways to help clients boost their businesses and bottom-line results.
Media Can Make or Break a Franchise
I have people say to me all the time, “any ink is good ink, right?”
Wrong! Please see AIG, Merrill Lynch, any of the automakers…pretty much any Wall Street company in the past year. Any ink is NOT good ink. You must think strategically through which media outlets make most sense for your franchise, build relationships with those reporters, and provide them with content, interviews, and access to executives they couldn’t otherwise get on their own.
Media can make or break your franchise and it’s VERY important you treat every reporter you come in contact with as if they are your most important VIP, regardless of how you feel about their past or current reporting.
Paul asked me to think about some tips for helping you with your communication needs. These are some of the tips we give to our clients when we train them on how to work with, talk to, and respond to reporters.
• If a reporter calls, wanting to interview you for a story, ask them what they’d like to discuss and what their deadline is; then promise to get back to them in less than 24 hours or in enough time to meet their deadline.
• Call your PR firm for a quick key message refresher. If you don’t have a PR firm, think about what you want the story to say about your franchise after it’s told and write down two or three things you don’t want to forget to tell the reporter.
• If the reporter submitted questions (we always ask for questions in advance), write down your answers. I do this and I have years and years of experience, working with reporters every day. Don’t ever go into an interview blind.
A few interview tips that can help in any situation:
• Be honest—A lie to the media can be very damaging. If you don’t know, say so.
• Be believable—Credibility is vital to getting your message across.
• Be personal. Use the interviewer’s name once or twice in the course of the interview and look at him/her.
• Anecdotes play well, but only if you have a story that makes a good point for your side.
• Be concise—Remember that a 10-minute interview may wind up being 20 seconds on the air or three lines in a newspaper. It is essential to crystallize your thoughts in a few hard-hitting sentences.
• Eliminate extraneous words and phrases. Do not be verbose. If a reporter is silent, do not keep talking. They likely are trying to write down what you just said. Let them do that before they ask the next question.
• Do not answer hypothetical questions.
And, above all, NEVER, EVER SAY NO COMMENT! If I hear from Paul that you were quoted as saying “no comment” or that you were “unavailable to comment,” I will come to your office and yell at you myself.
What media interview tips do you have that can help readers here?