A guest post from Todd Brabender:
As a former TV newsman and a current PR professional, I have been on both sides of the media interview game. There are a few tricks of the trade that I do when talking to the media for a client which will make the reporter’s job easier and most likely translate into a better PR placement.
A few basic tips I follow:
Respond promptly. When a campaign pitch generates a media response, I respond as promptly as possible. I know that if they don’t get what they want from me quickly, they WON’T wait – they WILL move on to another source.
"State facts, not fireworks." I like to keep superlatives to a minimum. I simply state the specific benefits of the product matter-of-factly. The product won’t need “BEST EVER” or "NUMBER 1" claims to come out in a positive light.
Speak in sentences, not phrases. I articulate answers in the following manner:
Subject – Verb – Object – Reason
Example: "We (subject) are launching (verb) this new product (object) to give consumers a healthy new option in beverages (reason)."
This helps me give answers that are straightforward and easily understood. Beginning sentences with phrases, tends to make answers seem drawn out, disjointed and most times unresponsive.
"Echo-answer" the main questions.
If a reporter asks : “What’s so great about this new product?” – I paraphrase the answer: “The great thing about our product is…” That quote is much more likely to be used because that answer can stand on its own without needing a “set-up” sentence in the article.
Speak to the interviewer, not to the medium.
I try not to get blinded by the "stage lights."Whether I am speaking to the editor of a small town weekly newspaper or Oprah, I consider the reporter just a single person in my extensive targeted audience.