When it comes to giving interviews, do you go for the big guns, or do you settle for smaller media? We can write a whole book on this subject. The options are as diverse as modern media, as colorful as businesses, and as individual and unique as the executives and entrepreneurs themselves.
Here is a simple answer for you: if you have a choice, you should always go with the bigger media outlet, the one with the larger audience. Choose the most-viewed show, most-read publication, and speak to the most popular reporter. Don’t you wish life were this simple, with clear options and easy decisions?
Celebrities fill out media pages and adorn publication covers all the time. They are used to the attention, they even seek it out, and often, spend a great deal of time weighing in on the matter. They choose the media outlet that suits their image best- this means gauging which outlet carries with it the most appropriate association and will best carry their message to their target audience. It’s the same scenario with the world’s movers and shakers; they are in the news for a reason -some more than others- depending on the events they help shape and their impact on the world. When it is your time to shine, you should approach your 15 minutes of fame seriously and make your decision wisely, mainly by understanding why you are there and accomplishing your mission by staying on message.
Always treat every media appearance as a showcase. No matter how small or large, the opportunities media mentions afford you are immense, and you should make sure to get a lot of mileage out of them.
While some executives like to jump on every media opportunity, others speak only to what is considered “elite.” My advice resides somewhere in between and oscillates constantly between the two extremes. A simple way to find your comfort zone is to answer these questions honestly:
1. How often do you get requests for interviews?
If you get many requests, then go with the ones that make more sense to your business and help you reach the largest number of your target demographic. If you don’t get many requests, find out why and remedy the situation. Work on raising your profile by participating in forums or conferences to get the right exposure and to facilitate efficient networking. After the selection process, then give the interviews and always position yourself for the next big one when opportunity presents itself.
2. Are interviews an important element in your company’s marketing strategy?
If your business depends on constant appearances in print and web publications to remain current and relevant, then maximize the impact by choosing the appropriate mediums. Spread these appearances out over a period of time- it’s better than doing a slew of media at once. Keep your contributions interesting; provide fresh information and a variety of ideas. Don’t be redundant by recycling the same information- it is about showing variety, originality, and even an element of surprise. Do your research, pick the media outlets that serve you best, engage them appropriately and go from there.
3. Do you have a major announcement or update to make?
When you have a major announcement to make, strategize your appearance and plan ahead. Choose the most impactful media outlet and offer them an exclusive interview. Don’t burn your bridges- exclusive means no one else gets you, so don’t exploit a loophole. Building trust with the media is very important and it’s important to remember that every media outlet is after a scoop and wants to distinguish itself from the rest. These opportunities are rare and you should use them to your advantage and maximize their impact. The worst thing you can do? Having a breakthrough without getting the attention of the appropriate media.
Think of media as different pies in a store. Some are being distributed freely while others are sought or bought. Then come the leftovers. If you are in business, you like positive attention and you welcome any media that will help achieve that aim. When the media pie is divided up, some get large slices, others get smaller slices, still others get the filling, the icing or the cherry on top- consider that even the crumbs have value and therefore there are always going to be happy-takers. For the pro-active entrepreneurs, the forward planners, the question is do you want a small piece of the big pie or a large piece of a smaller pie? Plot your media strategy accordingly and discern the type and the frequency of coverage you find most advantageous.
NETWORK AND PLAN AHEAD
The simple rule is that it is always good to be featured in the media; this is only an indicator of your level of importance. Some people would argue that even negative publicity is better than being forgotten. The question most relevant here is, “What do you want?” Once you answer that, the rest follows.
Media organizations usually decide their own agenda based on the specialty and research arenas of their journalists. You can certainly trigger interest by making your activities known, but the final feature decision rests with them. In some instances, you can call attention to your work through direct contact with a media outlet via public relations channels like distributing a press release or a courtesy call to their assignment, booking or planning desks. Sponsorship and CSR activities are both alternative ways to garner media attention as well. No matter which route you choose, your actions and accomplishments are the best way to draw media attention, make sure they are positive if you want coverage to be favorable.
Playing with the big boys and girls is fun, but it also draws more attention to you than you might be ready to field. Before you venture in that direction, make sure you and your business have what it takes to withstand the heat. It also helps to have an experienced publicist manage your appearances and interviews. It’s not easy to maintain your position at the top, so think of that as the big prize that happens only occasionally (if not rarely).
As you work your way towards that, building relationships along the way is the key to media exposure longevity.
Shortlist: Media management musts
In this age of speed and real-time engagement, your company needs to decide on these important points.
- If media appearances a part of your strategy
- If you have a preference for specialized media
- Your public relations strategy in the event of controversy and crisis control scenarios
- Clear guidelines for staff dealings with the media
- Only authorized personnel can speak to the media in corporate scenarios
- A concise and efficient calling tree in handling emergencies