No matter how much planning your PR agency or in-house team puts into news media outreach, the reality is, you never know how a story pitch or a press release is going to play out.
As public relations experts, we know how the media works and how journalists approach planning and executing news stories. Here are common scenarios that are helpful to know if your business is pursuing news coverage.
1. A reporter might call an hour before they want an interview
Depending on the type of story you pitch, a reporter might be able to schedule an interview out in advance. But if the reporter is on a tight deadline – due to the timeliness of the story or the nature of the news outlet – he or she could request to conduct an interview within the hour. This is especially true for local television news. If you know your PR team is pitching a potentially time-sensitive story, they should make sure your company spokesperson is ready and available on short notice.
2. Your quote could be cut short
Sound bites for a TV news segment are typically seven seconds or less, and print news outlets also use quotes that are no longer than a couple of sentences. Spokespeople should keep their answers short during interviews. If answers drag on, the reporter may not be able to include the interview in the story, or it could be cut short. This is why we host media coaching sessions and prepare our clients for media interviews.
3. Your company’s competitors could be mentioned in the story
After an interview is completed, the final draft of that story is in the hands of the reporter. This means accepting the fact that they may mention your competitor in the story if it’s relevant. When this happens, the best thing to do is thank the reporter for the coverage. Complaining will only discourage the reporter from working with your company again.