Telling Your Story to The Press
Speaking to the press can be daunting – you think you said something and they publish something else. The whole value of speaking to the press is to get your message out, but what happens when you do that and it goes all wrong! There are ways to master speaking to the media so that you can put your best foot forward. You might think you don’t have anything newsworthy to discuss with the press, but you do. Everyone needs to learn how to speak to the media, because when you master this – you can master speaking to business partners, investors, customers. In order to speak to the media, you need to learn how they work and what’s important to them.
What You Need To Know About the Media
1- All media are not created equal and they are not your enemy.
Don’t treat them as a “one size fits all” group of stakeholders. If you have one bad experience with a journalist don’t take it out against all media. They are working on deadlines and just want to tell your story. They are in competition with other media and are deadline driven – so the online story deadline is much different than a produced TV segment for the evening news. They need good soundbites and quotes, not propaganda, and at the end of the day they want your message.
2- You need to know what makes news.
Controversial, the negative, the dramatic, crisis situations all of these stories make news. But what your brand or business wants to focus on are things that boost your reputation, inform or influence. You should focus on giving the press exclusive stories, what people want to know, and what people need to know. Data is huge – back up your stories with data, facts and data visualization can be very sexy. The other types of stories that get coverage are stories that are unusual or unexpected or explore the power of human interest and human beings. People are awesome, so tell great stories that have real people in them.
3- You need to package your story.
Everyone loves presents! Especially when they are wrapped up in a package that is ready to go – the same goes for the media. Give the press everything they need to know about your story – in other words create a news package. A package includes the information about the story – ie. a press release or feature story or fact sheet. The package also includes background information for the story – for example the biography of the person behind the story or helpful links that complete a story with more context. Now to make the package complete – you need visuals. This might include photos, videos, infographics or even GIFs.
By packaging a story you make the job of the journalist a bit easier by giving them everything they need to know up front. This way they can spend time going through your package instead of trying to figure out what’s missing. By packaging your news you are more likely to get a response and even coverage.