Tag Archives: reporters

How to prepare for an interview with a reporter

smiYou’ve reached an exciting point for your business! You’ve been approached by the media to participate in an interview about your company.

This can be both exciting and nerve wracking for you, especially if you’ve never been interviewed before. Make no mistake, an interview with a reporter can open a lot of doors for your company. Media coverage can transform your company exposure and brand awareness in your geographic or industry market, so you definitely want to be on your A-game for the interview.

Leave a positive impression of your business and dominate your upcoming interview with these tips.

Anticipate questions

Whether you’re being interviewed about company news, a product launch, or for thought leadership, you need to anticipate questions of all kinds. You never know what kind of curve balls could be thrown your way, so try your best to do enough preparation for the tough questions. Research previous interviews that have been done by the reporter you will be interviewing with to get an idea of their style. They may ask similar or even the same questions. Look up common interview questions online and prepare answers for the questions. The more preparation you do in advance the less anxious you will be about the interview.

Research industry trends

When being interviewed, you want to be seen as an authority figure in your field. One way to do that is by staying up to date on the current industry news and trends. Before your big interview, it’s a good idea to brush up on current events outside of your own company.  It is better to be over prepared, because the last thing you want is to be in the dark on an important current event. Spend the week leading up to your interview surfing the web for relevant articles about topics in your field. The more you know, the more confident and knowledgeable you’ll come across.

Outline a clear message

Before your interview, take the time to outline your key purpose. What do you want people to gain from watching your interview? Keep this question in mind throughout your interview to stay on track. It is always a good idea to organize your thoughts before anything, from writing a memo to giving a presentation, to being interviewed by the media. Understanding your message will make it easier for you to answer tough questions. It will also cause you to be less nervous and appear more confident. Outlining your central theme ahead of time will make you less likely to contradict yourself when under pressure.

Practice

Practice makes perfect! Interviews can be tough because all of the focus is placed on you, but it’s a great chance to get your name out there and create buzz for your business. The more comfortable you are during your interview, the smoother it will go. Ask your family, friends, or coworkers to run through some practice questions before the interview. You can also practice alone by talking in front of the mirror. Whatever you do, don’t jump head first into an interview without any sort of preparation. You can’t take back your words, so be sure to practice enough to choose them wisely.

 

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

How to Ask a Reporter out for Coffee

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Coffee, it’s not just for breakfast anymore. Turns out, it’s a great way to get to know a local reporter you have been hoping would write about you!

Why leave coffee strictly in the realm of sales prospecting, chats with long, lost friends or a pit-stop on the way to work? Why not use it, and the opportunity it affords to enjoy another person’s company while sipping your favorite coffee beverage, as a means to promote your business, your brand, your PR?

Some considerations to weigh as you look to invite a local reporter or TV news anchor:

  1. They are very, very busy people
  2. They get a lot of invitations to coffee (and lunch, drinks, dinner, etc.)
  3. They look at anybody trying to cozy up to them with a natural amount of skepticism

So how do you win the trust of such an elusive creature as that? Try a few of these tricks:

  1. Get an introduction from a mutual friend (even ask that friend to set the meeting up if neccessary)
  2. Email the reporter and briefly let him know what you do and how you would love buy him a cup of joe and hopefully get to know how you could be a resource (in other words, just be honest and be yourself)
  3. Tweet or email relevant information that might help the reporter by adding details to a story she recently wrote (retweet her tweets as well, just don’t overdo it)
  4. Meet the reporter at PR over Coffee, ask for a business card and a chance to grab a cup of coffee “on the house” – it’s hard to turn down an offer made out of goodwill and in front of others
  5. Blog about the reporter’s work and reference how your business is somehow related or in contrast to what he has written in the past (don’t forget to tweet the blog post and put the reporter on @ copy)
  6. Pick up the phone and ask the reporter out for a cup of coffee

In other words, don’t miss out on the pleasant opportunity to both enjoy a cup of coffee and indulge in a little PR over Coffee! In as little as fifteen minutes, you could be on your way to some local news coverage courtesy of the humble coffee bean!

Got any comments you’d like to add or care to mention how coffee has proved instrumental to your PR success? Please elaborate below. Or just invite me to a cup of coffee!

How to Pitch a Busy Reporter by Phone

Picking up the phone to tell your story to a busy reporter can be very intimidating.

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There’s something about making a phone pitch — not seeing the face on the other line, hearing only the edge in the voice or an impatient exhale — that puts the pressure-cooker in overdrive and makes even veteran PR professionals become mush-mouthed.

That said, for those who try (and keep trying), phone pitches can be a very effective way to get news coverage.

Here are some things to keep in mind the next time you call an over-worked, stressed-out reporter in your community:

  1. Be polite: it goes without saying, but be nice on the phone. Keep your tone of voice pleasant, even if the reporter doesn’t return the favor.
  2. Nothing personal: don’t take any negative comments, brusque lanquage or evasive behavior as a personal affront. Busy reporters are asked to do a lot of work in very little time so when they receive phone pitches they tend to cut to the chase.
  3. Get to the point: reporters are asked to do more with less time than ever. Consequently, many reporters are experts at sniffing out the potential value of a story in 60 seconds or less, which is why you must present your pitch and supporting facts as economically as possible.
  4. Don’t be a pest: if the reporter tells you no, then don’t keep bothering him or her. Try again when you have a new announcement to share. If a reporter doesn’t respond to your initial overtures, then don’t increase the frequency and/or urgency of your outreach. Chances are the reporter is just too busy to get back to you or may find the news irrelevant or not compelling enough to respond.
  5. Think fast: if a reporter challenges your assumptions on why your news is important, then try to come up with a different angle or share another fact in hopes of building your case. Reporters will often to play devil’s advocate, challenging you on why your news is so important, mostly because their editors do it to them all the time.
  6. Learn from past mistakes: instead of giving up after one or two stinging defeats, try to figure out what went wrong. Often a journalist, even if busy, will tell you why she is not interested. I got shot down by a Wall Street Journal reporter based on the fact that there just wasn’t enough evidence supporting my claim, which, sadly, was the painful truth. The next time I pitched her, I had my facts ready before the call.
  7. Know their beat: it will help you greatly if you already know the reporter’s rea of interest. By doing a little research in advance, you save yourself the embarassment of finding out that the reporter doesn’t actually cover technology startups but is instead writes about real estate.
  8. Offer to help: when phone pitching, make sure you offer the reporter a chance to interview others for the story to make the reporter’s job easier. It could be the difference between rejection and eventual news coverage.
  9. Leave clear voicemail: if you don’t reach the reporter the first time, then on’t be afraid to leave a voicemail to set the initial ‘hook.’ Speak in a clear, well-paced voice. Practice the voicemail ahead of time so you can easily summarize the significance of your news pitch in 15-20 seconds or less.

If you keep these pointers in mind when you first hear that reporter’s voice on the other end of the line, then you just might save yourself a lot of hard lessons and wasted time.

Happy pitching!

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