by Francisco Soto, 121PR
Through drafting a PR plan, your company will gain visibility in the media and therefore be exposed to your target publics. Such a plan will aim at building relationships with key information professionals, and should include goals, strategy, resources, target media, contents, tools, etc.
One tactic is to approach the media and personally explain your company’s goals, products, corporate issues, etc. You should not improvise while conducting those one-to-one meetings but instead, you should prepare ahead. Every meeting with a journalist or blogger is a one-shot opportunity and if you don’t prepare properly, you might lose this chance at making a great impression.
The following are hints that you should consider prior to meetings with the media.
Do: Prepare for the meeting, know the media and journalist´s interests. Adapt yourself to what these are.
Don't: Don’t attempt to deceive the journalist. Tell interesting stories about your company related to market trends and the news. Do not focus on your products or ask for support to sell.
Do: Look approachable. Talk about current affairs. Your opinions are a crucial way to get to know you as a person. The journalist wants to know how you are beyond your institutional role.
Don't : Don't be naive. You cannot say everything you think, nor everything you know. Be diplomatic and stay within the limits of what is socially acceptable. Don't act as an antiestablishment spokesman.
Do: Clearly show that you appreciate the effort made by the media and the journalist to dedicate their time to your company.
Don't: Don't act as if your word was absolute and sacred or believe you should be quoted verbatim. Journalists have the right and duty to evaluate the information from their point of view. The journalist will contextualize your statements according to the media's interests.
Do: Use clear and concise expressions. Speak in short and active sentences. Provide a structured message so that the journalist can easily follow your explanation. Simplify details even if it means summarizing. Be informative: try to make complex realities manageable for any information consumer, specialized or not. If your speech is not simple, the journalist will make it look like it is, and you might not like the result. You can save both of you time by speaking in a simple way.
Don't: Don´t be provoked; never answer a question that you don't wish to answer. When you are unable to respond, simply give the reasons why you can't, whether they are legal, strategic or confidentiality reasons.
Do: Arrive on time to the meeting so you can properly welcome the journalist; make sure you offer him or her something to drink. Be sure that they are comfortable and have some place to locate their recorder, notebook, camera or audiovisual material. Help them with their work and they will help you back.
Don't: Don't be arrogant or try to lecture. Don't pretend to know more than the journalist. Don't voice your opinion on how the media should behave or attempt to tell the journalist how to use the information you provide.
Do: Respect the journalist's deadline. Make sure you send all promised information and supporting material in time: pictures, data, infographics, etc. Remember that your story has an expiration date and that the journalist wants to be the first to publish it.
Don't: Don't lie. Ever. Under no circumstances. Remember, truth will out. Do not lie. End of story.