Although media outlets have evolved from print articles to broadcast stations to online newspapers to blogs and other forms of social media, what a reporter wants to know about your organization has remained the same. Take a minute to learn the top three things any reporter will want to know about your organization prior to a placement on the proverbial newsstand.
1What Makes You Different, Why and How
Even though it is necessary to have a timely news hook, at the end of the day your organization needs to have a point of differentiation that attracts a reporter to tell your story to their audience. Why should their audience care about you?
Reporters want to know what makes your organization stand out amongst the competition and to your customers. For example, there may be a national observance that directly correlates with your organization’s mission, innovation, product or service. What gets a reporter’s attention is what you are doing to impact/change the industry, customers, or the community in recognition of this observance. How you are making change in your industry often can be the “what” of making a change. If you are doing something meaningful in a new fashion, that’s news, and of interest to a reporter.
2Are You Successful? Prove It!
Humility is admirable, but when you have a reporter’s attention, don’t hesitate to share your organization’s shining moments and milestones. Reporters want to know about recent partnerships, new business, awards, and case studies—all of which validate your success, commitment to longevity, and position in the industry.
If you are speaking with a business reporter be prepared to prove your success with a numbers story: What do year-over-year sales or donations look like? What is your percent growth in the past six months? How many staff members do you currently have and how many more are you looking to hire?
These are questions that may scare off privately-held organizations from embracing media opportunities, but it is a risk worth taking. You can always take the conservative route and share estimates, projections or rounded numbers. Organizations that share this information will find that substantially more media opportunities become available.
3What the Future Holds
Once a reporter understands what makes your organization different and why, they want to know what lies ahead and how your organization is planning to remain relevant to customers, potential customers, new products/services, vendors, partnerships, media, etc. Personal comments are appreciated, particularly with regards to your organizations outlook or vision for the future. It is OK to provide a reporter with information that is “off the record” to keep them interested for possible stories in the near future. The reporter must agree to this information being kept “off the record,” so that it doesn’t publish anywhere prematurely.
Understanding these tips and being appropriately prepared to speak about them in a media setting are key elements to a successful exchange with the media. Remember: Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want living on the internet for years to come.