Working with the Media
It's not always easy to work with the media. Reporters are often on deadlines and overworked, and they're inundated with hundreds of press releases, phone calls, faxes, and e-mails every week, all of these letting them know about a great story that they really should run with. You need to stand out in all of that “noise” — for all the right reasons.
It's best to think of the process as relationship building. Especially when you're working with local media, if you're persistent without crossing the line into hassling them, and you provide them with timely, useful information, the reporters will come to see you as a valuable resource.
Provide useful, accurate information in your publicity material. Check your facts before you send them, especially statistics, claims that might be open to questions, and your contact information.
If you're quoted out of context or otherwise unhappy with a story that has appeared in the media about you, you can try talking to the reporter or the reporter's editor about it. You can ask for a clarification or correction in a subsequent edition. You could also write a letter to the editor, clarifying your position.
If a reporter calls, talk to her right away or at least call her back immediately even if it's just to book a more convenient time to talk. A delay may well see the reporter move on to the next story or the next source. Ensure that your contact information is easily found on all of your press materials including your Web site address.
If you find something that might make a good story, even if you're not involved in it, send in the idea to an editor or reporter that you're trying to build a relationship with. For your own stories, be prepared to provide photos, if applicable, or to connect the reporter with other resources such as customers or suppliers.
Depending on your business and your resources, you may be able to do something fun to draw the media's attention. Want to promote your U-Pick Blueberry Farm, for example? Send the paper's newsroom some fresh-baked blueberry pies with your press material. And if you're providing photos, be sure that they're more interesting than the usual “grip and grin” shots.