How to Work With the Media: Preparation Tips

Scored that interview on TV? Got an upcoming call with a reporter? Need media coverage ASAP? Working with the media can be tricky when you’re unfamiliar with their process. It doesn’t take an expert to work well with the media. In fact, working in PR means you have a lot of common ground with reporters. You’re both storytellers, leaning into that skill will help you during this process. Here are some steps you can take to secure positive media coverage.

Stand out from the crowd

Most news tips are being sent to an inbox that’s flooded with tips from various agencies. Your pitch can get lost in the shuffle. To prevent this, don’t just send a single email and hope for the best. Send your pitch, wait a couple of days then follow up with a phone call. Reporters are constantly chasing down sources. They’ll appreciate a source that comes to them with a story to tell.

Know the principles

The media has general criteria for what makes a story newsworthy. These principles serve as a guide to what makes a story worth telling the public. Your pitches will be served on a silver platter if you incorporate these elements into it. In fact, any journalist might have some trouble resisting a story when it’s handed to them.

Keep these principles in mind while drafting your pitches:

  • Timeliness: something is happening right now or has relevance today
  • Prominence: a well-known individual or group is involved
  • Proximity: the media outlet is responsible for covering that area
  • Oddity: anything that makes the story unique or strange
  • Human interest: what impact the story has on people’s lives

Come prepared

Depending on the type of media you’re working with, there are different ways to prepare. For radio or broadcast, you can ask for a pre-interview. This is an opportunity to get a general idea of the questions you’ll be asked and find your flow while answering. It’s also helpful to watch or listen to the show you’ll be on to observe the host beforehand. You’ll see their style and be able to match their energy, which makes for an entertaining interview. For a print or online interview, don’t ask to read the questions beforehand. Any ethical media outlet will say no, but you can ask for a list of topics that will be covered. With this, you can draft your own questions and prepare that way.

Stay connected

Fostering a relationship with the media is a great way to secure coverage from them in the future. Follow their social media accounts, ask to meet for a coffee occasionally, and stay up to date with what they’re covering. Even if they move to a different outlet, you should keep that connection going. They’ll appreciate someone who pays attention to their hard work. These relationships mean you’ll have go-to sources who will give your pitches the time of day because you’ve gained their trust. Journalism is a small world. If they can’t publish your story this time, they’ll know someone who will be interested!

Let us help you have an amazing relationship with the media. Contact us today to learn how we can work together.