Although social networks and blogs have gained enormous prominence in recent years, the media are still a very efficient channel for companies to share their message ; and in these the spokespersons have a great responsibility as their representatives.
The first spokesperson for a business is its owner ; especially when it comes to small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) that still do not have the necessary budget to hire a public relations agency. Their task is key: to communicate news, in addition to clarifying and establishing good communication with journalists in order to become a reliable source of information . And to be able to face positive situations, but also negative ones, it is important that the founder prepare and train.
For this reason, today we want to share with you 10 basic tips that any entrepreneur or businessperson should consider before speaking to the media . They are specific and useful tips that will allow you to take your first steps in the world of public relations .
- Become an ally of journalists
Editors and writers are always looking for exclusive news and updates , not just about businesses like yours, but about your market or a large company you may know well. They also need data that allows them to explain facts or trends to contextualize a news story. Get in touch with the journalists who cover your sector and offer them this type of information to generate a bond of collaboration with them. Becoming a permanent source of consultation is a very good authority marketing strategy that can help you position your personal brand and that of your business.
- Investigate the editor and the medium with which you are going to speak
Never trust yourself. Read the latest articles or watch the latest live interviews of the journalist with whom you are going to meet in order to know the editorial line of the medium and the style of the communicator to ask and cross-examine. This will prevent you from being unprepared for an awkward question or some other type of surprise, such as live communication with a dissatisfied customer. In the case of a press conference, you have to do this task with all the accredited media and journalists.
- Harness the power of social media
Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are ideal for boosting the visibility of articles, interviews and opinion columns. So use your profile and that of the company to announce that you will offer a press conference or that you will be interviewed on a radio program. Then, don’t just share a link to a post or video, but highlight statements or phrases you’ve said that have the potential to go viral . The networks are also useful for making a first contact with journalists and editors ; so follow their profiles, comment on their posts and share them regularly.
- Address the journalist by name
This is a great way to break the ice, as the reporter or editor will feel that they are taken into account , that they will be treated with the utmost respect and that they will have your full attention during the interview or telephone conversation . In the case of a press conference or a session of several interviews in a single day, help yourself with cards that include, in addition to the name of the journalist, the most important information about the medium for which he works.
- Talk with data at hand
Prepare in advance all the information you need to refute misinformation and to support your own arguments . If you limit yourself to giving your opinion on a subject and do not support it with specific data, you will give a light and unreliable image. Look for studies, surveys, official statistics and record important numbers on cards or on your cell phone to avoid making mistakes.
- When you don’t know something, say it honestly
You do not need to prove that you are infallible. It is worse to give an image of little seriousness by offering inaccurate data or not confirmed by official sources. Plus, you’ll only make journalists more incisive. Faced with this situation , say with all honesty that you do not have this information, but that you agree to look for it and deliver it in a future interview or through an email or a phone call.
- Answer bluntly
If you are asked an uncomfortable question, it is better to resolve the situation at once to avoid falling into an endless cross-questioning session. If you have a trained journalist in front of you, you will not be able to escape with elaborate, evasive statements or trying to take the axis of the discussion elsewhere. If you still can’t talk about a certain topic ; For example, because of a competitor’s problem or because you simply don’t want to do it, say it up front in a direct and respectful way.
- Always be authentic
It is not only key that you do not lie or hide information ; Also, don’t try to present a false image, since good journalists have a special nose for it and could always investigate what the reality is. Talk about your successes, but also about your failures . Admit what things you still have not been able to solve, as well as the conflicts you have had to face and everything you still need to learn. Present yourself as someone close and empathetic , not as an unattainable superhero incapable of inspiring and motivating.
- Pay attention to your voice and body language
Although it is a skill that is achieved with practice, it is advisable to practice in front of the mirror before each interview . Speak clearly with good modulation and adequate speed. Take advantage of pauses and avoid high-pitched tones that give away that you’re nervous or angry about a question. As for the body, do not assume defensive postures such as crossing your legs or arms or clenching your hands . It is also important that you look the journalist directly in the eye at all times.
- Never ask to review the text or video to be published
Finally, avoid falling into the biggest mistake an interviewee can make: requesting a review of the material to be published . Serious journalists and editors take this as disrespect for their professionalism and ability to truthfully and honestly deliver a talk. It may seem like a minor event, but in most cases it will affect your long-term relationship with the media . If the topic is highly technical or even contentious, offer the reporter your full assistance in case they need clarification or additional date.