Being an advocate for developing relationships with media contacts (see No. 8 of my Top 10 Marketing Tips – Take a Reporter To Lunch), I ran across some good pointers on dealing with reporters and editors that were shared by a panel of PR professionals at a meeting of the Legal Marketing Association’s LA Chapter a few months back.
- Determine appropriate reporter(s) and editor(s) to contact at a publication,
- Learn the reporter/editor’s preferences regarding preferred method of contact (e-mail, phone, or fax), time of day (morning or afternoon), and day of the week,
- Know and respect deadlines for various publications,
- Try to get face-to-face meetings,
- Always return reporters phone calls promptly (if not sooner),
- Think before you speak (after an “oops”, it is too late to say that’s “off the record”),
- Don’t ask to proof a story before it is published (it is okay to “offer” to review any quotes attributed to you prior to publishing however), and
- Never say “no comment” (if there is bad news, deal with it in a straight forward and professional manner. I am not a proponent of volunteering bad news to the media. However, if the story is likely to come out anyway, it is better [just like a good litigator does in opening arguments to the jury] to put your positive spin on it before the story breaks).