Top Six Tips for Talking to Journalists

As a business owner you may have a piece of news you want to share with the media – from an event to winning an award, to sponsoring a school trip. If you’re nervous about approaching the press, here are my top five tips to help you:

  1. Journalists are just real people

Never feel intimidated by talking to journalists. Despite what you may have heard, they’re just real people! Their job is to write stories, so they will be happy enough to talk to you. However, bear in mind:

  1. Journalists are busy, overworked people

So be respectful of their deadlines and pick a good time to call – unless you have a real scoop for them. If their newspaper comes out daily in the morning, then first thing in the morning is furthest away from their deadline. If their newspaper is published every Thursday, then steer clear of Tuesdays and Wednesday mornings.

Also have a clear idea of what you want to say before you call and make sure you have all the information you need to hand.

  1. Take their advice and guidance

Essentially if you’re trying to get coverage for your business through the editorial pages rather than paying for the advertising pages, you need to have a news angle. If the journalist is telling you that what you’re trying to push is an advert and not a story, but they’re kind enough to say that something else you mentioned would make a story – then go with it. They are the professionals, if they say there really is no story then it’s time to call in Datgan, not to get shirty. Which brings me to…

  1. Be polite

Newspapers are private businesses not public services and journalists are professionals, not public servants. Obvious, right? You’d think so, but you’d be surprised how many business owners phoned me up during my career as a reporter making rude demands for coverage. Treat the journalist like you’d treat any other business contact. Maybe even read a few of their pieces first and tell them which one you particularly enjoyed. A good relationship with a reporter can be invaluable to your business.

  1. Don’t be too relaxed

It’s fantastic if you develop a good relationship with the reporter, but remember some key principles. Use positive language, don’t be drawn into commenting on anything controversial, and if you don’t want something attributed to you, then you must state that it is off the record before you say it.

  1. Follow up

If you’ve had a successful interview with a journalist, or sent them a press release they expressed an interest in, keep an eye out for its publication. If it’s not in after a week, ring to politely ask why. It may be there has been a busy news period, staff illness, any number of reasons. Keep in touch politely until the piece is featured, and it doesn’t hurt to phone or email the reporter afterwards to say thanks for the piece.

There we have it, six top tips for talking to journalists. If you still don’t think pitching to the media is for you, Datgan can do it for you. Clients always say I am approachable and easy to talk to, so what are you waiting for?

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Five Reasons Why Your Business Needs PR

If you’re a small business or start-up you may think that PR is only for big companies. If you do believe PR might be useful to you, you may think it’s too expensive.

But you know who your customers and target customers are, and you know you have to get word out to them. But how? This is where I argue that PR gives you a much better value return on your money than advertising.

With advertising you can blow your budget in one fell swoop. If you’re advertising an event or a one-off offer you might get the result you want, but it may not have any lasting effects.

With PR, your budget can be spent on a mix of PR tools including press releases, community events, social media and digital marketing tailored especially to best reach your target market.

Think about it as a consumer: if you’re thinking of buying something expensive, an advert might bring a product to your attention, but a favourable review or article is what helps you to make up your mind.

PR gets you genuine press or online coverage which holds more sway than an advert. Articles, blogs and reviews are seen as a third party endorsement, while everyone knows an advert has been paid for – if they even look at it.

Each bit of good PR is keeping your name on people’s lips and building up your reputation.

Here are just five reasons why you need PR:

  1. Blowing your own trumpet.

If you don’t, no one else will.

Single mum gone from living on benefits to giving your family a great life through your business with hard work and a great idea? Share that! Helping young people with an apprenticeship scheme? Tell everyone! Stocking only Fair Trade products? Show off that you care!

 

  1. Taking control of your own story.

Tell people what you want to tell and how you want to tell it. The very act of thinking about your story and your PR strategy ensures you plan ahead. This means you’re well placed to make the most of all opportunities. If there’s a positive story to tell, tell it.

 

  1. Raising your profile/Building brand awareness

Letting people know you’re there and keeping up a regular flow of communication keeps your name out there and over time builds trust, good relationships and good reputations.

 

  1. Establishing yourself as an expert

Appearing in print media regularly, writing blogs and guest blogs, offering to answer readers’ questions in a local newspaper or online chat all help to position you as a leader in your field, and to customers as someone whose products/services are of a high standard.

 

  1. Reputation/crisis management

Sometimes you need PR to handle a negative situation, be it a bad online review to a fire at your factory. Having someone on your side who can handle the media, knows what to say and what not to say can be invaluable.

 

Ready to take the plunge? Call Laura Edwards on 01352 754011 07958 716489 or email laura@datgan.co.uk to discuss a PR plan to suit your budget.