PRSSA hosted a workshop tonight about Media Relations. Because I won Committee Member of the Month, I was invited to go to dinner with the guest speaker and a few other PRSSA members before the workshop.
Tonight’s speaker was Lisa Packer, Principal at Robinson Packer & Wannenburg, a strategic communications firm in Philadelphia. Lisa is a former television reporter, who gave tips on how to work with the media.
The important thing to remember when communicating with the media is to always have a goal. Media Relations is just one tool for communicating your business goal.
Reporters and editors are…
- Detail oriented
- General knowledge
- Skeptical by nature
- Looking for the launch story
- Manage many stories at once
- Manage stories in all different formats
- Want to get it right
- Typically underpaid
What makes news?
- Winners and losers
- Heroes and villains
- Criticism and controversy
- Trends and change
Keeping these things in mind, it is essential to pitch your story with credibility. You want them to think they know you or wish they did.
You need to have a clear idea of what your agenda is, what the reporter’s agenda is, and whether there is a downside to your story. If you anticipate the downside, you can be ready with an answer to make it positive. Reinforce your message.
When working with the media, use language you want them to use. Tie in your message to what is important to their audience. Do your homework. Know your audience and your story and your messages. Be able to anticipate follow up questions “Two Questions Deep.”
Remember that a question is just an opportunity to provide the answer you want to give.
I really enjoyed Lisa’s lecture. If you have any other tips for media relations, please feel free to share!