"I want business press - and lots of it!"
That's easily the number one demand of executives to their communications teams. But simply having PR folks on staff or an agency under retainer doesn't guarantee anything. Getting substantial, accurate and powerful business press coverage is a difficult task, one that requires everyone's active participation - and that includes top-level executives.
Here are five things every executive can do to increase their chances of breaking into the business press.
1) Be available and flexible - business reporters move quickly and are often under strict deadlines. They have plenty of potential sources and they won't hold the presses for your pearls of wisdom. And if they're running a few minutes late, don't get uptight - it's part of the business.
2) Be a straight shooter - offer your opinions and insights in simple, quotable sentences. Don't be afraid to be bold or colorful. Reciting company boilerplate is boring and guarantees you'll never get a second shot with this reporter.
3) Be approachable - sure, every head may bow and knee may bend at the mere mention of your name among those whose paychecks you sign, but reporters could care less about titles. They talk to top level executives all day, every day. They're looking to develop long lasting relationships with industry experts that are easy to talk to and knowledgeable. You want to be an expert that reporters turn to as a reliable source.
4) Be prepared - exceutives spend a great deal of time preparing for investor and customer presentations but very little time preparing for media interviews. While talking to one person over the phone may not seem as daunting as standing in front of an audience, executives must remember that top-tier business stories may initially be seen by thousands of readers and then shared with an even larger audience via social media channels. So take the time to prepare for each interview - what is the reporter writing about? what information can you provide that will be helpful? Preparation and practice pays off.
5) Be competitive - understand that a good reporter will interview multiple sources for every major story. Not everyone makes the cut. You not only want to be one of the exces that are included in the published story, you want to be the number one person quoted in the article. And you'll accomplish this by following the first four rules.
Reporters face more time and resource demands than ever before. They love dealing with executives that "get it" - the women and men that know how to talk to a reporter in a concise, meaningful manner. Help them understand industry trends and stories - give them anectodes and opinions that will jump off the page and attract click-thrus. This will help you break into near-term business stories and become a source that reporters turn to many times in the months and years ahead.
Posted by John Moran on August 22, 2012 at 3:16 PM