Working with media is a large part of what PR professionals do on a daily basis. While that can mean creating and distributing press releases, pitching and following up with reporters and editors, it’s not uncommon that, due to our key relationships, reporters come to us needing expert sources to comment on breaking news, stories or trends.
Effectively and efficiently handling these types of inbound media requests is an important part of being a PR pro. If handled correctly, they can help establish strong relationships with media.
Here is my PR advice on how to be effective and responsive when managing media requests:
Be available. When a reporter has a request, time could be the difference between your source getting a front page quote or their competitor being featured. It takes five minutes to chat. Find out what they’re looking for and see how you can help them immediately.
Over communicate. When reporters are in a pinch on deadline, over communicating your intentions and actions will help put their mind at ease. It also helps if you outline timeframes for future communication. If you need to reach out to your source, let the reporter know you intend to have an answer by a certain time. When on deadline, reporters do not need gray areas.
Be time conscious. Work with the reporter to understand deadlines. Reporters have a good sense of how long it will take to complete a story and should be able to provide an adequate time frame for when they need to have an interview complete.
Follow through. This may be the single most important tip for working with the media. If you say you intend to do something, make sure you follow up and do it. You don’t want to leave a reporter hanging and risk losing future opportunities for your sources because you’re unreliable. Remember: A big part of PR is relationship building. It’s critical to leave a positive impression as a helpful and responsive resource.
Follow up. Reach out to the reporter after the interview. See if there is anything else you can do to help. Take those extra few minutes to make sure the reporter has what they need to write their story. In doing so, you will also help strengthen your relationship, serving as a helpful contact apt at connecting media with great sources.
Do you have additional PR advice for being effective and responsive to media requests? Leave a comment below with your insight!