After sending out a press release, you’ll want to prepare for your own follow-up calls, incoming questions, and other contact with editors and members of the media. Here are a few commonsense tips to help ready you and the primary press contact you’ve included in your release.
Make a list of talking points and sources for yourself. Include background information on the company.
Consider modifying your outgoing phone greeting to include your name, company name, and a specific message for the press – something like: “If you are a member of the media, and are working on deadline, please let me know and I’ll return your call as soon as possible.”
Some of us feel more comfortable allowing all inquiries to go to voicemail to allow a few minutes of preparation. If that sounds like a good strategy for you, be sure to return any calls promptly, but when you’re composed and ready. Keep in mind, this approach may also frustrate some inquiries, causing you to miss an opportunity.
Before answering any questions, try to ascertain and make note of the reporter’s name and direct contact information, as well as the name of the media outlet or publication. AND, it’s a good idea to ask if the reporter is working on a deadline. Reporters are often pressed for time.
Keep calm and be factual.
Don’t say anything you don’t want recorded or published – even if you preface it with “This is not for publication.”
If it’s not immediately apparent, ask if the reporter is writing a particular story. The reporter may simply be verifying some of the facts found in the press release, or she may be working on a story for which your insight would be helpful.
It’s okay to ask about the focus of the story; ask in which section of the publication or broadcast it will ultimately appear; and, ask when it will run.
It’s typically not okay to ask if you can review the story before it runs.
Have a calendar handy in case the reporter would like to interview you or another person mentioned in your news story – you’ll want to schedule the interview with limited back and forth.
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