Sunday, March 29, 2009

Maintaining Media Coverage

The executive director of a non-profit poses this question: "We used to get great coverage, and now it seems as though we have fallen from grace. What can we do to maintain media interest?"

The simple answer is to become a resource for reporters. Be the kind of newsmaker producers and journalists mark in their database as someone who is always good for a soundbite. That means you are accessible, articulate and willing to say, "I'm not the expert you need for this story, but call my colleague, who would be perfect for the angle of this story."

As for talk shows, coordinators are always looking for local guests who can come into the studio on a moment's notice, who offer ideas for future topics and who are interesting and provocative behind the microphone.

You can fall from grace if you tell the same old story every time. Or one too many times you are tied up. Reporters will find someone who has an expertise close to yours, and he or she could become the go-to source.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

C'mon People - Focus!

Please, please quit multi-tasking while you're doing phone interviews. I've pleaded with guests and newsmakers on this issue time and time again here in this forum and in my monthly Media Savvy eTip, but some folks just don't get it. Here's one more attempt to convince you that bluetooth or not, we CAN HEAR WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

Live, I've interviewed authors, speakers, organization presidents and pundits who think we can't hear their extra activities while they're answering our questions, usually in a short time segment that they or their publicist begged for.

Cell phones ring. Emails are delivered. Dogs bark. Pots and pans clang. And a few days ago, a man must have been standing in front of his freezer while the ice maker unloaded a fresh batch of cubes. Was he on a deadline to have a cocktail or smoothie at 7:10 am?

Not only does this make you sound unprofessional, it distracts us from promoting your cause. Instead, we have to acknowledge a loud interruption:

"Oh, the garbage trucks must pick up early in your neighborhood."

"No," the guest answered, unapologetic. "I was just making breakfast."

She couldn't have waited five minutes for the interview to conclude?

Many shows will ask great guests back again. But if you forget to turn off your cell phone, lower the volume on your computer, put the dog out or insist on multi-tasking, chances are you won't get a return invitation on that program.