It’s easy to fall into bad habits with your media outreach. When this happens, you may find media is not as forgiving and open to inviting you to discuss your business or cause. And since media can be a free medium for exposure, steer clear of these bad habits.
- Bailing at the last minute on an interview – you set up an interview and call an hour before and cancel. Not. Good. Unless you have an extreme emergency, cancelling is not an option if you want to have another shot at being interviewed again. Have a backup person ready to take your place if necessary. Keep in mind that producers have their stories outlined for their segment and when you bail on the interview, they have to go into crisis mode to replace you with another relevant interview. They will always remember you ruined their day. Try to avoid cancelling if you can.
- Not returning emails or calls from the media for interviews – time is generally of the essence when the media calls for an interview. Many people would like to be in your shoes at this point. Sometimes the media will call based on a breaking story and remember that you may have expertise around the topic and want to interview you in a few hours. You may get the call and know that you aren’t available in a few hours. It’s okay to be unavailable but you should call and let them know so they can move on to the next person on their list. If by chance you are ignoring the calls or emails because you are in hot water, have a spokesperson on hand to speak for you. Ignoring media when it is a crisis situation will only make them come after you more and perhaps show up somewhere and ambush you.
- Winging it – make sure you know the interview topic and brush up on all details related to the topic including industry trends. Interviewers will ask about the industry landscape in a business interview (how are your sales compared with competitors?) so know a few fun facts that you can incorporate into your answers. Those who go in unprepared and do an interview off the cuff look unprepared to the audience and that diminishes your credibility with the audience. Every interview is important so know all your facts before the cameras roll.
Bad habits can bite you in the end if you are not careful. Most of these can be avoided so take the time to be present and engaged with media. The better you are, the more successful your interviews will be.