When A Journalist Comes Calling, Maximize The Moment

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If you see it as your big moment in terms of publicity – you’re right!

A journalist with a major daily newspaper contacts you by email seeking your input on his latest article, and helpfully includes a few questions for you to answer and send back.

Of course you’re going to answer – or at least I hope you are!

Oddly enough, we sometimes encounter clients who decide to take a pass in such situations. Maybe the reporter’s article doesn’t fit exactly into the niche they see for themselves and their brand. Maybe they don’t see any evidence that being quoted in the article will lead directly to sales or new clients.

But as I so often remind them, they are missing the point. Publicity is about establishing your credibility as an expert in your field who is quoted in the press or interviewed on a show. It’s then up to you to leverage your press coverage by linking to it on your website, mentioning it when trying to attract new clients and sharing it on your social media.

So even if the journalist’s topic is not exactly what you would prefer to promote about yourself or your brand, if it’s something you have the expertise to discuss, you should jump at the opportunity. Once you’ve wisely decided to participate in the interview, how do you make the most of such a media moment? Let me make a few suggestions:

  • Keep your responses concise. I sometimes hear from clients who are unhappy that they provided a lengthy, detailed response to a journalist’s written questions, only to see just two or three sentences show up in the final article. Unfortunately, that’s a common occurrence. The journalist’s goal is to provide his or her readers with useful information and to accomplish that through multiple voices in the article. In most cases, you will just be one of several sources being quoted. So answer intelligently, but succinctly.
  • Blog it AFTER the article is published. If you were inspired by the journalist’s angle, you might be tempted to write an item for your blog exploring more of your ideas on the topic than you were able to share with the journalist. Don’t! Not yet anyway. You’ll want the journalist’s article to appear first. That way, you can link to the article and mention that you are quoted in it, which lends even more credibility to you and what you have to say.
  • Consider other uses for the material. Perhaps you can take the topic, and your thoughts on it, and make use of it in a speech or as the theme for your next book. I can tell you from personal experience that this can be effective. On one occasion, a journalist asked me to answer questions about what I would tell my 21-year-old self. After the article got published, I realized I had the material for a new speech, which I’ve now given a number of times.

A bonus is that all of this media coverage gives you SEO value that helps your brand even more because when anyone Googles your name, your press will show up and potential clients or customers are going to see you as someone the media views as having worthwhile information to share.

So take advantage of these media opportunities, even when sometimes they don’t strike you as the right opportunity. Play it right, and that one moment can provide you a lot more than just a couple of sentences in a newspaper article!

Ready to accommodate!


P.S. If you’d like professional help getting interviews with the media, we’ve been arranging interviews for our clients on radio and TV, and obtaining editorial coverage in newspapers and magazines for 27 years. We also offer a comprehensive social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you.  If you’re interested in our help, please call us at 727-443-7115 Ext. 231. We’d love to hear from you!

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