Tips for being media friendly: Part 2

I received lots of great feedback from my first post on being media friendly. So I thought I would return with more tips and so this time it’s part 2: the revenge!

Always ask for the deadline

I missed this totally obvious one from my last post! It’s vitally important to know if you have an hour – or a day – to respond to the journalist. This means they can meet their deadline or you’re going to have a handling issue that isn’t so media friendly. Digital media hasn’t helped here as lead times seem to be shorter than ever for news items. Plus sites can respond faster than ever before online and via social media.

By means of an example, three weeks into a new NHS role, at 3pm I agreed for the BBC 6pm news to come and film a piece in the hospital. In the time it took them to drive from Leeds to Harrogate I arranged three interview candidates (including a fully consented patient) and two filming locations. I also negotiated a parking space for the satellite truck outside the front door so it could beam the edited segment to London at five minutes to 6. It was the first item on the news that day. Seat of pants or what? But totally media friendly regardless!

Get your online presence crafted well and easy to locate

Websites are still shop windows and can be a brilliant source for journalists if you get them right. A recent poll indicated that only 6% of journalists said that digital newsrooms meet their expectations. This is not good for hack vs. flack relations.

Think about having a media friendly, online newsroom approach. This can mean key contact information is easy to find and your latest news is featured alongside downloadable images for each story in a variety of formats. You could take it one stage further and include rough cut footage in case film crews can’t make it to site. Having standard facts and stats as well as the ‘boiler plate’ statements immediately accessible are great for times when you’re dealing with reporters who might know be totally familiar with your brand. This approach also means when you’re mentioned it’s consistent and just the way you would like it to be.

Be clear what happens out of hours

Never was the news such a 24/7 operation so you need to be clear if your press team works around the clock too. Journalists need to know who they can speak to and when. So make your office hours and out of hours contact information crystal clear. Small teams can’t always be this responsive. So directors on call who pick up out of hours media issues need briefing. A pack of standard information with approved briefings on current or likely issues is essential. Good planning means that you can be media friendly on a 24/7 basis, avoiding have the dreaded “no-one was available to comment” mention. They never look good for reputations.

That’s all for now, I’m sure there will be a part 3. Get in touch if you have any tips I’ve not covered in this or my last post.

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