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It’s an average day, you are doing 507 things and the phone rings. It’s the local media and they are shooting off 21 questions at you for a story they are working on. Then, your other phone rings and a customer walks in. YIKES, what do you do?

You take a deep breath and in a calm voice, you ask these simple questions. Write down your answers, so you can follow up in a timely fashion and be ready to help the reporter and earn some valuable publicity.

First, let the caller know you are in the middle of something, but you will get back with them very shortly. Before you hang up, ask them these questions.

  1. What’s their name, the person making the inquiry and calling
  2. What’s their title (Reporter? Editor? Producer? Researcher?)
  3. Who do they work with, what organization (Newspaper? TV? Radio? Blog? Website?)
  4. Get their contact information
  5. Find out if they are they on a deadline
  6. What type of story are they working on (Hard news? Feature? Blog?)
  7. What is the topic/theme of story?
  8. Who else have they spoken to?

Now with this information, think about how you can help them, build your brand and get your message out.

Call them back after you have thought through their story agenda and how you can weave in your message.

When you call them back, arrange for a quiet area where you can talk and won’t be distracted. If it’s during business hours, let your other staff  know this is an important call and don’t disturb you.

  • Do some homework on the reporter and the story they are working on.
  • Have your bullets points in front of you. (The message you want to convey)
  • Don’t say anything you would not want printed or broadcast. Nothing is off the record.
  • If appropriate, invite them to your business where you have visuals, or offer photos of you or your product that can add to their story.

If it’s a written piece, don’t ask to review it before it runs, that won’t happen and just makes you look not media savvy.

If the story runs, drop them a thank you note and file their name for future items you may need a good contact in the media.

A positive story in the media can mean a lot to any business. For more ideas on how to get publicity for your business, check out the Publicity Ta-Do list.