In last week’s blog we discussed a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to your camp or non-profit organization’s media relations.
For most of us, the presence of the media makes us nervous. Even when addressing the media in an attempt to promote or market camp can be a little nerve racking. Perhaps you have an opportunity to participate in a radio or television broadcast to promote your camp to the community? What if the local newspaper wants to tell your story to their readers?
What do you say? What is the right thing to say? Or, a better question, what is the wrong thing to say? You don’t want to say that!
Media interviews can feel dangerous, but at the same time they can be exhilarating and an extremely positive experience...when you are prepared. Just because you watch, listen, or read the media doesn’t make you an expert on interviews. It’s important to prep yourself before any interview. Write out some example questions and jot down point form answers. You can even do a little role playing and have someone else ask you a few questions so you can practice answering them.
Keep your answers simple. That doesn’t mean withhold information or be too short with your answers. It means to keep your answers understandable for the listener or reader. Don’t make things too complicated and always remember to tell your stories like you would tell a friend.
If you get the opportunity to promote your camp or organization on television, chances are you will have the opportunity for a ‘pre-interview’. The producer will ask you questions, and after you answer them gauge their response to your answers. If they are stone faced, perhaps answer the questions a little differently. In most cases, the producer is the one writing the questions you will be asked by the on-air host.
Whether you are on television or radio, offer the producer any information they might need about your organization before the interview. Tell them about any relevant news or that might be useful to them. Make sure the producer has a chance to visit your website.
When being interviewed for a newspaper or magazine story it’s a misconception that the reporter will take your words and change them into a coherent, well edited article. It’s important to speak proper English, so you will be quoted with such. It’s also important you aren’t running off at the mouth, expecting the report to swim through your comments and pick out the best pieces of information. Give them the best pieces of information.
It’s important to remember that content isn’t everything when you are addressing the public through the media. People need to hear clearly what you mean, not just what you say.
Don’t worry if you don’t feel like your camp or organization is newsworthy; instead think of how you can create relevant links that will interest the media and media consumers. Also, learn about that media’s advertisers. Being able to link directly to their revenue source will give your organization a foot in the door.
If you want to be in the media, remember that in most cases they won’t care if your organization runs for a profit or not. What they care about is the story you have to tell. So tell it well!