Here are the 10 ways organizations and their members most often sabotage their media relationships, as well as individual interview opportunities:
- Ask a reporter to submit a complete list of questions in advance. This is asking for trouble. But you can and should ask what the story is about, and you should expect an honest, complete answer.
- Insist that “no comment” makes you sound important. “No comment” speaks volumes, and none of it is good.
- Go into an interview with a bad attitude. This can only guarantee that a potentially adversarial situation will go wrong. What else can this produce but a bad story?
- Blame the reporter for asking the wrong questions. There are no wrong questions, only opportunities for you to make a point and to communicate your organization’s messages to its audiences beyond the news media.
- Keep a low profile during a crisis. Silence may be golden sometimes, but try it here and you’ll find your organization’s image severely tarnished.
- Refuse to ever acknowledge, “I don’t know.” Not only is it OK not to know all the answers, in some situations it can be essential to your credibility as an interviewee.
- Respond to questions when you don’t really know the answer. This is the quickest way to get into trouble. Why not just offer help in getting the right person to answer those questions?
- Get into an argument with a reporter. Even if you win, you lose.
- Succumb to an “ambush” interview when you could turn the situation into a positive platform for your messages (or politely decline the interview altogether).
- Throw in plenty of jargon so people will see you as an expert. It’s a guaranteed turnoff. Instead, speak the language of the audience you really want to reach.
Also published on Medium.