I have a long-standing relationship with Hotel Executive and write an article for them quarterly. Today I am grateful for my friendship with their editor and the opportunity to help educate their readers on the importance of communication in a businesses growth. Following is an excerpt from an article I wrote for them in July about how to prepare yourself for media interviews.

There are many reasons you should be prepared to talk to the media; a new opening, a new employee, an award, a new product or service, or some intellectual property; all of which give you plenty of time to prepare for a media interview. But what if the unplanned happens, such as a crisis? Are you prepared to talk with the media? Do your employees know what to do when a reporter calls?

Warren Buffet was quoted telling his Salomon Brothers employees, “If you lose money for the firm, I will be very understanding.  If you lose reputation for the firm, I will be ruthless.” Everyone in your business represents your brand, your reputation, so it’s important for everyone to understand who talks to the media and what the policy is should a reporter come knocking at your door.

A media interview is a great opportunity to tell the world about your business, through third-party credibility. But just like an employee handbook, a social media policy, and a business plan, it’s important to have a media plan in place that covers:

1. Who talks to the media? Designate a spokesperson. Usually there are at least two spokespersons – the CEO (or someone in the c-suite) and a senior-level communication professional (can be internal or can also be your PR firm).

2. What to do when the media calls, or stops by a location. The policy should detail how to handle the reporter’s request and list phone numbers and email addresses of the spokespersons.

3. Practice makes perfect – or as my piano teacher used to say, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” Practice different scenarios.  Make sure everyone knows what the policy is. Quiz them, if need be. Practice, practice, practice.

To read the rest of the story and find tips on practicing and preparing for media interviews, visit the Arment Dietrich PR toolbox. Scroll down to “Hotel Executive” and click on the second link, “Media Interviews: How to Prepare Yourself for the Unexpected.”

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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