Media Relations Advice: Email Interviews and Online Comments

While media relations best practices don’t change dramatically week-to-week, there are some trending tactics and questions that continue to come up across clients and prospects. Lately, it is email interviews and participation in the  “comments” section of online news articles.

Email interviews – in which an email Q&A replaces the traditional phone interview – are in vogue and thought leaders can take advantage of additional media visibility by being a timely resource and providing thoughtful email responses to reporter inquiries. It is a way for reporters to quickly gather insights from multiple spokespersons. While this approach offers the interviewee more control over their responses, they shouldn’t confuse this opportunity with a chance to control the overall story. How the reporter uses those responses is up to the reporter, including paraphrasing some of the submitted content without a direct quote. This is similar to a phone interview that includes spokespersons sharing content that may be used contextually in the story.

Another trending topic is the practice of posting comments on news articles for additional visibility. While some argue it is a way to increase a thought leader’s or topic’s media profile, we don’t advise making it a practice as it dilutes your thought leadership and credibility. Most reporters aren’t scouring their articles’ comment sections for interview sources and your potential clients probably aren’t either. That said, if you author a byline that is published, it is prudent to monitor the comments sections for additional questions. Instead of feverishly commenting on reporter articles, share your insights in a blog post, via Twitter (or a series of tweets) or in a byline or white paper – where it can attract more widespread attention.

While media relations is an ever-evolving practice, the core tenets of working with the media consistently apply. Whether giving an interview verbally or in written format or determining the best forum for media-based thought leadership, a solid strategy and on-point, clear messaging are required for successful execution. What are some of your recent media relations FAQs?

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