So, you’ve spent the last month crafting and pitching a storyline to the “holy grail” reporter. And after several conversations, they finally agreed to a call with the CEO.
However, despite your insistence that some preparation work be done, the senior exec feels confident they’ve got this and doesn’t need any hand holding. After the intro pleasantries on the interview, the reporter asks the first hard-hitting question and the overly confident exec says, “Well, this is off-the-record, but xyz competitor is tanking and we are stealing their clients and planning an IPO in the next 18 months.” Oy vey.
Let’s talk about how to avoid this scenario moving forward:
1) Don’t Let the Holy Grail Outlet be the First – If TechCrunch, the WSJ or niche media outlets are your capstone publications, do not put a senior exec on the phone as their first media interview. Even if they have had previous media relations experience, set-up a call with a friendly publication as a trial run.
2) Provide Backup – While most reporters don’t jump up and down when a PR person participates in an interview, they are usually accepting of it. When a difficult question is asked or if the exec gets off track, the PR rep is there to steer the conversation and tactfully navigate pitfalls.
3) CYA – We’ve all had bad days and sometimes the best laid plans go astray. If sensitive information is inadvertently revealed or misrepresented, call the reporter following the interview and
* Originally published in the December 2017 Edition of The Spark