Magazine article Communication World

Aggressive Advertising and Marketing, Why Not Media Relations?

Magazine article Communication World

Aggressive Advertising and Marketing, Why Not Media Relations?

Article excerpt

The most opportune moment for a business executive in an interview with a reporter should be when the reporter looks up after a furious bout of note taking and asks, "Is there anything else I should know?" Another version of the question, "Those were all my questions. Is there anything else you would like to add?"

In almost all business settings - from new business presentations, to budget reviews, to job interviews, to internal meetings - this is one of the golden questions presenters anticipate. And if it's not asked, good communicators figure out a way to summarize their key points or bring up a subject that has not yet been raised.

Yet rarely do people being interviewed by the press seize upon this last question as a similar opportunity. Survival instincts take over, not the possible business advantage. So, when confronted with the best - and easiest - question of the interview, the silent cartoon bubble pops up in most executives' brains with the simple comment: "Well, I haven't gotten myself into trouble yet. I'm outta here." The subsequent verbalized response is, "No, I think that covers it. I appreciate your time."

While this may be an effective response, the problem is that the executive has missed a golden opportunity to communicate a key message, one that has better than average odds of being quoted or used in an article. The downside is that any response opens up a whole new line of questions. But if managers would prepare for the press as well as they do for most other business interactions, the last question should never throw them.

Spokespersons use many reasons to not take advantage of the question. These include unfamiliarity with the interview process, loss of control, not knowing enough about the reporter and the article, and the inability to view final copy before it appears. Based upon experience with large and small companies, associations and government agencies, I have found that the primary driver of the non-response to the last question is in the reality that most corporate and organizational cultures do not put a high premium on good quotes or positive articles. Managers are generally not rewarded in promotions, bonuses and recognition for positive articles and quotes. …

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