Monday, January 26, 2009

Own the Point of Interview

Every step in the media relations process is critical to achieve the desired result – high impact editorial coverage that is accurate, timely and in-strategy.

There are no short cuts. You have to read the publication and its Web site, know the journalists and their coverage area, understand the market trends, and craft a compelling, timely pitch.

However, it’s at the point of interview that a media campaign either comes together, or falls flat. This is the time when the executive being interviewed must convince the journalist that their readers will find value in an article which follows a specific editorial path or includes a specific quote. Quality journalists need lots of convincing.

Developing power statements about a company and its products is a proven tactic to ensure time spent with a journalist leads to a measurable result. A few years back I met with a company that designs and manufactures state-of-the-art proprietary hardware solutions (DC to 40 GHz) to facilitate broadband RF signal management for complex cable networks.

What was their power statement? As it turns out, if you’re watching cable television in North America the signal is directed by this company’s product.

A second approach to own the point of interview is to deliver an assessment of a market situation in a creative and unexpected way.

Rick Wesson of computer security consulting shop Support Intelligence recently scored an interview with the New York Times about a new worm called Conficker. His characterization of the worm’s potential impact was masterful:

“If you’re looking for a digital Pearl Harbor, we now have the Japanese ships steaming toward us on the horizon.”

Garnering meaningful coverage from journalists, analysts, bloggers and other influencers comes down to how a company delivers at the point of interview.

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