Successful public relations is all about relationships.
While securing a story in a prime publication is terrific, building solid relationships with the press is the golden ticket to getting that story published.
Think about it: Journalists receive dozens, if not hundreds,
of story pitches every day, most of them mass-produced pitches that end up in a
laptop’s trash bin, often unread.
To set yourself apart from every Mary, Marty and Michael
that pitches a story, you’ve got to earn and cultivate a trusting relationship
with the journalists that cover your beat and your business. To achieve that
goal, you’ve got to do your research and ensure that you aren’t making mistakes
along the way.
Suffice it to say that every detail matters. Here
are some ideas to consider as you aim to become a trusted member of the media
You’ve prepared and done your homework. You’re a natural in
front of the camera and a designated spokesperson, and you know your subject
inside and out.
All of which begs the question: Why should you worry and
sweat when a member of the media shoves a microphone under your chin and starts
pelting you with questions?
The interview is moving along smoothly. You’re feeling
confident and you’re articulate. You’re using all of the right buzzwords and
your colleagues are watching your interview on TV and congratulating your
shining moment from afar.
Then wham-bam-boom. The interviewer suddenly poses a
question that you want to really, really want to avoid answering. Anything but that question, your brain mutters.
In reality, this scenario happens quite a bit, and it’s all
too easy to falter when an interviewer lobs a question your way that you want
to evade. What to do?
It’s called bridging—and it works.
Rather than answering the question that you’re desperate to
avoid, you strategically pivot the interview to drive home your message.
In essence, you need a “bridge” to pull the conversation
back to the main points that you want to convey. It’s imperative that you stay
on track, remain poised and continue to deliver your key points to your captive
audience—despite the question.
By staying on topic, it allows you to control the
conversation and stick to your agenda.
The key to bridging successfully is always having a pipeline
of phrases and words stored away in your head that ensures that you can pivot
away from the ick-question and steer the interview back to the points that you
want to amplify.
If you need time to
think, give yourself a few seconds by initially responding with “That’s a great
question—one that I think about often,” and then provide a “bridge” statement
that can start with “What’s important to remember…” or “Let’s not forget…”
both of which are transitions that allow you to tailor your answer with
compelling information that effectively articulates your main points and speaks
to your audience. Just remember that everything is on the record and it’s crucial
to tell the truth.