Mistakes Businesses Make with the Media, Part 1

When it comes to dealing with print mediums like newspapers and magazines, many organizations are completely in the dark.

Thanks to the business community placing such an emphasis on mastering digital media, it can become easy to forget the traditional media is still there. The good news is that not only is traditional media still there, but it’s also available to be used for your benefit. With that in mind, here are some mistakes to avoid when dealing with the media:

Not doing the research. Cold calling a newspaper and asking who you should speak to about your story is never a good idea. There is a protocol to contacting reporters; it involves doing your research to determine which reporters cover the type of news you need to get out there. If you don’t have time to do that research, a good public relations firm can do it for you.

Making assumptions. Too many business owners assume that others understand their industries the way they do. Consequently, they may speak industry jargon when writing press releases, giving media statements and being interviewed. Don’t ever assume the media (or its audience) “already knows” what you do. Speak in layman’s terms that explain your processes simply, so the media can report on it in a way that makes sense to the audience. Again, this is something a public relations firm is skilled at.

Talking down to people. This is the opposite of making assumptions: Dumbing your message down too much. Yes, you want to speak in layman’s terms – but not children’s terms. Today, many journalism experts recommend that reporters write at a 7th or 8th grade level – so if that is the level the reporter will be writing at, you should aim for that level in your communication with him. Keep it simple, but make it smart.

You are walking a fine line when dealing with the media, and that’s where public relations professionals can be of tremendous value. By avoiding these mistakes businesses make when dealing with the media, you can get your organization on the road to public relations success.