Myelom-Gruppe Rhein-Main

Last modified: 12 January 2013

Working with the media - PR campaigns and interviews

Preparing for a PR Campaign

One of the golden rules when dealing with the media, which is often overlooked, is preparation.

PR isn't rocket science. If you have a newsworthy story and it is communicated to the right journalist in the correct manner, then it will be published.

Here are some golden rules to help you get the most from your PR campaign:

  • Think carefully about what you want to say - develop your story idea and think about what makes it newsworthy.
  • Sell your story in to the right media outlet - a local fundraising event should be promoted to the local media whereas a story about a treatment should be targeted at the medical press.
  • Understand what journalists want - do they want an overall story on myeloma, a human-interest story about what it means to live with the disease, or just the facts and figures.
  • Prepare your key messages - make sure the spokesperson has a couple of quotes in preparation for a journalist interview. You should prepare your key messages well in advance and these should form the basis of your campaign. By repeating your key messages over and over again, you will ensure you get your main points across to the media and they won't miss the point.
  • Prepare photography - have shots of your spokesperson, shots of your new piece of information or website and anything else that might be relevant. The more pictures the better as there is nothing worse than seeing a news piece printed 20 times using all the same picture! Make sure the images you have prepared are high enough quality.
  • Organisational Profile - it is always good to provide the background to your organisation or the individuals involved. Don't assume any prior knowledge from the media. Remember they are dealing with hundreds of stories. One good technique is always to reiterate your organisation's mission and goals at every opportunity.
  • The Press Pack - journalists often like to receive background information when writing a story or preparing for an interview. The two best mediums for proving this information are the traditional printed press pack or the more modern online press office. Both should and will provide the same information including; organisational background, images, biographies of senior staff, current press releases, services you offer and organisational brochure.
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Working with journalists

Making use of your time with a journalist is key - make sure you have an agenda and you have something to offer them.

Useful tips for media interviews

  • Be prepared. Know the reason for the interview, know why they chose you, know the issues, the journalist and the publication, know how much time you have and who else will be interviewed, and be aware of the audience and potential questions.
  • Know your journalist. Whether they prefer written or verbal information and when their deadline is.
  • Prioritise - Be prepared to say more than just the answers to a journalist's question. But write down two/three key messages before talking and communicate them at every opportunity.
  • Be clear, concise and confident - remember that you know more about the subject than the journalist.
  • Make sure you understand the question.
  • Wherever possible, use illustrations and offer to put journalists in touch with case studies or third parties who can endorse your story. Use medical terms only with appropriate medical media.
  • If you don't know the answer, say so - do not lie, speculate or argue with the journalist. Avoid saying '‘No comment' and do not repeat negative comments.
  • Remember that nothing is 'off the record' - never tell a journalist anything that you would not want to see in print or broadcast. The interview starts when you meet the journalist and it ends when you leave - during this time, everything is on the record.