Dealing with the media is not easy or natural. We all have our own ideas about how the media acts and why, but there is one secret only those who have worked inside the news media can tell you with certainty — the news media needs you as badly as you need the media.
Think about it…
- How much news do your local media providers — newspaper, TV, radio, magazine — gather on a daily basis?
- Where do they find their stories?
Journalism is hard. The people practicing it work long, tedious hours under extraordinary pressure. Ask yourself this:
- What is the fastest way to get my message in front of the most people?
- What is the cheapest way to get my message out to the most people?
The answer is earned media — news coverage that comes for free.
When you step in front of a broadcaster’s camera and microphone, you may as well be standing on stage inside a large stadium filled with the citizens of your community — and you are being handed the mic.
The problem is, you won’t ever see all those people. All you will see is a camera lens staring back at you and a reporter you probably don’t know asking you questions that you may not be prepared to answer.
At that moment, you are a spokesperson representing yourself and your organization. Your job is to relay important information and translate why the audience should care about it.
That’s a big responsibility and not something to approach with arrogance or fear. Earned news media exposure may be free of cost but developing it takes significant time and effort.