Love Scott was proud to sponsor the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau (DSMCVB) “Marketing Panel” a couple weeks ago. Our third time sponsoring one of their events, we’ve come to recognize it as a valuable service they provide to their metro partners as a source of marketing/PR education, updating and networking.
After I gave a brief introduction on the importance of research in a solid marketing plan, participants listened as three speaker panels answered questions. I took particular interest in two panels made up of a few of our local media representatives and personalities.
On a broadcast media panel sat:
• Eric Hanson, TV reporter for KCCI
• Van Hardin, radio show host at WHO-AM 1040
• Maxwell Schaeffer, host at KIOA 93.3
• Brooke Bouma, morning co-host at WHO-TV
On a print media panel sat:
• Lynn Hicks, business editor of the Des Moines Register
• Jim Pollock, editor of the Des Moines Business Record
• Polly Clark with Pioneer Communications
• Kendra Williams with Midwest Living.
I listened closely to these panels because, as a PR person, I’m intrigued to hear their takes on how the industry has changed, their pet peeves when receiving information or interviewing, and what helps them report most accurately.
One comment repeated in both panels was on the topic of granting media interviews. A few years back, I did a short stint reporting for a business publication in St. Louis and will never forget times I’d call a business for information or a quote, and nobody would call me back. I wasn’t digging anything up – simply needing accurate information to complete a story…that most often would help promote that company! It astounded me that they would blatantly ignore me, I assume out of some sort of fear. Maybe they’d been burned before by the media – inaccurate information, misquotes, negative story angle, who knows? But every time I was left to think “well, you’re not doing yourselves any favors this way!” Either the story would get scrapped (no free publicity for them) for lack of information, or we’d have to say something ridiculous like “representatives from ‘Company X’ were unavailable for comment.” That is more damaging than no story at all, in my opinion.
Both media panels at the DSMCVB’s event mentioned that companies are doing a disservice to themselves when ignoring opportunities for interviews. Especially when they are associated with a controversial event, an interview is an opportunity to tell their story. Both times the subject came up in the panels, both the TV media reps and the print reps said even if you don’t grant the interview, “the story is going to run anyway”. So basically you have the opportunity to say what YOU want to say, or take a chance that somebody else will say what you wouldn’t want them saying FOR you.
If the idea of speaking to the media scares you, take the time for spokesperson training. Most times, if you’re prepared, it’s actually a positive PR opportunity, not a burden.
What do you think when a company has “no comment”? What are some of the best TV/print interviews you’ve seen or read, even in times of crisis?
Andrea James, President / Director of Public Relations