Working with the press is nothing more than a sales job. As in any other sales process, it is important for a company to establish clear goals and create ongoing relationships with the press with which they are dealing. Below, are some guidelines to follow:
Press people are often under deadline pressure. Since the purpose of taking the time to do an interview is to develop a rapport, try to get an understanding of what deadline pressures the interviewer is under and be responsive to those pressures.
Remember the First Amendment
Every interview may not result in a story and every story that gets written may not be exactly the story the company wants to see published. Members of the press are entitled to freedom of the press. If you want something to be "off the record," you need to get an agreement from the person you are speaking with before you are guaranteed anonymity.
Be responsive to your audiences
Different types of press have different needs. Try to understand their needs, either by getting advice from your public relations firm beforehand, or by taking the first few minutes of your interview to chat with the interviewer to understand his or her concerns. Then, present your material as effectively as possible to meet those needs.
Manage the conversation
Try to drive an interview rather than let it be driven for you. Answer questions by bringing them back to the points you want to emphasize. The goal is to communicate information rather than load the listener with data he or she may not understand.
Know your key message
Find every opportunity during a conversation with a reporter to underline the company's key objectives.
Set your objectives
The key to successful interviews is to know what can be accomplished before entering into a conversation with the press. Never enter into an interview process without knowing your objectives. If you get a spontaneous phone call from a reporter, the best way to handle it is to call the person back after you have had a chance to think about the key company objectives.