When you contact the media, you are ready with notes and information at hand. But when a member of the media calls you, your information may not always be at your fingertips. Preparation is always key when you deal with the media. But how can you prepare for an unanticipated phone call?
First and foremost, remember that you're under no obligation to respond immediately. There are four easy steps to successfully answering media inquiries:
- Buy time
- Politely tell the journalist that you're unable to talk right now but will be happy to call back with the information.
- Ask when it would be convenient for you to call back, and find out about the deadline.
- Gather information
- Find out what kinds of information the reporter is seeking.
- Get the person's name, affiliation, and phone number(s).
- If you're unfamiliar with the outlet, do a little online research.
- Get ready
- Determine who should speak to the journalist on behalf of Weed and Seed. If you're not the main contact, phone the appropriate spokesperson and brief him or her for the interview.
- Gather any background information that will be helpful. If you will not respond, e-mail or fax it to your spokesperson. If you do not have what the journalist is looking for, find it or be prepared to say where it is available.
- Respond at the designated time and always well before the deadline.