10 Steps to Media Success—Part 2 of a 2 Part Series

In Part 1 of this series, you learned how to create a newsworthy story and what to do to prepare to pitch your story to the media. Today, you’ll learn how to pitch your story to the media and prepare for an interview, as well as what you need to do after the story runs.

So, now that you’ve created your story idea, prepared supporting materials, and practiced your pitch, you’re ready to actually make the pitch to the media.

6.  Make the pitch.

Most reporters prefer to receive story ideas by e-mail. Be sure to follow up with a phone call. Always ask if this is a good time to talk (they may be working on a deadline). Keep in mind that you are helping the reporter. He/she has to constantly come up with new material and you’ve got a good story to help them. If the reporter sounds interested and says he/she will consider it, ask when you can follow up with them. Don’t give up until the reporter says no.

7. Prepare for scheduled media interviews.

  • Develop three key “talking points” or main ideas you want to emphasize and repeat during your interview. Work them into all your responses.
  • Use simple terms, analogies, and illustrations.
  • Keep your answers short.
  • Remember that nothing is ever “off the record.” If you don’t want it printed or broadcast, don’t say it.
  • Avoid reading from your notes—use them only as a reference.

8.  Remember patient confidentiality

If a reporter asks to interview a patient, you should first contact the patient to gain permission. Always ask patients to sign a release form giving you permission to release their name/contact information (your PR office should have such a form or you can contact Global Bridges for a generic form that you can personalize).

9.  Extend your reach.

Be sure to send the press release and bios you’ve prepared to all radio, television, magazine, online, and newspaper outlets in your community. Don’t forget local college stations and publications.

10.  Thank everyone who helped achieve media coverage.

When the story runs, be sure to thank the reporter. If there are any errors, let them know right away. While it may be too late to fix a printed piece, most media outlets run online versions of their stories and can make corrections to those pretty quickly.

Also be sure to thank co-workers, patients, assignment editors, PR and event staff – anyone who helped bring attention to your program. Recognize their efforts. You may need them again one day soon!