Declining interview requests, pitching at trade shows, more

When should I decline a media interview request?

Interview requests
When should I decline a media interview request?

If you get an unexpected call or visit from a reporter and you're unprepared, it's best to decline, unless you can buy yourself some time - 15 to 20 minutes - to come up with key points, says Ken Hasely, senior counselor at The Ammerman Experience.

"If you don't have the subject matter expertise, redirect the reporter," he advises.

If you haven't yet developed your media interview skills, either through training or experience, you might want to pass, he adds.

Sometimes, reporters just need someone - anyone - to speak on behalf of some issue.

"If you don't want your organization associated with that issue, politely tell the reporter you [would] prefer not to weigh in on that particular topic," Hasely says.

Finally, if you're convinced you'll be treated unfairly, don't feel you must participate.

Trade shows
How can I effectively pitch the media at trade shows?

Trade shows can provide a chance to take stock of a client's competitors and gain in-person access to essential media contacts.

"Trade shows are such a common occurrence in our field that we tend to lose sight of what a great opportunity they can be for getting a client's message heard," says Mary Clare Middleton, associate director of consumer products at Wheatley & Timmons.

Flexibility is vital. "Editors usually have a few story angles in mind, so be sure to ask them what they're looking for first," she says. "This will allow you to present them with relevant information."

You should also get to know the pressroom staff. "They can be a vital asset when it comes to getting your press kit noticed, especially if a mutual respect is present," Middleton notes.

PR efforts overseas
What are a few tips for utilizing PR efforts overseas?

Successful communications with emerging markets has become a must - and while full of opportunity, there are many challenges involved, explains Hector Botero, VP of emerging markets at Marketwire.

These include cultural and language differences, complex media landscapes, scarce resources, and government restrictions.

"To be successful with PR efforts overseas, be sure to... leverage resources that understand cultural nuances and language differences," he says.

Make sure translations are accurate, and build your media audience by being consistent, persistent, and by delivering messages with local relevance, he adds.

"Partner with news distributors who offer experience and knowledge in those markets," Botero says. "They can provide opportunities to enter into those markets via specific events, on the ground offices, and targeted tools and products."

And don't forget the importance of planning ahead, asking questions, and seeking guidance, he notes.

Send your questions to: Please contact Beth Krietsch if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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