If you’re a newsmaker — business executive, celebrity, ministry leader, anybody the media would want to interview because the things you do make for good stories — here’s a free tip why you should spend a little money and hire a firm like ROAR: You never, ever, under any circumstance, no matter how friendly you think they are, even if you went to school or belong to a club with them, you can’t think of a reason that would make me change my mind, give a journalist direct access to you.
That’s because you’re what we call “talent” in the PR business. And you need a gatekeeper through which any media requests for your insights and acumen are routed.
Interviews are serious business. Done properly, they require preparation. To do your best, you need to know what the reporter’s piece is about and what perspective they’d like you to provide. You want the time to not only serve the journalist’s agenda by answering his or her questions, but also your agenda — what project or passion do you want to make sure you can create a way to talk about regardless of the questions posed to you? You can’t do any of that if a reporter has the ability to ring you up and immediately launch into Q-and-A mode.
I’ve seen careers ruined because reporters called or dropped in on talent directly — prompting rushed, stumbling responses (not even always in crisis-management situations) that never would have been uttered had the subject had a little time to think through and reasonably frame what he or she wanted to say. If ever a reporter does find a way to get to you directly, always have a PR person you can send him or her to in order to give yourself that all-important preparation time.
Bottom line: If you’re big enough that the press wants to talk to you on a regular basis, be smart enough to engage the services of folks like us to ensure your best interests are served.