GROW! Marketing and Public Relations Tips

How to Answer Journalists' Toughest Questions

Posted by Emma Fitzpatrick on Mon, Jul 1, 2013 @ 9:00 AM
journalists and public relations, garden media group

Media coverage is how you build a brand.

Both on social media and traditional media sources, this is your chance to tell your brand's story and make personal connections with your target audience.

But, the one major difference? On social media, your brand is totally in charge while in traditional media you're at the mercy of the journalist.

To better prep for media interviews with outlets of any size, be sure your brand's face can answer four of journalists' toughest questions.

Stump-ers

media relations, garden media groupThe interview's going well: you're finally situated, beginning to feel comfortable, and then bam! a question you have no clue how to answer.

When a journalist asks you a question that you do not know the answer to, have a response ready to go. Try as hard as you can to avoid the phrase, "I don't know," but if you have to use it, it's not the end of the world.

Instead, focus on the elements of the question you do know. Respond with any related information and show that you still know your stuff!

Personal Opinion

media relations, garden media groupThe intersection between personal and company opinions is really blurred. Even though your garden CEO's opinion is technically separate from the company's it really isn't... because she is the face of the company.

Readers will begin to wonder how your personal opinion influences business decisions. Stay clean, and stay out of that conversation!

Instead, response savvily with, "I'm speaking for the organization here today, and we firmly believe..."

Yes/No Questions

media relations, garden media groupQuestions like these are really tough. The reporter begins by saying, "This is a yes or no question..." Then, you feel like you have to give a yes or no answer to satisfy the question.

The truth is no issue is black or white, so your brand representative cannot say affirmatively yes or no for sticky questions.

"The answer isn't so simple." Follow up with more information that describes the complexity of the issue. 

Speculative Questions

A speculative question is one that requires a definite answer on a question that hasn't formally been answered or determined yet--basically a guess.

You don't want this answer to come back and bite you. Instead of giving the reporter a guess, stick to the hard facts. Show support for the advice, but do not speculate--no matter what!

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