Bickering Over: Preparing for Media Coverage To Avoid Creating a Crisis

Are you ready for the media? Every organization thinks they should be spotlighted favorably on air and in print, but not every organization is prepared for the influx of calls, emails, and interview requests media coverage creates. This week, Marc and Kathy share their checklist of must-completes before the camera crew comes rolling in…or come in rolling. From having a nicely designed website to ordering enough inventory to meet the demand, learn how to make sure your organization doesn’t create a crisis by failing to plan and prepare. 

Not sure where to start? Our team of PR gurus and media-savvy professionals can help you and your business get in tip-top shape for your next camera-ready moment.

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Rather read? Check below for the episode transcript!

Bickering Over: Preparing for Media Coverage To Avoid Creating a Crisis

Marc Silverstein: Hello everybody, this is Off the Marc with the Bickersteins. This is the podcast that solves all your media crises, every last one of them. I’m Marc

Kathy Fowler: And I’m Kathy. 

Marc Silverstein: Kathy is joining us from an undisclosed location someplace in America.

Kathy Fowler: I’m in the witness protection program now, and I cannot tell you where I am. I’m just going to call it Studio Benz in the Midwest. 

Marc Silverstein: That is if you have a chance to check out our YouTube page, you’ll see Kathy sitting in a parked car enjoying her coffee, not going anywhere. It’s really interesting. 

Kathy Fowler: Hey, I’m not going to be that council person who got in trouble for distracted driving by driving while on a Zoom call with a seat belt on pretending like he was in his office.

Marc Silverstein: Is your seatbelt on?

Kathy Fowler: No, because I’m not moving. I think I’m safe.

Marc Silverstein: So now that we got that worked out, this week what are we talking about, Kathy?

Kathy Fowler: We are talking about how to prepare media coverage to avoid creating your own crisis and just really like media coverage. How do you get media coverage? I think a lot of people think it just happens. They’re like…

Marc Silverstein: “I’m going to put out a press release. I’m going to put out a press release.” That’s what they say.

Kathy Fowler: Or “The Today Show just called me yesterday, and I want to be on for like an eight-minute segment. I think I’m going to go.” That never happens. If you saw somebody on The Today Show, it’s because they had people behind the scenes pitching and pitching and working hard to get you on.

Marc Silverstein: Well, that leads to the first point, which is the first thing, and this is I’m going to rip the band-aid off right from the start here. You’re not going to be on Oprah. You know, we hear that a lot. “I want to be on Oprah.” And then we have to inform them that Oprah isn’t really on anymore, not with her traditional talk show. 

Unless you’re Megan Markle, and you’re hijacking Harry to L.A., I just don’t think you’re going to be on Oprah. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim high. You should always aim high. 

Kathy Fowler: Aim for Oprah, baby. But just realize that…

Marc Silverstein: …she won’t back and be on five days a week just for you.

Kathy Fowler: Well, she does her stream cast or whatever. Like, she does her, I don’t know where she does that thing, that show. But you know, it’s big people. It’s like really big. It’s like you got to be a prince or you know.

Marc Silverstein: Or a B-list actress that was married to a prince. 

Kathy Fowler: Um, yeah, I think she would be called a princess. Hello.

Marc Silverstein: Is she, though? I thought they got rid of all of those titles and everything, didn’t they once they moved to? I don’t know. I don’t keep up.

The point is you should aim high, but you should also know the media landscape. Like, I’ve heard people said to me, “I want to be on Johnny Carson.” We’re like, “He’s not with us anymore, but you could be on The Today Show or Good Morning America or CBS This Morning or Kelly Clarkson. There’s some, you know, Ellen you got one year left. She’s announced that she’s wrapping things up in 2022, so you know, that’s going to be a tough booking. 

But really, you’ve got to figure out what your story is. And then, oh, you’re what are you getting pinged? You’re getting pinged while you sit in the car going anywhere?

Kathy Fowler: So, media tip 101 is when you’re on the media or on the TV or during the middle of your interview, do not have your phone on, put it on vibrate, that’s like 101. I forgot to do that.

Marc Silverstein: You know, I may have forgotten that as well, so if this Zoom of you sitting in a car parked somewhere gets interrupted, it’s because I forgot to do the ‘Do Not Disturb’.

Kathy Fowler: Well, at least we’ve made progress, if you hit the record button, that will be good.

Marc Silverstein: Oh, wait, I did, okay, I did hit the record button.

What do you have to do to prepare for the media?

Kathy Fowler: All right, so what do you need to do to prepare for the media? A lot of clients of ours anyway, they like the idea of getting media coverage, but they don’t understand all the work that actually goes into it. It really is a strategic effort to get into public relations efforts to get on shows like the Today Show or even your local newscast. 

Marc Silverstein: Yeah, I think the local newscast is great if you can get positive coverage or some sort of spotlight coverage of something that you’re doing that you want out there. Local news is a great place to be. So are all those other shows that we talked about. But, and you never know where you’re going to end up, you never know what you got, you can aim high. As we said, aim high. But also, be realistic and try for multiple different places, multiple places.

Know where your potential customers are

Kathy Fowler: But also, I mean, a lot of people think that they want to be on NBC Nightly News or whatever, or the Today Show or Good Morning America or CBS This Morning or whatever. But, to be honest, you really need to think about your strategy even more than that. 

Where are your potential customers? Where are the people that you’re trying to talk to? What do they watch? 

So, if you’re a local business and you really only service a small region, like let’s say if you’re in Washington DC and you’re only really servicing the DMV, do you need national media as much because you’re trying to only get customers from the DMV? 

Well, those are things you might have to consider. Like it might look good to your local customers for you to be an expert on Fox News Business or something, or the Today Show or something like that, or CNBC. But, that may not be driving your local customers to you.

So, those are all things, like when you think about a media strategy, you’ve got to really think about where are my customers? Do I want national customers? Can I service national customers? Do I want local customers? 

Marc Silverstein: Do I want phone calls from all over the country when I’m only doing the DMV? Do I want to deal with phone calls?

Now, don’t forget, being on national TV or national coverage, print, podcast, clubhouse, whatever, you know, there’s a halo effect. And yeah, it looks good, it gives you that Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval to use an old reference. 

Yeah, if these guys say, you know, “if he’s been on this network or if she’s been on this podcast, she must know what she’s talking about,” so you know, yes, those are always good to have. But then again, you’re going to get phone calls from places that you may not want to be getting phone calls from, because you’re not offering your service in Nebraska.

Figure out what your story is

Kathy Fowler: A lot of people wonder how do I get on TV, and really it always comes down to, like we always tell people all the time: storytelling, storytelling, storytelling. It really comes down to what story do you have to tell? What reporter and what network and what radio station, what podcast really wants to hear it? So you have to really think about your story.

And when it’s a story like maybe you’re a bank or you’re a financial services service company, you have to think about, “Well, I’m not gonna just talk about my services, right? No one’s gonna wanna know that.” But like if you’re a financial services person and maybe, and this would be a great story idea, you’d be like, “Okay, how do I get, I really want to talk to people about mortgages?” Maybe you’re a bank, and a mortgage division is a line of yours, and you’d like to attract local customers for a certain loan or whatever.

So you might give advice and say, “Hey, let’s talk about the real estate market right now. It’s booming, it’s insane. But is now the time to buy? Is it going to be a bust, or should you wait a year to try to get in? Because if you get it now, you’re gonna overpay, and then it’s gonna go down, and then that’s gonna end up being bad for your financial situation. But you know, there’s studies and there’s articles out that say that the housing crisis is, or the crisis, the housing boom is still going to keep happening for at least another 7% increase in the next year, and guess what? It’s gonna cost more money. Interest rates are going up. So instead of you paying 2.5% to borrow money, it’s going to 3.5%. So by the way, it’s a good time to buy. If you’re thinking about buying, you should buy.”

So that would be a good story idea for somebody who either a bank client that has mortgage potential customers, or maybe a financial services person who gives financial advice. So you have to think in stories like that, and that’s a story that reporters would want to hear about.

Marc Silverstein: So you’re suggesting the first thing you do is figure out what your story is?

Kathy Fowler: Yeah, and if you don’t have a story, you’re probably not going to get on. I mean, you have to think of interesting stories, and then when you think of those stories, the reporter’s going to go, “Okay, I don’t want to just talk to you, I want to talk to a home buyer who’s been on the fence and is like, ‘Okay, I’m going to go ahead and buy because I’m looking at like lumber’s increasing 35%, building houses is just going to cost more. I mean, all the arrows are pointing upwards. So yeah, I’m paying more now than what I want to, but it’s just.going to get worse.'” 

So, you’ll want a customer available, because a reporter will probably ask if you have a real person that they can talk to and build a story around. 

Marc Silverstein: What are those people called in the industry?

Kathy Fowler: They get the name of being victims, but they’re not really, only because in the news business, if you go on a story…

Marc Silverstein: “I need a victim. I need an example of what you’re talking about.”

Kathy Fowler: “I need a vic.” Your assignment editor will be smoking a cigar and will say “I need a vic. Get me a vic.” 

Marc Silverstein: They’re still smoking cigars in the newsroom these days? 

Kathy Fowler: They’re not smoking cigars. 

Marc Silverstein: That was the term. 

Kathy Fowler: That was the term, even though it’s just really, they need a real person. You need to get them real people. And if you don’t have real people, they’ll say, “Give me a man on the street. Just ask some random people. I need somebody. Just ask them  if they’re going to be buying houses next year.”

Marc Silverstein: To go to Kathy’s point, your story is your insight on the housing market. They want to sit down with you, and you’re going to impart wisdom. And then they’re going to want somebody that has just bought a house or is about to buy a house in the housing market.

If you’re able to provide both elements to a media outlet, it makes their job easier. Keep in mind they have a lot of things going on – 22 different stories a day. They’re just cranking it out. So, if you’re able to provide what we always call a one-stop-shop, when they come, they get their interviews, they get the b-roll, they can show some real estate signs for sale signs. You have a better chance of getting your story told as the expert, the thought leader, which then gets on the air, and then you put it on your social media, blog, email newsletter, and website. Then people say, “This person knows what they’re talking about because the news media says they do.”

Kathy Fowler: The other thing is when you have a great story, people are talking about it, or maybe nobody’s talking about it, but people should be talking about it. You know Google. We have a platform where we can find out what every reporter on the planet is talking about, and we can find their contact information. But it’s really laymen people who aren’t public relations or media specialists who can just Google and see what reporters from the Washington Post or any local outlet have talked about in the past, get their contact information and say, “Hey, I know you’ve written about this in the past. Did you know this was happening in the marketplace? I think it’s a great story. This is what I have for you.”

Marc Silverstein: So, you can also put yourself on social media. A lot of the media is looking over social media all the time, trying to find stories. 

Kathy Fowler: Or a lot of the times reporters are in Clubhouse looking. Reporters are looking everywhere for story ideas, so they’re looking at their social media, they’re obviously looking on the internet, they’re listening to clubhouse rooms, they’re everywhere trying to find story ideas and you never know when you know they might come across your blog even, you know. 

But you want to make sure if you’re pitching a reporter, you know, you don’t be pitching the gardening reporter when you’re talking about a real estate story, you know. So if you’re pitching them actively, you should make sure that you do some homework. 

But if you’re just out there talking about topics, they might find you. So put your stuff on social media, put your stuff on, uh, you know, write blogs. 

Marc Silverstein: And we talked about figuring out what your story is. I mean, and the work that goes into this, we spend hours with clients trying to figure out what the different stories they have, and to them sometimes it’s right in front of their face. It’s something that’s on their desk or that there’s something that they’ve been dealing with, and it may seem overly obvious to them but to us it’s like, “I know that’s a gold mine, that’s a great story.” 

So figure out what you’re dealing with, and if you’re seeing a trend, because reporters love trends, an increase in this, a decrease in that. Um, you know, a breakthrough, some kind of new development, uh, science or otherwise, or health, they’re always looking for those kind of things. 

But you know what, we kind of jumped ahead because we talked about getting this media coverage. But something you need to be prepared for, you need to be prepared for a number of things if you do have that story. What are some of those things, Kathy?

Kathy Fowler: So one of the big things that we find is people like, let’s say a lot of clients are like, “Oh, well, we want media coverage.” And then we’re like, “Okay, great, what’s your topic, whatever.” But then we look at their website and their website is not ready for prime time. 

You get one bite at the apple. Sometimes a client or potential client might come to you one time, and so you need to make sure when they come to you, you are totally ready. How does your website look? Does it look good? If you’re talking on the radio about, you know, selling chainsaws, and then your website is about, um, I don’t know, trees, but no, there’s no chainsaws to be seen, that could confuse people.

Marc Silverstein: That was really random. Where did you get chainsaws from?

Kathy Fowler: I don’t know. I’m out in the crazy woods, and I’m thinking about that movie with the chainsaw people. I’m getting kind of scared out here, and, uh, 

Marc Silverstein: You better lock the doors to that car then that you’re in there.

Kathy Fowler: I know. I am.

Marc Silverstein: And make sure the engine starts, because in those movies the engine never starts.

Kathy Fowler: And then the people, like, they don’t run the proper way. I would run the proper way. I got it down. I’m not going to be the person that just goes and then waits for the chainsaw to get them. 

Marc Silverstein: Nothing personal, but you run like Tim Conley. 

Kathy Fowler: Well, if a chainsaw was following me, I think I might run like, you know, somebody else. 

Marc Silverstein: Usain Bolt?

Kathy Fowler: Yes. I might run like a little rabbit who, uh, you know, I might, I might have incentive to go faster.

So, other things that you have to be prepared for are, like, you know, are you, is your bandwidth ready for an influx of calls and emails? Do you have people who can answer? 

Marc Silverstein: We had a story once, yeah, we had a story we thought that we had it all set up and ready to go, but the phone calls that came in after a TV, this was early, in the early days, the client just didn’t have the bandwidth to handle all the phone calls. He thought he did, he told me he did.

Kathy Fowler: We asked him if he did. Let’s say you’re a doctor’s office and you’re gonna be on the 5 o’clock news with some new procedure or treatment or whatever, um, you know, then go ahead and people might call right then and there after they see the story. So have somebody stay at your office later, from like 5 to 8, to answer phone calls. You know the last thing you want is them to get like a voicemail.

So, those are things that you should be thinking about. 

Also, remember we had a client that we were like, “Hey, how is your website bandwidth because you’re going to get a lot of website traffic? The last thing in the world you want is your website to crash.” “No, no, no. I’m good. I talked to my web people. Totally good.” He’s on the local Channel 4 Washington DC network there, and, uh, what happened, of course, the website crashed. He calls me, “Oh my God, my website crashed,” and I’m like, “Dude, I told you.” Anyway, it was down for like 15 minutes. It got it back up, but you know you never know how many calls you missed in that 15 minutes and how many people you turned off and they’re like, “Obviously, this is not a real deal or something.”

Marc Silverstein: Well, there is an equation. The equation is the more you’re prepared and ready to go, the fewer calls you will have. And the less prepared you are, the more calls the story will generate for you.

Be flexible once your start pitching reporters

Kathy Fowler: If you’re starting to pitch yourself as an expert, things that you need to always be prepared for. There’s nothing worse than like, you’re like, “Hey, I’m really actively pitching myself,” and then a reporter calls you and you’re like not ready. “Oh, I can’t see you until like Thursday.” And they’re like, “Dude, my story is running today at 5 o’clock.” So, if you’re going to start pitching yourself to reporters, we always tell our clients, you have to be pretty flexible. You have to build in a certain amount of time during the day that you could actually stop what you’re doing because reporters are, and we can say this because we were them, you know, they need what they need, they want it when they want it, and they gotta have it, and if you’re not available they’ll go to somebody else. So, you know, make sure that you’re available. 

Marc Silverstein: Who does that remind you of? Wait, did that sound familiar? 

Kathy Fowler: Yourself as a reporter.

Marc Silverstein: Okay, we’ll go with that one. Yeah, we’ll go with that. But yeah, you’re right. It’s called the care and feeding of the media. If you want to be on TV, if you want to be in an article, if you want to be on a podcast, you have to be flexible. Your schedule needs to accommodate them. They don’t need to accommodate you. They’re still, with the audience deterioration and the numbers declining and the more ways that they’re able to deliver news and other things. I’m not sure what word I’m looking for here, but, uh, it doesn’t matter. They’re still the biggest guys on the block and they expect you to, you know, they’re polite about it, they’re nice about it, they understand reality. But yeah, you got to make time for them and you got to make time for them that works for them. 

Kathy Fowler: Yeah, so make sure somebody always answers the phone, or if you give contact information to a reporter, give them your cell phone and give them your email, give them your, I don’t even know, the bat signal, whatever it is, but make sure you answer the phone call. And you’re super responsive. 

Let’s say you’re a doctor and you’re in surgery or something, make sure your office knows that you need to be responsive to a reporter, and so they can say, “Hey, someone is going to call, look out…

Marc Silverstein: You can finish the surgery. Yeah, I think, though, I think that would be important to do. I

 think he should finish the surgery, or she should finish the surgery. Yes, don’t come out of the surgery to do the interview. That could be like medical malpractice if something goes wrong. But anyway.

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Be accommodating and build in time

Marc Silverstein: I think the word I was looking for was delivery system. There’s so many different ways people get their information these days, and it’s just getting more and more. But still, getting in the news is important. If it’s important to you. you got to play along, and you got to be accommodating. 

Kathy Fowler: That doesn’t mean you have to cancel all your freaking client meetings for the next month. You just have to understand that you got to build in time. And you know what? Most reporters, they want to be in and out. So most of the time, if they’re coming to you, I mean, if they could be in and out in 15 minutes, that’s their happy spot, you know. They don’t want to be talking to you for more than that. 

Marc Silverstein: And with Zoom, there’s no reason you can’t make yourself available. Even as things open up, I think we’re gonna stick with Zoom and stick with Skype. And I mean, sure, reporters want to do interviews in person, but they can just as easily do them over Zoom and that’s changed the landscape considerably.

Think about the location where you’re going to conduct the interview

Kathy Fowler: The other thing you have to think of is where you’re going to do the interview. I remember when I was a medical reporter and I would go into a lot of doctor offices, and they would not be thinking about where they were going to do the interview. So I would come in and I’d have to spend time trying to find a room and whatever.

So think about, like, if you are doing an in-person interview – which now that we’re opening up and we’re getting vaccinated – that could happen, think of a location that’s out of the way, that’s not going to be noisy, that you could actually like spend some time and not be on not be interrupted. Or even if you’re on a Zoom call, there’s a lot of prep that you have to do for a Zoom call. First of all, make sure you hold the computer up so your eye level, make sure you have good lighting, and that’s on you.

Marc Silverstein: Everything that you’re doing right now, right? Doing your interviews from a car parked in the middle of nowhere.

Kathy Fowler: Yeah, and have it perfectly backlit. But hey, I think the back lighting helps my wrinkles, so there are no wrinkles. 

Marc Silverstein: There are no wrinkles. 

Oh, look and I could even do this. There we go, a little sunglasses action. Now I’m, now I’m looking good. 

Marc Silverstein: Oh, don’t do what you’re doing, go ahead.

Make sure you have adequate inventory in advance of demand

Marc Silverstein: So, last week we interviewed, and I’m not going to be able to pull his name out of my brain, but the gentleman who does the funny commercials, and he said something fascinating, because these are commercials, and in a lot of ways, you can sort of think of news reports as, you know, I wouldn’t say commercials, but it’s an opportunity to share your information.

But he talked about how when clients came to him, they would spend quite a bit on commercials, they’re running the commercials, and the clients would run out of inventory. And that was fine because they could shut those commercials off. They were paying to turn them on and turn them off. 

Especially with supply lines like they are now, which still aren’t that much better than they were during the worst of COVID, you’ve got to make sure you got the stuff that you’re selling. If you’re selling inventory, and you know you run out, and after you’ve worked this hard to get on the news or to run a commercial, uh, you know that that just is wasted money and wasted time.

Kathy Fowler: Yeah, and not only that, but if you’re out there and people think you have a service, and you can’t provide that service, your reputation is actually going to be damaged a bit, because like I said, you get one bite at that apple of a first impression, and if they see you on the news and they’re like, “Oh, this is a credible guy and great, but I can’t get to hire him for six months,” then they’re just like they get more frustrated actually than anything else. 

Well, there is a certain exclusivity. You know, having a six-month waiting list isn’t the worst thing in the world in his situation, but for you, it may not be. You know, we’re not all running Studio 54 here trying to decide who gets in. We want to sell to everybody. Old reference, I don’t know why. I was watching the Halston thing on Netflix, and there was a lot about Studio 54. 

Kathy Fowler: Well, anyway, even if you have success, nobody wants to be on a six-month waiting list no matter what. I mean, some people will put up with it if they have to, if you’re a builder and they really want the house built by this builder. But trust me, nobody is like, “Oh, I’m dying to wait six months for this.” I mean, for some people, they will if it’s somebody they really, really want to do business with or a service that they really want that that particular person has such a big differentiator that they’ll go to them and wait, even though it’s a painful wait potentially. 

Practice media training and think about the questions you’ll be asked

Kathy Fowler: So you have to think of those things before you think about the media, before you think about doing media coverage, and not only that, you also have to really prepare for questions. You have no idea, even if it’s like a friendly interview and it’s like, “Hey, this is something, you know, I’m going to talk about mortgages or whatever.” You never know what question a reporter could ask that actually could turn around and be a negative for your business. 

So you really need to think about practicing media training, because a reporter could come there, and I’ve done this a million times as a reporter. I wasn’t coming to do any gotcha kind of thing, well, I have done that, but that really wasn’t what I did most of the time. But I would comment, “Hey, maybe I could get a couple of stories out of this interview, out of this particular expert.” So, I would say, “Oh, well, why I’m here, why don’t I ask about this?” 

The other thing, if you’ve got a reporter there, and they really just need you as a talking head, don’t be afraid to say, “Hey, listen, you know, this is the other thing that we could talk about real quick. You don’t have to do a story now, but if you want to get me on camera now to talk about X, Y, and Z and use the story later, you can do that.” 

But also, you really need to prepare and just think about reporters’ questions, think about what you are there to talk about, and think about the things that could go wrong and make sure that you’re ready to get out of a question. Practicing the way to get out of a question is important. 

Marc Silverstein: Don’t wing it. Definitely don’t wing it, right? 

Kathy Fowler: Never wing it. And also, it’s knowing like if you’ve got a camera in front of you and you ask the question, and you’re like, “Oh gosh, this is a question that could really get me in trouble. I don’t know what to do,” you don’t have to answer. You could literally say, “You know what? I don’t really know. I’m going to have to get back to you on that because I have to ask my partners or I have to do some some research on that. I just can’t answer that. I can’t give you a really good answer right now. I’d like to answer that question later.” 

So there are ways to get out of a question that don’t sound fishy or don’t send that and just are authentic and genuine. You don’t have to say, “Oh, I can’t talk about that,” because now that’s going to sound suspect. And if I’m a reporter, I’m going to go, “Oh, well now I really want to talk about that.” 

Marc Silverstein: Well, that, I mean, that goes to two points. Two points that we always make: (a) They’re not your friends. They may be friendly, and you may know them from TV or you watch them work, and you want to be their friend. But they’re there to do a job. (b) And second, all that job is not a commercial for you. There’s going to be a turn in the story that questions something that brings in the negative. Or, you know, this is a news story. It’s not a commercial. And you’ve got to be ready for that turn where they first talk about something that’s newsworthy and that you’re presenting, and then, “Oh, but what about this?” So you’ve got to be prepared for that turn in the story where they start talking about the negatives. 

And they’re always going to get something wrong. They’re going to misspell your name, they’re going to mispronounce it. If that’s the worst it is, that’s fine. Or, you’re going to think that they oversimplified. They’re making it understandable for a broad audience. So these are all things you have to be prepared for.

Prepare to manage your expectations

Kathy Fowler: The other thing is you gotta prepare. They may be talking to three experts, and you may end up with a, I mean, they may spend 15-20 minutes interviewing you, and you may end up with a seven-second sound bite, or you may be cut out of the story altogether. 

So you have to understand, like what we tell our clients is, until you see the “T”s and that you’re in the story, don’t even really believe it. Because there are so many times that stories, like I’ve been on stories, I’ve produced them, I’ve shot them, and then there’s a tornado that comes in, and everything’s dropped, and half the newscast goes to the weather coverage, and the story never airs. 

So until you know, you gotta realize expectations. Breaking news and certain news topics take, you know, take priority. And if you’re not part of that priority, you may get caught. 

And it’s okay if you end up in a piece and you have one sound bite, you can still use that one sound bite on your social media and build it up, that you were the expert and whatever. So you could still benefit from that one seven-second sound bite. So don’t think, “I’m not gonna do it unless I get all the questions and all the answers.” You can still utilize that seven-second sound bite to show that you are the expert that the media comes to. So just be prepared for that, and even if it is a smaller stage that you’re on, that’s okay.

An example of the power of media coverage

Marc Silverstein: Now that we’ve talked everybody out of it…

Kathy Fowler: I don’t think that we have. 

Marc Silverstein: No, we just told them what the concerns are. Any other concerns that we haven’t mentioned yet?

So let me just tell you this one story about the power, the power of the media. Now, I mean, we all know the good, the bad, the fake news – whatever you want to call it, the media is very controversial. We like it, we recommend it. 

As a reporter, you always saw the impact that you could have, but one day I was doing a story (I don’t remember what it was about) and I included an eight-second shot of this car in a showroom. I don’t remember why, but it was this purple car that was in the showroom. The photographer actually just sort of panned across it, and for some reason, I talked to the auto dealer the next day and he’s like, “You know that shot you had of that car? Somebody walked in and bought the car right off the showroom because they said, ‘I want that purple car I saw on the news.'” And then I asked for a commission, but I couldn’t get it because I was in the news.

Kathy Fowler: Because you were ethical.

Marc Silverstein: Things could turn that quickly – exposure in the news, good exposure, upbeat exposure, newsworthy exposure could be good for your business if it’s handled right and you prepare for it properly.

Prepare content and collateral to tell your story

Kathy Fowler: One last thing is just make sure you have all the little pieces of the puzzle. If a reporter is coming to do a story, think visuals, especially if it’s a TV reporter or even if it’s a newspaper reporter. A lot of times they have to do a visual component on their social media.

So think of pictures, any old video that you may have, anything that could tell the story, think of the visual elements, think of how you watch news on TV, and think of all the different things that they need and have it available for them. 

And if it’s a complicated topic and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I could get this wrong,” have very simple bullet points or FAQs like, “How is this treatment different from this X treatment?” Don’t be afraid – those kind of cheat sheets reporters really appreciate because they don’t want to get a story wrong. And if it’s a complicated topic and if there are things that you can show them – visuals or infographics or whatever – they appreciate those extra elements and they may use all of them. So think of what a reporter might need to tell the story or if you don’t know, ask the reporter, “Hey, what are some other things that I could get you that would help you tell this story?”

Marc Silverstein: To that point, don’t be limited by the type of outlet it is. Radio needs video for when they post online. They need photos. Print also needs video for social media. So, everybody’s using everything these days. Don’t just think just because they’re one type of outlet that they’re not going to need the type of things that Kathy’s talking about – pictures, video, anything else that they may be in need of that might be helpful to them. 

Props are always helpful. If you can hold something up and say, “This pen is changing my life,” you know, like the Wolf of Wall Street selling a pen, that’s helpful. Also, we talked about doing interviews on Zoom. If you’re sitting there and doing an interview on Zoom, you can have your notes in front of you, you can have your notes on the screen on a Word doc in front of you, just some bullet points of what you want to cover. There’s nothing wrong with having a cheat sheet. Nobody’s gonna know, just don’t, you know, get prompter face and read it. 

All good tips.

How to get more help with media coverage

Marc Silverstein: If you want some more, maybe they should contact someplace, Kathy, if they need some help.

Kathy Fowler: Yes. Go to You can contact both of us. You can find us on our social platforms. 

I think now you know everything that you need to know to get started, but if you need some help, we are here to help you. 

That’s That’s Marc with a “c”. Anything else? I think we covered it. I think we’re good. So, you can start the car, I paid the ransom. You get out of the car. The kidnappers have let you go. 

Kathy Fowler: I’m gonna run. I’m gonna run from the bears and the chainsaw-strapping scary people out here. 

Marc Silverstein: Alright,, Marc with a “c”. Off the Marc is a presentation of On the Marc Media. Contact us at On the Marc Media on Twitter and at if you want to send us an email. You can call us, you can send carrier pigeons. We are delighted to hear from you. Until next week, I’m Marc.

Kathy Fowler: I’m Kathy. 

Marc Silverstein: I got nothing else. That’s it. Do well on your media interview. Take care.

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