14 Dec Don’t try to control the media…or your wedding guests
Yesterday we attended a wedding that clearly stated “five o’clock” as the start time. But as we sat in the chapel with a handful of other folks and watched the minutes tick past, first 10 minutes, then 20 we wondered if the bride had cold feet? Later on I found out the wedding was always set to begin at 5:30, she just didn’t want anyone to be late. However a gaggle of guests who must have been in on the secret shuffled in at about 5:25. Meanwhile we had rushed to get there “on time”.
My point? You can’t try to control anyone without eventually pissing them off. Not at a wedding and certainly not in the media. Many people try to manipulate the information they provide a journalist or writer in order to get the result they think they need or want. Being selective with what you deliver during an interview is the easiest way to look, well, suspicious. And that’s when you better watch out, because a good journalist will start to pick at that very place you don’t want them to go. And before you know it, there’s a great big hole in your story. Not to mention an irritated reporter who probably feels as manipulated and cranky as I did at the wedding yesterday.
Here’s how you control the media and get them on your side. BE HONEST AND FORTHRIGHT. (Sure, there are a few pissy folks who will be nasty no matter what you do. Just stay away from them.) Recently a client of mine who has been absolutely pummeled by the press gave the most honest interview of his life. Nothing was off limits and believe me, there was quite a bit that even I might not have encouraged him to share. But guess what, the writer was bowled over by his honesty. I haven’t seen the story yet but I think it’s going to be pretty good.
Bottom line, don’t try to manipulate, control or filter your information. Sure, some news isn’t ready for release – that’s a different story and it stays off the table. But if you’re in an interview don’t try and coerce a journalist into writing the story you think you need and want.