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Media Tip - Twelve media don'ts

Sometimes, it's important to know what you shouldn't do when working with journalists. Here's my list of twelve things to avoid:
  • Never thank a journalist for the content of an article or broadcast piece. They may think they were too soft on you, or were acting as your PR person. Instead, praise their professionalism.
  • Don't criticise their headline. They didn't write it, the sub-editor did.
  • Don't say 'No Comment". It sounds evasive, especially if they quote you.
  • Don't ask when the piece will appear. They probably don't know, and will have no control over it.
  • Don't ask to be notified when it appears. They are too busy.
  • Don't ask for editing rights. Trust them to do their job.
  • Don't complain if the piece isn't used, or your quote was omitted. It probably wasn't their decision.
  • Don't go "off the record". Just don't say it.
  • Don't be evasive. It will count against you.
  • Don't ramble. When you are at the end of an answer, stop.
  • Don't ever lose your temper.
  • Don't repeat your message in every answer. Maybe every other answer, though.
In short, act professionally and efficiently. Do your job well as an interviewee, and trust the professionalism of the reporter.
Tip Builder

Social Media Tip - Be who you are, everywhere

Are you always who you really are? I know, it's a silly question. Of course you are. But think again. Do you post in a different way on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter? Many people do, since the advice from "experts" is that you should treat different audiences in different ways. I'd tend to agree, if it wasn't for the fact that the people I know on LinkedIn are often the same people I know on Facebook and Twitter. OK, I can hear you muttering "Come on Alan, LinkedIn is for business networking. It's full of serious business people. Those guys don't want to know that I just enjoyed watching Love Island or that I finished 3,478th in the Great North Run".

I beg to differ. People do business with people they like. More often than not, the first few minutes of any business meeting are taken up with what is wrongly called "small talk". In fact, this apparently idle chat about holidays, shared friends and experiences is the social glue that holds society together. We do need to get down to the serious stuff, but not until we feel comfortable with the people we're getting serious with.

Provided you lead a fairly blameless life (you do, don't you?), then sharing your photos of family barbecues and tweets from rock concerts is not going to lose you any business. Quite the reverse, in fact. I used to find it was quite stressful to remember what sort of content I could post where. Can I put a blog about business strategy on Facebook? Can I mention a great film on LinkedIn? Is it OK to have a conversation about business in the public Twitter stream? In just about every case, I now think the answer is "yes". Sure, you wouldn't breach any confidences, or make personal remarks, but that's always been the case.

So here's an idea. Why not, just for a day or two, not worry about what content you post to what social network. Just be yourself. You may be surprised to see that the reaction is positive, and good for business too.

"This information was written by Alan Stevens, and originally appeared in "The MediaCoach", his free weekly ezine, available at www.mediacoach.co.uk."

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