We recently had a very large television network reach out to tell us that they wanted to feature one of our clients in an episode on one of their most popular shows. We were so excited, but we were a little premature in our rejoicing: After reviewing the contract, we realized that this appearance would do more harm than good for our client's reputation.
Sometimes in our eagerness to be seen, we forget about the reputation management part of public relations.
Here are four things to keep in mind when trying to determine whether a press opportunity is worth it.
Ask the question, "Who else are you interviewing for this feature?" This helps you to have some context for how they're outlining the story and what the narrative will be. It also helps you to see if you want to associate yourself with the others who will be quotes next to you. The same thing can be applied if you've been asked to participate in a panel of some sort. Take a look at who else is on the guest list, and ask yourself if the partnerships are positive, negative or neutral and plan accordingly.
Review the outlet's previous features. Are they typically positive? Controversial? It's important to consider the reputation of the outlet itself. Are there any problematic affiliations? If they're partnering with brands and organizations that are not in line with what you believe, you might be setting yourself up to have your integrity questioned later.
Another thing to keep in mind is the audience that reads the outlet. Does it align with yours? The whole goal of visibility is to increase awareness among those who are most likely to be a g good fit as clients, and customers.
Consider the subject they want you to speak on. So while you might have a range of things that you can speak to, if they're asking you to speak to something that's outside of your expertise, would not be a good idea. The whole goal of press is to bring more attention and credibility to what it is you do and who it is you serve.
BONUS TIP: If you are not prepared, don't do it. If you haven't been trained to give responses in a way that don't lend themselves to being edited inappropriately, or if you're not prepared to present confidently, or if you're not quite sure how to handle tough questions, then --unless you're going to take the time to get prepared—we suggest that you pass on the opportunity.
Remember: Not all press is good press. The right press is good press.
If you're want an on-call publicist that can help you navigate tricky moments like this one, visit us at tellpublicrelations.com/membersonly.