One of the most important elements of the news release is the media contact, and I can honestly say that one of the most frequent questions I get from clients is “Who should be our media contact?” That can be a hard question to answer if there is no dedicated “marketing” or “public relations” person at your company. In a small business, employees often wear multiple hats, and deciding on who should wear the “media relations” hat can be challenging.
When choosing the media contact, it’s important to pick someone who can be flexible and work well under pressure. It’s not uncommon for a reporter to be under a tight deadline and need questions answered quickly. The ability of the media contact to quickly and clearly answer questions that the reporter has, or to be able to get in touch with the people who can, may be the difference between having a story run about your company or not.
Secondly, a media contact should be extremely familiar with the core messages that the company wants to impart to the public. Central to every business is the message it wants to outwardly communicate. Make sure the person selected as the media contact is extremely familiar with this message and can translate it to all aspects of your company.
Finally, be sure to pick someone who is comfortable speaking on behalf of the company. There may be times when a reporter calls with questions and does not necessarily ask for an interview with an executive. It is possible that the answers your media contact delivers will become a quote in a story, so be sure that the media contact is a good representative of your company.
After all is said and done, it is vital that you ALWAYS include a media contact on your press releases with up-to-date contact information, such as e-mail and phone number, so that the media can pursue a story further should they like your press release. Also, it gives a person in your company a chance to build a relationship with reporters, which will help your company to gain more media access in the future.