When to say ‘no’ to the press

From unscrupulous reporters to unintended associations, there are plenty of things you’re better off avoiding. Watch for these red flags.

Many people believe that you should take advantage of every media interview you’re offered. They say that if there’s a chance to get your name out there, you do it.

I disagree.

Not every media interview opportunity is worth accepting. I believe it’s best to be selective and to weigh the pros and cons of each opportunity before saying yes.

Here are some situations in which I’d advise turning down a media interview opportunity:

When the interview is off topic. If your company and your message have nothing in common with the topic being discussed, it really makes no sense for you to do the interview. Just getting your name out there doesn’t make you an expert. What makes you look like an expert is having your name attached to the same message time and time again.

When the media outlet is tied to things your organization doesn’t support. There are certain things you don’t want your company to be tied to. For instance, you probably want to stay out of politics altogether, so if a blogger from an extremist political site comes to you requesting an interview, even if it’s about a relevant topic, you’d probably want to steer clear of this so that your company isn’t seen as supporting a particular political agenda.

When there’s the possibility of a bad association. Let’s say you run an airline and another competing airline just had a major crash that caused a bunch of people to die. It may not be a good idea for you to comment on the incident, because it could inadvertently cause your company to be linked to the accident in the eyes of the public, and the eyes of all your potential customers.

When a reporter has a history of shady behavior. The vast majority of reporters do great work, but let’s be honest, there are some out there who have a history of ambushing interview subjects, lying to them, or even misquoting them. In these situations, you should play it safe and politely decline interview requests from such reporters.

A version of this article first appeared on PR Fuel.

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Topics: PR


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