One of my clients just shared his experience of being bumped by a big media for a TV interview.
This does happen people some of the time. The question is ‘what do you do when it happens to you?’
You can strategize and come up with actions and ideas to best position yourself when it happens if you stand in their shoes and seek to understand what happened to them when they made the decision.
Media are businesses that are best viewed as publishers (in the case of print) or producers (in the case of radio, TV or some other electronic medium) who make their living from two income sources:
1. Paying subscribers
2. Paying advertisers (the number of whom is dependent upon the number of paying subscribers).
Media decisions are almost always made in favor of one proposal for media coverage over another because of the perceived value of the news, entertainment, or education offered and the direct impact it has on these two income sources.
Media evaluate these story by story, day by day, for each income producing media coverage opportunity that they have to offer. There are three key questions they ask:
1. How many people in my audience will be interested in this?
2. What is the value of the information to my audience? and
3. How much time and efforts (or people and money), will I need to invest to create this story?
The pass-fail answers have to be:
1. A lot of people 2. A lot of value and 3. Very little cost
So when something out competes you, you can at least you can empathize (or sympathize) with the media as a fellow publisher!
So the key thing to do is try to be understanding and professional when you follow up and speak to them.
Now this next step is the crucial one.
Never let conversation die. Don’t think that ‘not now’ means ‘not ever’.
The key action is to make another proposal for media coverage. Ask them:
– Can we re-schedule?
– What is the date and time for the interview?
If the planned coverage is based on a current event or issue and the timing or opportunity passes by, then look ahead and create another proposal.
– If we can’t do this show, then how about we do this one instead?
– Can I send you more information and another proposal?
– Would you like to see some Q and A’s on this topic?
Never let the conversation stop. Once you have opened the door to a relationship as a professional guest, entertainer or contributor always offer to send them some additional ideas or information.
In fact, it is a good policy to never let a media person (or in fact any book sale prospect), get away without you making another proposal to send them something more, so you can keep them mentally engaged with you, and ensure they are taking steps towards doing something to help you promote or sell your products or services.
Just remember that these are very important people who hold the key to placing your message and magic words in front of thousands, even millions of people. Think about what they do for a living and give them ideas and answers to help them do their job.
Of course, “the magic words” have to be there. Your media pitch, whether it is in a phone call, a personal email or in a news release, has to offer the media content and value. Your proposal has to turn them and their audience.
That is how you can turn a cancellation, or even a no, into a new interview or feature story opportunity.