A recent column posted on the MarketingProfs website has some useful tips but there’s one or two I wouldn’t follow and here’s why…The column titled “There’s a Reporter on Line One: Four Foolproof Tips for Talking To Media” was penned by Cheryl McPhilimy.
One tip that is very insightful from Ms. McPhilimy says “Narrow the world and comment on what you know” and she goes on to write “be the expert on your own world.” Great insight and very integral to keeping your company and its mission at the forefront of the conversation.
But there is one tip she gives that I would disagree with and it’s tip #3 – “Stick your neck out. Make a prediction.” – and then she basically says that “no one is going to go back later and check to see if you were right.” STOP! As a journalist, I can tell you that we do go back and see if YOU WERE right, in fact, we tend to follow-up on those predictions and they might make for great fodder later. So while it’s fine to make a prediction, you need to try as much as you can to make certain it’s in line with what most likely will happen.
If it’s a prediction on your industry overall, then sure you can still make a prediction, but again come from a place of knowing what you’re saying. If you really don’t have a prediction, it is ok to say something like, “I don’t really focus on predictions, I focus more on what we’re doing right now within our company and industrywide I think we’re in good company and we feel confident about the future.”
And if you don’t have an opinion, it doesn’t mean you won’t get called again, or won’t still be utilized as an expert source by a journalist, in fact if you’re honest about not wanting to predict the future, you just might be making your way toward building an honest relationship with a journalist, who knows they can count on you to say what’s really true.