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Would you ask a reporter this key question BEFORE an interview?

01 Jun, 2020 Media relations

This article was originally published in 2015 and has been completely updated in 2020.

New York blogger and web marketing consultant, BL Ochman, said she has finally learnt the magic question to ask a reporter when pitching a story angle. In one of her blogs, Ochman said it is fine for the story angle to be featured in the media and for the reporter to be interested your potential as a future source of news. But first you need to ask the magic question:

“Will you include the name of my company (and a link to it) in your article?”

(It must be said that this is certainly an ‘in-your-face’ question. Many people would not feel comfortable asking this question to a reporter from a major news outlet. It is more suitable to a news website or industry publication.)

Ochman had been interviewed for an article in an e-magazine in which neither her consultancy nor her project were named, and nor was there a link to her blog or consultancy. As a result, the pitch was completely wasted. Although her name was used in the story, it would have meant little to readers.

With some trepidation she emailed the reporter, who immediately apologized and added the link.

With online media, additions like this can be made after the event, and so she had saved the day.

The experience was a seminal event for her.

The magic question is indeed worth asking in all media relations activity. If you don’t feel comfortable asking the direct question, you can use your communication acumen to think of ways to ask it more tactfully.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash.

About the author Kim Harrison

Kim Harrison loves sharing actionable ideas and information about professional communication and business management. He has wide experience as a corporate affairs manager, consultant, author, lecturer, and CEO of a non-profit organization. Kim is a Fellow and former national board member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, and he ran his State’s professional development program for 7 years, helping many practitioners to strengthen their communication skills. People from 115 countries benefit from the practical knowledge shared in his monthly newsletter and in the eBooks available from cuttingedgepr.com.

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