Category Archives: Press Releases and Media Relations

Media Interview Blunders to Avoid

Media Interview Blunders to Avoid from a PR Expert

Your social media and PR activity has reached the media: you’ve been contacted by a journalist for an interview.  You know your topic and your message, now you need to prepare for the interview and present yourself as

• professional
• knowledgeable
• memorable

Digital media has added many opportunities to be interviewed and deliver your message to your target audience. Both interview pros and newcomers can easily be tripped-up by the interview process.  Media and PR expert Kathryn Bechthold has personally given hundreds of media interviews, and trains her clients to avoid making common media interview mistakes.

3 Common Media Interview Blunders

1. Don’t use industry jargon

You are being interviewed to talk about a specific topic because your interviewer has researched for an expert on a specific topic, or because you have been pitching your story to the media to get coverage for your new project.  You need to create a key message for this interview.

A key message is the most important thing you want your audience to remember after the interview.

Your key message should be clearly understood and not use industry jargon.  Your job is to prepare for the interview by creating your key message in advance, and practice delivering before the actual interview.

2.  Never go off the record

If you choose to proceed with an off-the-record interview anyway, you should keep the following four tips in mind:

1. Consult with a communications professional – either in your own company, organization, or agency – or with an external firm, preferably one with crisis communications capabilities. You may be unaware of the landmines that exist in your specific case.

2. Consider your relationship with the reporter. Journalists you know well and who have treated you fairly for several years are generally safer risks than reporters you are working with for the first time.

3. Ask the reporter to define exactly what off-the-record means to him or her, preferably in writing.

4. Make any agreements with a reporter in advance of the interview. You can’t say something interesting and then suddenly declare it off the record.

Regardless of any agreement you make, you may still be identified by name as the source. Therefore, the most prudent advice is to remain on-the-record at all times. Even if your name isn’t used, the words a reporter uses to describe your position may make your identity perfectly clear. Unless you’re fully prepared to take that risk, don’t ever speak off-the-record.

3. Always let the interviewer finish their question

In your eagerness to deliver your message to your audience, be careful not to cut the interviewer off before they complete their question. You may be anticipating the wrong question – and give the wrong answer; and you may offend the interviewer and make them hostile to your message. Always listen carefully to the media’s question before you deliver your response.

media interview tips and advice - free ebookTIP: Congratulations: your pitch worked, and you have an interview with a journalist – now what? Download our free ebook: Media Appearance Preparation and Tip Guide filled with PR pro Kathryn Bechthold’s expert advice for media interviews.


Kathryn Bechthold #PurveyorOfPRContact Kathryn Bechthold today to schedule media training:

For More Information on Media Relations
Alchemy Communications: How to Pitch Media Using Twitter 3 Media Training Mistakes to Avoid

author: KKathryn Bechthold CEO Alchemy Communicationsathryn Bechthold, Communications expert in Calgary, AB. Owner/CEO of Alchemy Communications Inc.


How to Pitch Media Using Twitter

How to Pitch Media Using Twitter

thousands of journalists use Twitter every day to post breaking news stories, comment and share news items, ask for sources for their articles, praise colleagues’ work, or have conversations with each other

~ SHIFT Communications

PR professionals build their business on developing a strong relationship with the media. With our never-ending reliance on social media to find breaking news stories, the media relies on social media to track down trending news. Whether you’re a public relations expert or small business owner or an author trying to promote your book: journalists are on Twitter, and they’re constantly looking for new and interesting stories, products and people. There are some basic rules you should follow if you’re going to use Twitter to pitch the media.

Dos and Don’ts to Pitch the Media on Twitter:
10 Tips from PR and Social Media Pros

1. Look professional before you start trying to make professional connections. ~ SHIFT Communications

2. Find the actual journalist, rather than the publication. ~ Ragan PR

3. Make sure it’s news. ~ PR Daily

4. Don’t ask a journalist you’re not following to DM you. ~ Mashable

5. Don’t abuse the word “EXCLUSIVE”. ~ PRNewser

6. It helps if the client you are pitching is on Twitter, too. ~ SPIN SUCKS

7. Understand their interests. ~ ADWeek

8. Start by explaining what’s in it for the journalist or blogger. ~ Cision

9. Personalization is key. ~ Command Partners

10. Don’t pitch on Twitter – build relationships. ~ Crenshaw Communications

media interview tips and advice - free ebook

TIP: Congratulations: your pitch worked, and you have an interview with a journalist – now what? Download our free ebook: Media Appearance Preparation and Tip Guide filled with PR pro Kathryn Bechthold’s expert advice for media interviews.




For More Information on How to Pitch Journalists on Social Media
Chicago Tribune: Don’t Strike Out With Your Social Media Pitch
Social Media Today: 6 Ways to Pitch Journalists on Social Media

author: KKathryn Bechthold CEO Alchemy Communicationsathryn Bechthold, Communications expert in Calgary, AB. Owner/CEO of Alchemy Communications Inc.

Press Releases: the Dos and Don’ts

Over the course of the day, journalists receive countless press releases in their inbox, many of which are left unopened or unnoticed. It’s important to make your release stand out from the rest. It should be interesting, easy to follow, factual and packed with usable content and resources that will help the journalist create a newsworthy story.

Here is an infographic that outlines some of the major dos and don’ts of press releases.

PR-dosanddonts_infographic-2  Infographic source

For tips on media relations

3 Tips on Building Relationships with Journalists

Social media key with two speech bubble

Relationship building is an invaluable skill. If you have strong relationships with the right people in your industry, you’ll have no problem boosting your business. When it comes to the world of media, developing relationships with journalists is key.

Here are three tips to help you connect authentically:

  1. Read a journalist’s work

If you think that sending a generic pitch to every media outlet in the city is going to get you tons of traction every time, you are sadly mistaken. The first step in showing a journalist that you are interested in more than just getting your story out there, is reading their work. Once you have an understanding of what kind of stories the journalist covers, send a personalized email and demonstrate why you are sending your story to them. If you can make a connection between their past work and your pitch, you are more likely to get the coverage you desire.

  1. Start a conversation on Twitter

Most journalists enjoy interacting with their fans online. Again, you want to show journalists that you have an invested interest in the work they do. A simple retweet, favorite, or reply can help you get on the journalist’s radar. If you find that your relationship begins to develop through Twitter, don’t be afraid to try an innovative approach by direct messaging your pitch.

  1. Know that journalists are human

Journalists are walking, talking, breathing, thinking individuals and we have to treat them like we would any other person in our life. If you’re looking to build a relationship, go sip some cocktails after work, or squeeze in a coffee date. Talk about anything, other than business. It’s okay to crack a joke and show some personality from time to time. Knowing when to take off your professional hat will allow genuine relationships to develop effortlessly.

For more Relationship Building Tips

Free Download Media Appearance and Trainging Guide by Kathyrn Bechthold

Media Tour: A PR Pro’s Tips for Your Next Media Interview (Free eBook)

Media relations training is a vital component of your successful business strategy. CFree Download Media Appearance and Trainging Guide by Kathyrn BechtholdEO of Alchemy Communications Kathryn Bechthold doesn’t just give her clients basic media tips: as the author of The Entrepreneurial Mom’s Guide to Running Your Own Business, the PR pros at Alchemy PR designed Kathryn’s media tour of over 300 appearances and interviews.

3 tips for your next media interview:

  1. Never Go Off the Record: anything you say to a reporter is subject to being repeated. If you don’t want it repeated, don’t say it.
  2. Skype or Hangout: prop your webcam at eye level so the camera is looking directly at you, not up at you.
  3. Speak in Soundbites: practice delivering your message in short, quotable sentences.

Download Alchemy PR's free ebook: Media Appearance Preparation and Training Guide

Congratulations! You’ve been hard at work using social media, blogging, and talking to just about anyone who will listen to promote your new product, a first book, or a business launch.

And finally your hard work has paid off: you’ve been contacted by a journalist or producer, or a writer or blogger, and asked to appear as a guest for an interview.

You know your topic and your message: now your job is to prepare for the interview so you present yourself as

• professional
• knowledgeable
• memorable

Media Appearance Preparation and Tip Guide coverMedia Appearance Preparation and Training Guide

Building media relationships with social media

Building Media Relations in the DIY World of Social Media

Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell. – See more at:

Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.

~ Seth Godin

An expertise in media relations and a reputation as a trusted media resource are even more critical in this new age of DIY social media. Yes, some personalities, brands and influencers can attract the attention of the media with every tweet, update or photo they share: think Kardashians or LeBron James.

But the truth is for most businesses and nonprofits, their social media posts can be easily lost in the overwhelming 24/7/365 speed of social media chatter. This infographic from Skyrocket Group tells the story:

social media generated every minute

Developing a relationship with local media can help your business stand out from the crowd. Social media is a public relations tool to spread the word about your business and attract the attention of the media: if its used strategically.

Here are 5 PR rules for using social media to build a relationship with the media:

1. Be authentic

Being authentic means being real: sincere and true to who you are. Don’t try and “talk sports” if you’re not a fan: instead, say, “am I the only one who doesn’t understand rugby?” Your audience can spot a fake: so your tone should be real and authentic, not someone else’s voice.

2. Talk in real time

Scheduling social media posts is efficient and time-saving. But if your small business is tweeting out pre-scheduled posts about your newest product in the middle of a local disaster, at best the public will think you’re cold and uncaring, at worst they’ll think you’re just clueless. Using tools to schedule social media is good: but remember when to turn the tools off. Talk to your audience in real time: social is savvy.

3. Be honest

If you say it on social media, there are potentially literally millions of people who could be watching, ready to proclaim to the world that you aren’t telling the truth. Don’t take the chance: be honest in what you say on social, and remember your audience is listening!


The old rule still holds for social media: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Just because you can post 140 characters on Twitter doesn’t mean you should. In fact, statistics prove the most read Twitter posts have 100 characters, according to Buddy Media.

Even better: don’t say it, when possible show it with images.

5. Have something to say

All of your social media posts do not have to be important, vital business issues. But social media posts you target toward the media should have an important message: an event, idea or action that is different from your day-to-day business operations.

Your social media strategy is critical to building a strong relationship with the media. Just like everyone else, the media will check you out who your are on social: your voice, your content and your authenticity. The key to using social media to develop a strong relationship with the media is understanding what to say and when and how to say it. It’s that simple, and that important.

For More on Social Media and Media Relations
HubSpot: How to Leverage Social Media for Public Relations Success
Forbes: Winning Social Media Strategies For Public Relations

Portfolio Spotlight: Becoming Sand by LG Pomerleau

portfolio: book tour Becoming Sand LB PomerleauAlchemy Communications conceived the Becoming Sand media tour: Calgary author Lise Guyanne Pomerleau, M.Ed just completed a 2 month PR and book tour promoting her book across Canada. Coverage including

  • national radio and print
  • local and national TV interviews
  • personal appearances and book signings

featured educator Pomerleau’s Canadian roots in researching and writing her 1st novel.

Historical novel Becoming Sand unveils the compelling and challenging stories of a family’s generations of women who settled across Canada from the 1600s through the 1960s. Deceit, abuse, and despair grip these women in their fight to assimilate and prosper as each generation tries to hold onto their family heritage. 

Becoming Sand is available at:, Kindle, Kobo, Chapters (Southland Crossing and Chinook Centre), Owl’s Nest, Pages, and Audrey’s Books.

Lise is available for interviews and book signings. To book her, please contact Kathryn Bechthold.