What do you do if you are being interviewed on a complex subject and you've done your homework? You have narrowed down your messages to the top three. You have great sound bites for all of your messages points. But still, you have this nagging concern:
"What if this reporter screws up all the facts about my business?"
This is a legitimate concern. But if you spend all of your time trying to educating a reporter on every fact about what you do, you lose control of the interview and you increase the chances that you will be quoted on some point of minor interest to you. Or worse, you don't get quoted at all because the sound bites you prepared got lost in the sea of facts you were spewing forth.
What's the solution?
Providing simple fact sheets will do the trick. You don't need a long and complicate press release. All you need is a simple sheet of paper (or email) with bullet-pointed facts about your subject matter. This will ensure the reporter has all of the facts at his or her disposal. The chances of the story about you being more accurate increase. Plus, you now don't have to worry about using your valuable interview time focusing on large numbers of facts. Instead, you can focus on your main message and work on getting the quotes you want. The reporter can now work the facts from your fact sheet into the story without having to quote you directly.
Fact sheets are not appropriate in every situation; say a financial reporter is calling you for a quick reaction to a Fed rate increase. But on many occasions, such as a new product launch, an official political campaign announcement, or a crisis where you have advance warning, fact sheets can be a great tool for reporters and an asset for you. When preparing fact sheets, keep the following tips in mind:
. Don't use complete sentences
. Leave plenty of white space
. Double space
. Make font easy to read
. Provide most important facts first
. Keep it simple
. But provide as many interesting and relevant facts as possible
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