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5 Myths about Working with the Media: Busted!

If you’re looking to build relationships with local and national media so they will call on you when they need a quote or subject matter expert on their financial planning story, here are some things to keep in mind.

This tips were shared by Ben Lewis, FPA’s public relations director, during the FPA Chapter Leaders Conference in Broomfield, Colo.

Myth 1: You need to have expertise working with the media in order to be a sought after source/expert.
Not true, says Lewis. Reporters are constantly looking for new sources, new experts and new points of view.

Myth 2: You need to be on guard at all times during an interview.
“It’s not an interview,” says Lewis. “It’s a conversation.” He suggests that planners approach every interview with a journalist as though it is a conversation with a client. Speak with confidence about what you know. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know,” if in fact you don’t know the answer to a journalist’s question.

Myth 3: If you are interviewed, you will be quoted in the story.
A journalist may interview you for 10 minutes or an hour, but that doesn’t mean your quotes are guaranteed to make it into the published piece. The journalist may use your interview as background, but that doesn’t mean they don’t value you as a resource.

Myth 4: Journalists are malicious and will use what you say against you.
Simply put, no journalist is out to get you. But it’s important that you prepare for the interview, by doing proper research to have solid, confident points to make. Before the actual interview, inquire about the angle of the story and know what you want to say.

Myth 5: Being a smart professional is enough to work with the media.
No matter how smart you are, if you deliver your answers to the journalist’s questions like a lead balloon, it will go over like a lead balloon, says Lewis. Your nonverbal communication is key. “It has to come from your heart as much as it comes from your head,” he says.

A few more “speaking to journalists” tips from Lewis:

  • Remember that you are never just representing yourself. You are representing your business, your FPA chapter, and your profession.
  • Always tell the truth.
  • Always have something to say.
  • At the end of the interview ask, “Did I answer all your questions?”
  • Don’t ask to see a copy of the story beforehand.
  • Always thank the interviewer.

Schulaka Carly_resizedCarly Schulaka
Journal of Financial Planning
Denver, CO