A colleague and I were recently pitching some media on interviews with a client, specifically a celebrity. We had a radio station interested in talking to our client and were working on dates and times for the interview. We told the host that we would have our client call them. The host responded that she would prefer to call the client.
Our client didn’t want the host to have his direct number or cell phone number so we indicated that it would be easier if our client called her. At this point, the host indicated that she didn’t have a call in number for my client to call and expressed how “silly” it seemed that the client wouldn’t just give her his cell phone.
When I heard this, the first thought that came to my mind was, “You think this is ridiculous, what about a radio station that doesn’t have a call in number?”
Over the course of my career there have been numerous instances where interview opportunities or other things related to PR have not played out according to plan. In these instances it’s a good practice to step back and be creative in terms of finding a solution to the problem.
In my experience there is always a way to overcome these types of issues. Listed below are five tips I’ve followed in my career to help resolve these types of minor issues.
- Explore other options: In this example, a phone interview wasn’t going to work. With the technology that exists today there are a number of other options including a SKYPE interview, an in person interview or waiting for a phone line to be installed at the radio station.
- Be creative: Just because the first option doesn’t work doesn’t mean the opportunity is dead. Think outside the box and if necessary take an unconventional approach to the problem. You might surprise yourself and come up with something better than what was initially planned.
- Don’t play the blame game: In this instance, it would have been easy for the radio host to complain about a celebrity being difficult or for my colleague and I to question the validity of a radio station that doesn’t have a phone line for interviews.Finger pointing doesn’t do anybody any good, it just complicates and frustrates the issue further.
- Try to understand the circumstances: In any interaction or relationship it’s important to try and understand where the other person is coming from. The old saying of “You don’t know what a person is going through until you’ve walked in their shoes,” is applicable here. In this instance, the radio station had just moved to a new studio and the phone line simply hadn’t been set up yet. From the celebrities’ perspective, they value their privacy and don’t want their phone number getting out to many people.
- Be open to compromise: In PR we want to help our client and get them interviews and coverage in the press. We need the media. The media also gains value from the work we do. PR professionals around the world help the media find interesting stories and become trusted sources of accurate and valuable news. There is never a reason to ruin a relationship over a setback like scheduling. There is always a compromise that can be made to accommodate and satisfy both parties’ interests.
In the end, we decided to wait on the interview until this celebrity was in town for an upcoming event. We agreed to have the celebrity come to the studio and do the interview live. It was a good resolution that all parties are happy with and that will get all parties involved what they want in the end.