Golf Course Management

DEC 2017

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

Issue link: http://gcmdigital.gcsaa.org/i/905653

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12.17 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 55 There are some important do's and don'ts to bear in mind when you are reaching out to the media. First, this is a marathon, not a sprint, so go slow to go fast. Do think of lots of individual steps along the way, and call, email and send interesting items as attention grab - bers. Do watch, listen to and read local news to find out what other facilities and businesses are successful with and what they "sell" as topics for stories (pest control operators and bed bugs, roofers and hail damage, car body shops and ice storms). Do time your pitch around oth - erwise known elements — pitch lawn renova- tion and overseeding before Earth Day, for ex- ample. Do ask fellow superintendents in other states what ideas have worked for them. Do research the background of the interviewer, as - signment editor or news director, and do seek to build a relationship if your pitch involves a less-than-catchy theme, such as mower safety. A couple of don'ts: Don't pitch the same idea to two or three different media outlets at the same time (they tend to want "exclu - sives"). Don't think you'll be viewed as an expert right away (it's just not a realistic ex - pectation). Above all, don't get discouraged — you'll probably take three steps forward and two steps back. The interview If you're fortunate enough to land an in - terview, performing well in it is what it's all about. The ideal way to start prepping is to create three message points and begin the in - terview with the most important one. Next, use one or two descriptive statements, and end by explaining what it means or why it mat - ters for the audience. For example, "Water can be conserved while growing a healthy and appealing lawn and landscape. You'll need to measure the output of water from sprinklers and check infiltration in various parts of the landscape, and lower water bills and less water used will be the result for all of us." Media interview do's and don'ts As with reaching out to members of the media or pitching a story, there are some essen- tial do's and don'ts for the actual interview. Some are self-explanatory, while others will become more evident as you have a few experiences to reflect upon. • Don't do the interview on the spot. Prepare beforehand. • Listen carefully to each question and pause before beginning your answer. • Say the most important thing first. Your interview may be cut short unexpectedly. • Maintain steady eye contact with the reporter. • Wear solid colors, with your logo on the shirt. • Sit up straight, smile, relax. • Be reliable. Be early to the interview. • KISS! (Not the rock group — "Keep it short, sweetheart.") • Use facts only. • Try to work in additional mentions of your facility. For example, "Aerification for good drainage and density — that's what we're doing at Castle Creek right now." • Have something extra to say or share. Reporters are trained to ask, "Is there anything else that we haven't covered?" • Don't say "no comment." It's a red flag that says "Hey, there's something more to this" to the reporter. • Don't interrupt the interviewer. • Don't use jargon. • Don't speculate. Instead, say, "I'm not an expert at that. Let me find out and get back to you." • Don't present information "off the record." You are never off the record. • Don't touch the microphone or table. It will sound like a freight train to the audience. • Don't use a lot of gestures. It's distracting. • Don't ask to edit the story or interview. It's insulting to the reporter. — J.F. Having researched the interviewer's back- ground, experience and possible agenda will pay off during the interview. A way to stack the deck in your favor is to ask for the questions in advance so you can prepare for the tougher ones. Better yet, supply the interviewer with suggested questions — it will mean less work for him or her, and will allow you to address your strengths. This technique leads to the next consid - eration: Do you control the interview, or do you allow yourself to be controlled? Some vet - eran media consultants, especially those in the political world, will hold that the airtime or the print space is simply an entity to be ex - ploited — that no matter what the question is, it's best simply to respond with a talking point regardless of whether it's pertinent. My recommendation has always been to do both — answer questions directly and also repeat message points. This approach accomplishes the dual goals of respecting and valuing the A golden opportunity: Invite a local TV station's meteorologist to broadcast the weather from your facility with an enticing view as the backdrop.

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