By Kath Walters

Fast-growth companies often attract media coverage whether or not they want it.

The phone starts ringing when a company attracts venture capital, wins a blue-chip client, or ranks on one of the several “Fast” lists (BRW, Deloitte, SmartCompany).

This is both a priceless opportunity, and a massive risk.

Here’s the bad news:

There’s a tipping point for most journalists in any interview. It’s this: if the person being interviewed says something that will make a great story – even if it is disasterous PR for our interview subject – we are forced to make a call: will I trash and burn my contact for the sake of this story? Or, will I lose this story for the sake of my contact?

Does that sound heartless? Only if you are NOT a journalist. In our minds, we are hearing the cat-calls of our mates if we don’t pursue a lead and let a great story get away.

Here’s the good news: if you are crystal clear about why you are talking to a journalist in the first place, you can transform the risks into an opportunity. Great media coverage can further accelerate your company’s growth.

Three fail-safe tactics for stopping media coverage going pear-shaped:

·       Inform: Have a clear message that delivers value for readers in every interview. This doesn’t have to be rocket science; it could be as simple as this: reveal a neat cost-saving trick; discuss a proven growth strategy; show how to avoid a common mistake.

·       Enliven: Add anecdotes, examples, light, shade and colour to your interview. Just a short, simple, dramatic story: a client that was saved from going belly up, a company that grew superfast.

·       Connect: It’s hard to burn a contact who you like, even if you are a journalist. We are suckers for someone who appreciates a recent story we wrote, for example, or who asks about what interests us most. By the way, don’t ask what story are you working on? As if I am going to tell you!