In an increasingly fast-paced 24/7 world, receiving requests from foreign media should no longer be a surprise, even though outreach to foreign press may not be part of law firm public relations plans.
Journalists from foreign media require certain cultural sensitivities since interactions with them are different than those with domestic journalists. Michael Morley, who has penned a “Foreign Media Relations Guide” for Business for Diplomatic Action suggests the following:
1. Remember the time difference.
Yes, those pesky time zones can be a headache when the European publications are closing 5-6 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.
Golden rule: Take a proactive step and be familiar with the time zones. It’s pretty standard that everyone knows the time difference between Britain and US. Make sure you aware of times zones in India and China.
2. Be alert to language and cultural nuances.
Avoid slang and local jargon like “full-court press” or “runaway best-seller,” or “blow them out of the water.” It’s best to keep the language simple, clear and concise.
3. Pictures speak louder than words.
Photos tell a story and, oftentimes, they are more compelling than words, especially when communicating with a journalist for whom English is a second language. The cardinal rule here it to make everything as easy as possible for the reporter.
4. Get to know key media.
Just as PR professionals use media contacts as “currency” in the field, so, too, should they familiarize themselves with foreign reporters, bureau editors and correspondents. With foreign journalists, just like domestic ones, it’s all about the relationship. And the more journalists – foreign and domestic – whom the law firm gets to know, the more value that will bring to the table.
Finally on a personal note, I’ve always found that just knowing how to say hello in the reporter’s language makes a big difference in breaking the ice.