(By Jaclyn Reardon, Assistant Account Executive)
Having your executives seen as expert sources in the media’s eyes should be an integral part of your communications plan, as it helps to strengthen media relationships and helps pave the way for future coverage and interviews.
Even when your experts aren’t talking about the company or product, it’s important to build a reputation as a knowledgeable source on industry trends and issues.
Here are some things you and your spokespeople should keep in mind when talking to the media:
- Background Check – You want your spokesperson to know everything they can about the reporter they’ll be talking to, in advance. What is their writing style? Their background? Do they typically cover companies like yours? This information will help you be more prepared going into the interview and also ensure you’re giving the reporter exactly what they need.
- Why You? – If you or one of your spokespeople is uniquely qualified to speak on a certain topic or trend, be sure to emphasize that fact when talking to reporters. Not in a sales-y way, but rather weave-in expertise and distinct qualifications when you talk about what your spokespeople know and how they know it.
- Offer New Angles – Often when talking to a reporter, you might recognize another angle to the story that might help the reporter. Even if the angle doesn’t directly pertain to you or your product, be sure to suggest other avenues for journalists to investigate. They’re always looking for ways to round out their stories and will appreciate the ideas.
- Build Reliability – Reporters work on tight deadlines and when they need something, they need it yesterday. If a reporter reaches out to you, try to respond promptly and have succinct, approved key messages and facts ready. Your communications team can help by preparing messages surrounding potential topics and trends in advance and always keeping them on file.
- Add Some Spark – Think of interesting ways you can get key points across so they come out as memorable soundbites. Use an impressive or alarming statistic or find ways to use humorous examples or real-live stories to tie in to today’s trends and issues. Reporters are used to typical canned quotes. If you can give them something memorable and engaging, you’ll move to the top of their go-to list.
- Bring Energy! – Try and crank up your enthusiasm about 25 percent during an interview. Reporters are trained to be critical and if you don’t treat your topic as if it is important or exciting, how can you expect the reporter to?
For some additional tips, check out our past E-newsletter: Why Media Training is a Must! and tipsheet: Whether by Phone, Radio or TV: 7 Media Interview Tips for Any Medium.
Do you have more ideas on how to maximize a company’s interview opportunities?