Tag Archives: spokespeople

Are your media spokespeople doing this? Question 5

Are they following up after an interview with an email to the journalist?

If they are then well done them – they’re doing better than almost anyone I’ve ever interviewed. The handful or so who have done this over the years are the ones who I’ve gone on to form good, long-term relationships with. I’ve had a good source of information and opinion, and they’ve got a lot of good coverage.

So, why does it happen so infrequently? I’m just suggesting something like: “Good talking to you just now. Hope you found what I had to say interesting (by the way, I’d welcome any feedback you have on how I came across..) – I look forward to seeing the finished article and to working with you on similar pieces in the future.”

How long would it take to fire that over to a journalist after an interview? What impact could it have on the coverage they got in that piece and the future relationship they built?

The thing is that it just doesn’t occur to most spokespeople, and usually that’s because they’ve not had media training, or the media training they have had hasn’t covered this. Why don’t you help them get more out of the interviews they do – why don’t you book them in for some media training?

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Are your media spokespeople doing this? Question 4

Do they signpost key messages?

This is something that very, very few people do successfully. Even fairly accomplished spokespeople – the people who are clear on their marketing messages, who cleverly find a way of weaving those into answers that are genuinely useful to the journalist, and who approach media interviews calmly and capably – even they very often find that their key messages don’t make it through into the finished article.

It can be incredibly frustrating for them.

Signposting is a great way of making sure the interviewer understands your key messages, notes them down, and then uses them in his or her copy. It’s a difficult technique to master – do it too obviously and it can be counter-productive – but I’ve worked with spokespeople practising it in roleplays, and helping them to start using it to very good effect.

Listen in to the next media interview your spokespeople do – are they signposting their key messages as well as they could be?

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Are your media spokespeople doing this? Question 3

Do they approach interviews confidently? Do they even look forward to them?

Too many people dread media interviews. They think they’re going to get caught out by a Paxman-style shark of a journalist, and end up saying something that will jeopardise their careers.Who wouldn’t be worried about something like that?!

Of course with proper training they’ll be clear about the messages they want to convey, they’ll know how to link those into answers they give journalists, they’ll know how to convey those messages clearly, succintly and directly, they’ll know how to deal with awkward questions. And most of all they’ll look forward to media interviews as an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of their specialist subject, to promote their business, and to have an in-depth discussion about their industry with someone who’s genuinely interested in what they have to say.

Who wouldn’t look forward to something like that?

So, if you have to search high and low for someone to speak to the media, if you have to persuade your spokespeople to make time for these interviews, if you get the feeling they dread the experience, why not do them – and yourself – a favour and book them in for half a day’s media training?

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Are your media spokespeople doing this? Question 1

Are your media spokespeople preparing properly for interviews?

This isn’t just putting the interview in their diary and having some idea of the journalist’s name. It’s finding out a bit about the journalist so they can try to gain some rapport. It’s thinking beforehand about the questions they’ll be asked. It’s being crystal clear about the key messages their company is trying to push through the media. And it’s doing the really tricky part of working out how they can give the journalist something he or she wants while also conveying those marketing messages.

Far too many senior executives think they can just pitch up to a media interview and wing it. They very rarely can.It usually just means they miss a good opportunity to promote their business.

So, if yours aren’t preparing properly then try suggesting to them that they should. If they want to know what sort of preparation to do then take them through the list above. If they’re not sure how to go about doing all that,or they need a bit of practice to get confident at it, then suggest they get some media training.

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