By Michael A. Monahan, president & CEO, Moxē Integrated Marketing
Former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was once quoted as saying, “Does anyone have any questions for my answers?
”That is the sign of a well-prepared executive.
Knowing the message he wanted to convey and being prepared to share anecdotes and evidence to support that message,(along with an ability to articulate them in a clear and engaging way), should be the goal of any media relations prep session.
Start With the Headline
Envision the headline you want to see. Is it about the person, the business, or a specific initiative on which you want to focus the reporter’s attention? Every word that comes out of your executive or marketing spokesperson’s mouth should support the headline you are trying to achieve.
Develop Three-to-Five Key Messages
These are the pillars on which you want to build your interview strategy. If the conversation with a reporter ended suddenly, what are the three things you’d want that reporter to remember about the chat? Be focused on those pillars and be prepared to pivot from questions that don’t align with the core message to answers that do.
Be Able to Articulate Supporting Points with Facts, Data, Anecdotes, or Visual Metaphors
It’s not enough to say that “we’re the best at XYZ.” Your executive or spokesperson will need to be able to communicate “why” you’re the best at XYZ. Do you have the most employees or the largest revenues in your category? Do you have the best people? How do you train them to serve your customers? Are you utilizing the latest technology?
It’s even better if you can weave compelling stats into a story about how you helped your customer achieved success. Think about times when:
- Your people went above and beyond to solve a problem;
- Your product or service helped cut costs or increase revenues;
- You succeeded where your competition failed.
Finally, visual metaphors can be a compelling way to drive your message home. For example, rather than saying your business serves a million households, say that your customer base is the equivalent of serving every home in the greater Houston area. If you’re known for giving to a particular cause, be ready to say that your contributions over the past year to the local food bank would be sufficient to feed 2,500 local families for a year. If you’re a roofing company, how many times around the earth would your roofing shingles or tiles reach? End Where You BeganBe sure to close your interview strong. End with something like, “It’s really important that your audience understands…” and repeat your core headline message and how your key messages support that.
If you’re still nervous about that upcoming interview, engage with an experienced media relations professional, particularly if they have deep experience in your field, whether it’s architecture, engineering, design, building, construction, contracting or other related services. Their experience will help ensure your spokesperson is fully prepared and confident in their ability to articulate well-prepared answers to any questions that may come up.