In recognition of Clearpoint Agency’s 10 year anniversary, our content will be featuring posts all year long about the number 10. From “10 Social Marketing Tips You May Have Missed” to “10 Reasons to Blog,” we’ll brighten your appreciation for all things 10. Have a tenacious idea? Let us know!
1. Prepare ahead of time: this is the most important step so you can accommodate both the reporter’s and your own goals. Review background on the reporter and previous articles, understand the topic, and know the reporter’s audience. Then identify your objectives, and know the key messages you want to cover. Many times, your PR team can provide this information to you.
2. Be human and approachable: be energetic, smile (even on the phone), and display a confident, yet approachable attitude. And remember to be honest, and by that I mean, provide honest information, but be honestly yourself and don’t be afraid to show your personality.
3. Avoid clichés and overused concepts: in your answers, avoid clichés such as “burning issue” and “tip of the iceberg,” as well as over-used phrases such as “innovative solutions,” and “we have no competition.” Be original and creative. Skip the fluff and get to the truth of what you’re trying to say about your company, products or services.
4. Don’t go off the record: nothing is ever “off the record.” If you don’t want something printed, don’t say it. If a reporter finds something interesting, they will find a way to use it.
5. Be credible and relevant: during the interview, provide information that relates to the reporter’s audience and to your customer’s needs. Use statistics to support your statements when appropriate. In addition, quote an industry guru or third-party report to add credibility to your messages. To make the interview interesting, use simple analogies or comparisons that people will understand easily. For example, “The Internet is like electricity. Customers do not care how it works; they just want to be able to plug into it and use it.”
6. Make friends with brevity: make your points quickly and concisely. At Clearpoint Agency, we always recommend giving the short answer first, then filling in with additional detail if the journalist asks. Remember reporters are interested in the five Ws and one H—who, what, where, when, why and how. So answer accordingly, then go beyond those to address the reader’s question of “What does this mean to me?” Personal and customer experiences can illustrate your main points and help the audience relate to a real world example.
7. Use bridging: bridging is a conversation control method that allows you to move from one subject to another. It incorporates briefly answering a reporter’s question and then following that response with your specific messages that relate.
8. Use flagging: this conversation method is used to highlight your most important messages by calling out and emphasizing their importance. For example, say, “The three most important things to keep in mind are….”
9. Incorporate images: a picture is worth a thousand words. Whether it’s a company photo related to the topic, an appropriate chart or graph, or even a headshot of you, an image will make the content more interesting, so reporters may give you more space or better placement.
10. Rely on your best tool: remember, a good PR agency just might be your best tool to nail media interviews. We know the reporters, the audiences, your key messages, and the best ways to prepare, train and support you.
This post was contributed by Alexia Haynes, Clearpoint Agency Senior Account Executive and Bonnie Shaw, Clearpoint Agency President