The media can be extremely influential in determining the success of your company. Media stories can help create brand awareness, publish information on new products, hires, and acquisitions, and create conversation around your expertise and contributions to your industry.
For most organisations, executives or senior staff are responsible for speaking with media. This can be a daunting prospect for the underprepared. Part of preparing for media engagement is knowing three critical elements in advance.
1. Know your story inside and out
Having a clear understanding of the narrative you’re presenting is essential when preparing for a media interview. It’s not enough to have a basic idea of what you’re promoting; you need to be prepared for what questions might be asked and how to answer them.
You may be meeting with a journalist to:
- demonstrate leadership in a crisis
- announce a new strategy or business direction
- launch a new product or solution
- advocate in times of scrutiny (e.g. government or regulatory)
- manage corporate transitions, including hires or redundancies, mergers and acquisitions, or expansion
- signal cultural shifts including changing direction or inclusivity.
Knowing the details of your story can help you to present a clear narrative to the journalist. For example, if you’re announcing your company is expanding into a new state or region, you should know not only the business drivers for expanding, but the supporting details, such as the number of new hires and location of the new premises. This helps give the journalist more to work with so they can tailor it to a wider audience.
2. Know your audience
It’s critical that you know the audience you’re trying to reach. This will help you tailor your responses to suit their interests. While you may only be speaking with one journalist from one publication, knowing the most suitable messaging to use to capture the attention of their potential readers is key. Understanding the publication’s audience can also help you answer questions in a way that will make it easier for the journalist to write about.
3. Know your angle
It’s important to understand the specific angle you’re taking with your narrative. Knowing how your story fits into the wider industry or news landscape can help you get to the ‘why’ of the story. Knowing the whys (and why nots) provides more context to your answers and keeps your messaging tight when under pressure from journalists.
The Recognition Group has helped hundreds of executives understand what journalists are looking for in a story and how to deliver key messages journalists will want to report on. We have honed our media training program over the past 35 years to help spokespeople learn the skills and confidence needed to handle media.
For more information on how you can best prepare your team for media, contact us today.
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