Imagine it’s a Monday morning and you’re strolling into the office with your coffee, ready to ease into the week. You’re greeted by a frantic employee, or perhaps your eager public relations representative, informing you that a local television station wants to profile your company in a news story and they want to do it in the next hour or two.
At this point you, or your public relations team, would need to decide if the opportunity is going to be worth the time and energy. More often than not, we would encourage you to take advantage of the request, either for the free publicity for your company, or to counter any negative associations the coverage might possibly generate.
This isn’t an uncommon scenario. Reporters often reach out to our agency asking if we have an expert, a doctor or business person, to profile or speak on a certain topic.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how many of these opportunities we have to turn down because a client is slow to respond or doesn’t have someone prepared to be interviewed. You might expect many government agencies/organizations and established businesses would already have spokespeople identified, or at least a good idea of who could pull this off if asked, but that’s not always the case. And so, in the mad scramble to find someone they miss out. Keep in mind, the media is on a deadline and likely can’t wait while you decide on who could do the interview.
If you have a company or an organization that has a noticeable public profile, or hopes of being profiled by the media, we suggest you plan for the opportunity.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you decide who would can fill this role at your company or organization:
- Don’t force it on someone who doesn’t want to do it.
If someone says the idea of talking to a reporter makes them nervous, don’t make them do it. It’s better to turn down an interview than put someone in front of a camera or microphone that is going to freeze up or answer questions with a quivering voice.
- Choose someone to be the best face of your company.
This could be the owner or head of your organization, but only if they can talk about what you do in an energetic, succinct and positive way. Journalists want to interview someone who will give them good material. That means strong, descriptive quotes for print and radio, and colorful, concise sound-bytes for television.
- Don’t base the decision on rank.
Your best option may in fact be someone who has a lesser title but has been with the organization for a long time, knows it inside and out and truly believes in your mission.
Ultimately, we hope that when the media comes calling, you and your representatives are prepared. Evolution conducts media training for all kinds of organizations and companies to do just that. Likewise, clients often come to us to manage potentially controversial coverage to protect, and even enhance, their reputation.
Our sessions can be tailored for small groups of select executives or for large groups. Several of our seasoned professionals come from the media (I was in broadcast television for nearly two decades). We use lights, cameras and tough questions to thoroughly prepare the spokespeople involved. These sessions are invaluable, and they ensure your company is well-represented when opportunities present themselves.
Please contact us if you’d like to know more. We can help you feel more comfortable working with the media so you can give interviews with confidence and poise and turn a quick interview into a public relations win for your organization!