A spokesperson’s mission in a media interview is to communicate their organization’s key messages in a way that cuts through the media filter and gets to the audiences that matter most to you. It’s a misconception that the journalist holds all the cards when it comes to what a story looks like. StrategyCorp has three quick tips to help you get your message across in your next media interview.
- State the most important key message first. Don’t wait for the right opportunity – it may never come. When a journalist asks their first question, use that as the opportunity to deliver your most important key message first. Use their most important question – the first one – to communicate your most important answer. Doing this in a seamless way takes practice and sets the tone for the whole interview.
- Bridge to what you want to talk about. It’s highly unlikely that a journalist will ask questions that lead perfectly into your key messages. So how do you get from the question being asked, to the thing you want to talk about? A bridge. Bridging is an art, not a science; it should come off as a natural thought progression. Executed badly, it can sound like you’re dodging the question:“I’m glad you asked me that, because it raises an important issue…” A strong spokesperson with a strong bridging technique will sound in control, while a poorly prepared spokesperson with a weak bridging method can sound evasive.
- Take advantage of the “wrap up”. At the end of an interview, many journalists will ask a final question: “Do you have anything else to add?” These last few moments of an interview provide a great opportunity to repeat an important message – particularly if you feel like you stumbled earlier on in the interview. If the journalist doesn’t offer a “wrap up” moment, make one: “Before you go, there’s one more thing I’d like to add…”