Lis Anderson is founder and director at PR consultancy AMBITIOUS. An experienced agency MD with 25 years in the communications industry.
No longer are broadcast interviews limited to television or radio. The options available have multiplied, and now companies can share their own curated videos on their own websites and social media channels. And it is important to create content that fits with the smartphone in your pocket, which is strengthening its key position in our busy lifestyles—from keeping in touch with friends to keeping up with the news.
Boosting Engagement Through Videos And Podcasts
The way we are consuming news continues to move away from traditional media. According to the Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report 2022, in most countries, smartphones are the first way for people to access news followed by TV and radio, with print lagging behind in fourth in most places.
This trend underlines why it is essential to evolve if you are going to keep up with the rapid pace of change. Social media platforms are important for strengthening engagement with key audiences. They, along with a company’s website, are also often the first port of call for consumers. You don’t want to leave them disappointed. Populate these channels with entertaining video content.
Brands considering creating more videos to boost consumer engagement should continue to rely on tried, tested and trusted methods. Adopt the same modus operandi as if you were heading to a television studio to take part in an interview with a journalist.
First and foremost, decide what you want to achieve through your video. Identify the main points you want to convey and three key messages to drive those points home.
It is important to hone those messages so that they sound natural. That means not using jargon, and breaking down and simplifying complicated issues so they will strike a chord with your target audience and remain memorable.
Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach; adopt tactics that will target specific audiences based on, for example, where they are in the marketing funnel.
Body language plays a crucial role in presenting a persuasive case once the video starts rolling. You’re more likely to look professional and authoritative if you go into the interview dressed to impress.
When it comes to podcasts, it is worth remembering that interviewers tend to have a range of backgrounds (they’re not necessarily professional journalists), so homework is key to avoiding a PR meltdown if you get caught off guard.
Establish the logistics of the interview including confirming whether it will be live or prerecorded, and how long your interview will be.
Confirm who will lead the interview and whether any other guests are taking part. Establish the topic of conversation and ask for the questions that will be coming your way. Most journalists will have a scripted plan of action.
As part of these preparations, listen to the podcast so you understand its tone and agenda.
Teamwork Is Key To Success
Considering all of the above, it is vital that any requests for media interviews be handled by your communications team. They are in the best position to know whether it will be beneficial for a CEO to appear on a podcast to wade into a controversial issue or whether it is worthwhile to take part in a late-night TV news show.
Communications and media colleagues should be trusted to handle conversations with journalists to establish exactly what is in store, from the topics of conversation to the identity of fellow studio guests. They will do the heavy lifting by making sure you are familiar with the media outlet you are headed for and by providing background on the journalist so you are familiar with their modus operandi and their personal story.
With an eye on the bigger picture, they will also be able to make sure that media activity does not undermine broader campaigns and overall strategic goals.
Preparation For A Successful Interview
There is an old adage that practice makes perfect, and that invariably applies to getting ready for broadcast and social media interviews, so a simple plan of action is essential.
To paraphrase an idea that’s often misattributed: The harder you work to get ready for your interview, the luckier you will feel when you are under the spotlight and excelling.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a rookie spokesperson or an experienced C-suite executive, it is important to team up with colleagues and contacts who are communications experts so they can make sure you have a positive outcome.
It’s particularly important for those who are new to the role of company spokesperson to navigate their first steps into the world of media by working with colleagues. Start with a prerecorded interview—when you can stop and start—as this is often a lower-pressure situation than a live studio TV interview.
Coaching is also an important part of getting ready for any media interview. This includes training for Zoom interviews, which are now commonplace on television and should involve tactics to deal with difficult questions.
Keeping It Real
There’s nothing like authenticity when it comes to media interviews, whatever platform they are broadcast on.
It’s important that you work on the key messages you want to share with the audience. You should sound normal and not overly corporate, as that can be a turnoff to interviewers as well as listeners and viewers.
The secret to the success of sounding normal is to stress-test your key messages with your trusted media specialists so they fit the bill for any media platform. And that means practicing your lines so you look and sound the part.
These are exciting times, and from TikTok videos to live streaming, there are now more opportunities than ever to create compelling content that will enable brands to bolster ties with consumers.
The media landscape might well be a moveable feast, but amid all the changes, certain golden rules revolve around preparation, which should be the cornerstone of media activity. When it comes to your smartphones, it pays not only to look smart but also above all to think smart for maximum impact.
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