Why preparation is key to acing your next media briefing
Briefings or interviews offer a personable way of getting your company’s message across to the media. Whilst they are often associated with supporting the launch of a new product or service, interviews can also be secured to maximise outreach of a particular campaign or comment on breaking industry news. They also provide a terrific opportunity to create lively discussion around your business’s interests, but any media interaction can also create risk if not approached in the right way. Spokespeople need to be fully prepared for what to expect when speaking with a journalist to ensure a positive outcome for all.
It only takes a few steps to prepare for a media interview, to ensure the conversation is engaging and insightful. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, it is commonplace for briefings to take place virtually (via Zoom, Teams, Skype or phone) and this makes it easier for company spokespeople to be available more regularly.
Before any interview, the interviewee should be given as much information as possible about who is conducting the briefing. An agency like Berkeley can help here by providing research about the journalist, their publication, subjects of interest and target audience. This gives the company spokesperson context about who they are going to speak with and how to get the most from the interview.
Ahead of the interview, we would liaise with the journalist to clarify any particular focal points for the upcoming discussion. In addition, the journalist may share further details about how they plan to use the interview – it could be published as a piece in its own right or used in a report or longer article covering a particular industry topic. The interviewee should always be aware that other topics may arise during the conversation as the journalist may use the briefing as a chance to learn more about their subjects of interest. While it cannot be guaranteed, understanding what might be asked helps to ensure the person being interviewed is not caught out by something unexpected.
Where interviews accompany product or services launches, knowing the messaging is key to controlling the narrative. The interviewee can focus on a particular topic as well as touch on company milestones and history. There may also be an opportunity to discuss evolving company policies, such as the position on sustainability or any upcoming news and innovations. If the interview is based on industry insights or in response to breaking news, ensuring the spokesperson has clear points and relatable messages to get across will give their commentary more chance of being included in an article or larger write-up.
Sometimes the difference between a successful and a mediocre media briefing can come down to the experience of the company spokesperson. If they are nervous or do not understand the subject they have been asked to comment on, this might not leave the best impression or result in a positive piece of coverage. Where possible, anybody speaking on behalf of a company should be media trained and have a good understanding of the media landscape and audience.
If you would like to learn more about preparing for media briefings, undertake specific media training, please get in touch.