I don’t usually foray into politics on this blog and I have no intention of doing it today either. But spare a thought for the poor PRs who try to give Gordon Brown a helping hand.
More than a few of us in the profession struggle daily to make silk purses of our clients. We train them. We coach and advise them. But when it comes to the essentials, they are who they are and we can’t change that.
With the UK election winding into the last fews days, it’s a good time to revisit my Dos & don’ts of media interviews which was orginally published on Strive Notes on 23 June 2008.
- Have three positive message points
- Get message points in before the interview ends
- Know your stuff
- Smile and be friendly
- Know the format of the programme, style of the publication and of the journalist
- Mention your company’s name frequently
- Imagine you’re talking to a 13 year old
- Stand up during telephone interviews
- Accept live interviews. (You can’t be edited.)
- Use stories, analogies, and examples to put a picture into people’s minds
- Answer hypothetical, irrelevant questions. Instead bridge to message points
- Ever say, “no comment”
- Ever go, “off the record”
- Say anything you would not like to see in print or broadcast
- Try to fake it. If you don’t know the answer, admit it. (But promise to deliver the info before the deadline)
- Try to answer questions that are not in your area of expertise. (Promise to get the right person/info before the deadline)
- Repeat the negative
- Get angry with a reporter, or stop the interview, or walk off the set
Oh yes and do always remember to turn off your mic after a media event.