Top manager’s interview for the media: PR checklist

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

An interview with a company’s top manager in the media is a popular PR tool through which the audience learns first-hand about the values, directions of development, products or services of the organization. The company acquires “human features”, interest in it increases, trust and sympathy appear. This, of course, is when we talk about a successful interview: with elements of storytelling, with interesting facts and messages that arouse support and admiration in the audience.

We have prepared a script for you, following which you can get an interview, which will become your business card. Attention is also paid to preventive measures that will help prevent a catastrophe: after all, sometimes a reckless sentence told to a journalist can cause irreparable damage to the company’s reputation.

So you’re lucky, a journalist from a certain publication became interested in the company where you work and asked you, as the head of the press service / PR / communicator, to arrange an interview with the head . We offer the following action checklist:

1. We kindly agree

We advise you to refuse only in one case – if it is a publication that does not work for the national interest. If you hear a too young, insecure journalist’s voice, or if it’s not your favorite publication at all, not with your target audience, still agree. Your task is to make sure that the interview is high quality and “correct”, then it will in any case bring certain dividends to the company.

2. Determine location, time

Invite a journalist to conduct an interview at the company’s office. Explain this so that he can immerse himself in the mood, the atmosphere of your company. If you do not have a very presentable office, then choose a third-party place for the interview. It can be a respectable restaurant, which will not be very noisy.

3. Ask if the photographer will

If a photo shoot is planned, be sure to notify your supervisor in advance. He or she should take care of his or her appearance. But without too much, festive styling or bright make-up will be superfluous, because the trend is simplicity, smartness and lack of pathos.

4. Make a brief reference to the publication for the head (distribution, audience, subject)

If you have a company that, for example, provides financial services, and the publication is not thematic, advise the head to use specialized terminology less often, let him explain everything in simple words, associative examples.

5. Prepare a letter for the journalist with information about the company

In the letter, provide information about the company in a structured way (so-called press kit), send links to previous interviews. ю. If there were already many of them, then just make a selection of the most frequently asked questions and answers. It is in your interest that the journalist does not repeat the questions that were voiced earlier, but prepares something more original.

6. Ask the journalist to provide a tentative list of questions in advance

Justify this request by saying that you want the answers to be meaningful. If the journalist submits a question, consider with the supervisor what questions could be answered with an interesting story (so that the storytelling mentioned above is mentioned in the interview). Of course, the same story should not move from one interview to another. The story should sound for the first time.

7. Prepare a one-page information sheet for the supervisor

This should be a cheat sheet with information that is sometimes difficult to remember instantly: numbers, percentages, years important for event companies, names of partner companies, project names, etc.

8. Remind the positioning, values, mission of the company to the head

PR for a long time builds a certain picture of the company. Before the interview, make sure that the supervisor shares your vision and remembers the key messages. Of course, these should not be clichés, but they should not be diametrically opposed to how you position the company.

9. Ask the journalist to be present at the conversation

If the journalist agreed, offer to record the conversation in parallel on a dictaphone. Argue that this is more reliable, because if something happens to his recording of the conversation (the device has failed, a quiet sound), you can always share.

During the conversation, you will be able to take into account your mistakes or shortcomings and pre-evaluate the success of the interview.

10. After the interview, ask the journalist if you still need any help

When you are alone with the journalist, ask if you still need any help. help, explanation of some processes, terminology, etc.

11. Ask for text and photos to be submitted for approval.

Ask if the journalist can send text and photos before publishing. According to the law, a journalist is obliged to authorize only the text, but he can publish the photo without consent. So just kindly ask him about it.

12. Carefully read the interview before agreeing.

Once you receive a written interview, you may come up with another great idea or option. answers. Suggest additions in the form of a request, emphasizing that it will add interest to the material. Reply to the letter as soon as possible.

A few harmful tips or how NOT to do it:

  1. In communication behave superficially with the journalist, change the date and time of the interview several times;
  2. Insist on your presence, otherwise cancel the interview;
  3. Under during the conversation often intervene, supplement the answers of the top manager. Interrupt the journalist if you think this is not a good or inconvenient question for the manager;
  4. After the interview, hint at the incompetence of the journalist, that he is not prepared or does not know the topic;
  5. Reading the interview, add as many phrases about leadership, company success, lack of competitors;
  6. Long approve the interview, add several times, change. Or, after delaying the approval for a long time, demand not to publish it at all.

The column was prepared by Yevhenia Slobodyanyuk, PR-manager of Perfect PR >

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