How to Prepare an Executive for an Interview

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How to Prepare an Executive for an Interview

I was recently asked how I would prepare an executive for an interview. Traditional PR pros would create a “Briefing Sheet.” But, to me, that implies that everything and the kitchen sink is relevant to your executive, which it is not. To properly prepare an executive for an interview, try these tips out.

What is the Journalist or Producer Interested in?

You already know the answer to this question. How? They bit on your pitch. They want to speak with your executive about the topic you offered up or they reached out to you independently with a request. Either way, start here. 

Search on the person’s name and the topic to find out what they’ve written about or produced in the past. It may come as no surprise to learn that they’ve written extensively on this subject or related topics. 

What Have They Created in the Past?

Compile a list of links to what they previously created and call out information specific to the interest of your executive and brand. Remember, you’re compiling notes for an executive, they’re busy! Less copy is more, but provide links to more information. Also, try to find videos or reports where their point of view or personality reality shines through.

Identify Their Tone and Style

Just because they may have written on this subject before or may have expressed interest, doesn’t necessarily make them a fan. Find out where they sit in the court of public opinion on the subject your executive will be talking about. Try to lessen the shock value for your executive. You want to provide him/her with information with is both anecdotal and factual. Sometimes, the best place to look is their Twitter Handle, assuming they have one.

Background on the Media Outlet

Don’t make any assumptions about what your executive may or may not know about a media outlet. Just because he/she lives and breathes their news doesn’t necessarily mean that there is an understanding of the nuances of media outlets. Provide more background which includes a link to the publication or broadcast, information on readership, circulation, views, or subscribers, and if the media outlet is part of a larger group.

Those are just a handful of ideas to get your started. Feel free to add more ideas in the comments below.


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Thanks for the PR Strategy, Internet

Thanks for the PR Strategy, Internet

I’m not giving away some deep dark web secret. Your next PR strategy is on the Internet. All you have to do is to know what to look for. Yes, it helps to have over two decades of PR experience under your belt to know how to see it. But, PR is a learned skill. A new approach to how you’ve been reading articles and watching TV news. There is no secret sauce.

What’s your story?

First, you need to identify what your story is. In this case, we’ll use a partnership that start-up X formed with company Y. Not surprisingly, start-up X isn’t the first emerging technology vendor to form a partnership with start-up Y. There are many others. As a matter of fact, Company Y is so popular that the joint press release they allow between their organization and others is straightforward and simple - and available online.

What was announced previously?

You can search on “Company Y” and “for immediate release” to find past press releases that Company Y and vendors have announced. You may also be able to find media outlets that picked up the news from older announcements.

What was written about?

Carefully scan which media outlets picked up the news from other vendors and Company Y before making recommendations on how to pitch your press release. You won’t be able to alter the press release template that Company Y has provided. You will be able to see how the media outlets wrote about the other vendors and pitch your news in the same style and format to improve your chances of getting press coverage.

Good luck!

To hire a public relations consultant to qualify your news and get press coverage, contact us today!

Quick Ways Cloud Computing Startups Can Get into the Narrative

Quick Ways Cloud Computing Startups Can Get into the Narrative

Cloud computing is driving IT spending overall and is predicted to increase 3.2% to $376 trillion with “as a service” models fueling everything from data center spending to enterprise software. Artificial intelligence, IoT, and analytics are key up-sell opportunities for cloud vendors. But to “break out” in such a crowded marketplace, cloud computing startups need to find ways to use public relations and social media marketing to engage with their audiences on a regular basis.

Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be a challenging or time-consuming task. Here’s how to make it happen:

MAKE AN FYI LIST 

Sure, your public relations pros are tasked to “get hits” in the press. You want your story to be written about. But, you also want the people – influencers – who attend conferences, events, speak on podcasts, and get interviewed to be talking about you. And, most of those folks are not journalists.

They may be bloggers or be influential on Twitter, Reddit, or user-created boards. Make a top list of those influencers, follow them on Twitter, and, if you can get a hold of their email addresses (if not direct messaging them on Twitter), send them an FYI when you have a new announcement or perspective on what they’re talking about. Keep those folks informed and educated.

DON’T PITCH FOR PITCH SAKE

Just because you have a new website or updated messaging isn’t a reason to email journalists with a “story idea.” Best to respond to a journalist’s most recent article on a subject related to your business position/differentiation or opine on a recent analyst report – to a journalist – to help them better understand changing market conditions and how your company fits into the narrative.

Another more assertive approach would be to respond to journalists about a recent competitor’s announcement and use de-positioning language and facts to make your case. Just pitching a journalist because you want them to write about your story is a waste of time. You have to help them understand why what you have to offer will build upon what they’ve written, provide perspective, and a new credible source. 

BE AN INFLUENCER 

Myth: Your outside PR person will be a good spokesperson for your business. The public relations consultant will know enough to set up a pitch, pitch, and get you interviews. But it’s your job to convince the reporter to write about your company. Who best to do these interviews than an influencer in your ranks? Why an influencer?

Execs and marketing staffers are generally chalked full with marketing lingo or messaging. Influencers generally have a bigger picture perspective on the market, the competition, and the technology landscape. Luckily, sometimes startups already have someone internally but often they need to make a strategic hire or partner with influencers to get third-party validation.  

Overall, simply pitching press or posting on social isn’t enough. If you want to use public relations and social media marketing to grow your business, regular outreach should be a top priority. By utilizing these tactics, you can ensure growth without wasting your resources.