Keep It Simple, Say What Matters

24/12/2013

We’ve been asked to say more about Arch Communications’ popular Advent PR tips. Always happy to oblige! To start, let’s explore the importance of knowing your key messages for media interviews.

It’s always vital to make time to prepare for interviews, especially those with broadcasters where you want to be as fluent as possible. This includes asking yourself: if all else fails, what are the things you MUST have said by the time the interview is over?

These are your key messages, and ideally there should only be two or three of them. Any more, and your points will be diluted. If there are too many, it will be harder to remember them and express them all in the time available.

To help you decide what your messages should be, think about the lasting impression you want to leave with the audience (bearing in mind that the audience is not the interviewer, but the reader, listener or viewer). Do you need to make an apology, promote a new initiative, give a call to action, perhaps?

Think in advance about how you would articulate these messages in an engaging and concise way. Use short sentences and aim for 15 seconds or less. Sound bites are everything these days!

During the interview, your key messages can be your safety net. If you are struggling with a difficult question or run out of things to say, fall back on those messages to get yourself out of trouble. Don’t be frightened of using them more than once, either. You want them to stick, so repetition is good.

The key message principle can be applied to presentations and sales pitches too. Practise this way of thinking until it becomes second nature. In fact, always remember that when it comes to engaging with journalists, preparation is the most important thing of all.