By Rita Martins
The purpose of promoting a brand or a client is to obtain editorial space in the media. This is the focus of a press officer. Press releases and agenda suggestions have the objective of capturing reporters’ attention to a given subject.
Certain clients, however, believe that this strategy alone is sufficient – which is a mistake. This is only the beginning. If a suggestion raises the interest of reporters, they will make a call and ask to talk with the company’s source for further details and also to check whether the information is correct.
For some directors and specialized professionals, this is a common procedure, as they are accustomed to speak in public and address people in their day-to-day activities. However, there are spokespersons who prefer not talking to the press but with the Press Office instead.
Don’t panic! Just talk to the client and explain that, with some training, they will be prepared to deal with the press. There are media training specialists who can help the spokesperson keep calm when addressing the media.
Here are some tips for talking to reporters:
Be careful not to give your own opinion but the company’s;
Avoid technical terms;
Do not try to read out your speech line by line. Instead, write it down and take notes on certain topics to memorize what you have to say;
In TV interviews, use short answers with relevant information. Wear smart clothes;
Pay attention to your body image and voice tone;
Do not shout in noisy environments. The microphone will capture your voice clearly, despite the background noise;
Keep your attention and eyes on the interviewer, not the camera;
The source (spokesperson) should get used to media convergence, given that an interview with printed media can be followed by a podcast (audio) recording for news portals;
It is important to know the reporters’ work routine, and arrive on time for interviews, as daily news vehicles have tight closing schedules. If there is an unexpected change, try to give notice beforehand;
For interviews by phone, use a landline, as mobile signals are not entirely reliable.
Do not ask to read the written article or see the recording before it goes public.