Friday, 4 November 2011

The Perfect Spokesperson

A heavy handed visual metaphor.
A few years ago I attended a short course in the basics of Executive Coaching. Executive Coaching the wonderful skill of allowing someone to think their own way out of a problem by gently nudging their thought process. A skilled executive coach is a wonder to behold, it's like a benign Derron Brown only without the scary eyes.


One of the classic coaching questions that's broken out from the coaching world is "so, what would that look like?" You say that you need a project to be a success and the response is "so, what would success look like?". In  content production you want to work with perfect PR's... So, what would the perfect PR look like?

AVAILABLE
There are a lot of people who think that they're available simply because they've given their mobile number to a couple of journalists; you need to do more than that. Think about calling your contacts when you hear a news story that your clients or organisation can "piggy-back", or in other words be available before they know that they need you.

RELIABLE
Not a simple case of keeping to appointments... You need to be able to offer the same quality and depth of knowledge from case to case. The journalist needs to think, "I know we'll get **** to comment, they're always good".

It's important that you're honest with yourself that if you're NOT the right person to comment that you tell them. They'll appreciate the honesty and you won't embarrass either of you by trying to do something that's beyond you.

Do you have an 'on-air' persona that works in all situations? If you're multi-faceted rather than "serious problem / jolly human interest" spokes person you'll fit in to most scenarios. Start by offering a range of stories that show you in all lights. Journalists like having a 'Go to' person, it just makes life easier for them, and if you are good content then they'll call and call again.


QUOTABLE
If you have the instant facility to turn a phrase, then you're in the lucky minority. Most of us have to work on those quote moments.

You want to be in the news clip, you want to be the headline, you want to be in the trailer.

The classic advice of going in to an interview with 3 things to say holds with this, but your ultimate goal isn't just to get the information out it's to get your information used for the rest of the day. In a radio breakfast show you have hundreds of people joining and leaving all the time (and it's a radio truism that most people miss most of what is said most of the time). Aim to get your clip used in the news bulletin, you'll massively extend your listener-ship. How do you do it? Try being controversial, moving the issue on, taking the story to the next step, or simply by saying to the producer as you leave / thanked after a phone interview "anything worth clipping for the news?".

It would be remiss of me to suggest that there's a sure fire way of getting on the news. It depends on so many factors, but as long as you can be bright enough and shiny enough you'll stand a good chance.

So to be the person that they call when they need a spokesperson...


BE AVAILABLE, BE RELIABLE, BE QUOTABLE.

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