PR University - Spokesperson Guidelines & Tips
Who is the face of your company?
A spokesperson is vital to your PR efforts --
- They will act as the face of your company (or event) in interviews
- Be quoted in press releases
- Positioned as a boating expert
- Be enthusiastic! If you don’t find your own products fascinating, why should anyone else?
- Remember you are the expert and speak with confidence. You are closely involved with your product or event and no one knows more than you do.
- Believe in your product, event or industry; if you don’t, it will show.
- Put your product or event in the context of a trend when applicable, more importance will be placed on the subject when it is positioned as part of a major cultural phenomenon. (EXAMPLE: How the rise in boater registration has an effect on boat sales).
Tips for Newspaper Interviews
- Prepare: Have a list of key messages to have in front of you and feel free to give yourself some time before being interviewed to review. If a reporter calls, tell them you will call them right back, collect your thoughts and return their call promptly. Click here for an example of a key messages document.
- Paint a Picture: Support your key messages with anecdotes, examples and evidence. Restate and rephrase your key messages during the interview and speak conversationally.
- Stay Focused: Nothing is “off the record” – even if you’ve said it and the reporter agrees. Encourage the reporter to call you back for clarification or additional information.
Tips for TV and Radio Interviews
- Pre-Interview: The host/producer may want to pre-interview you for a few minutes before you go on the air to establish what’s expected and the direction the interviewer plans to take. It's also your chance to tell the interviewer what you would like to discuss.
- Interview Duration: For live interviews, you will know beforehand approximately how long your interview will last. Be flexible – sometimes there are last minute changes due to breaking news, overbooking or a missing guest, and your time might be shorter or longer than anticipated.
- Interview Start Time: Ask the interviewer to tell you when the interview will begin. There have been instances where shows have begun without the guest being aware of it and off the cuff remarks have been broadcast.
- Time is Crucial: Keep your answers short, concise and to the point. In a live interview, answers should be no longer than three or four sentences. In a taped interview that will be edited into sound bites, answers should be held to 20 seconds or less.