In our year end review of the 2014 activities of the AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee, we asked you to stay tuned for tools that will help you make a splash in the press. Below is the fourth in a series of articles that will help you in that regard. With your help, we hope to be able to leverage our strength in numbers to help promote architects, architecture and AIA-NJ.
Previously, the Working with the Media series has focused on the initial stages of media outreach: Building a relationship, contacting a reporter, and composing written materials on behalf of you or your company. Now, we’ll delve into the hallmark of journalism (and arguably the most important method for successful PR): The interview.
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that news is increasingly “sound-bite” driven. Today’s messages are most effectively delivered through short, to-the-point bits of information – Twitter, “news reader” software, and blog-style news are all evidence of the evolution (or disappearance) of long-form feature stories. But, rather than debating the legitimacy of this age of information, let’s discuss how best to communicate in today’s media environment.
We’ll start by harkening back to high school English class. Remember the inverted pyramid?
The inverted pyramid reflects the important hierarchy of information, which is crucial to making sure that a reporter hears the most vital components of your message. Ask yourself: What makes (this project, my company, this law, etc.) newsworthy? This core message should be stated early and often – don’t be afraid to be redundant. A reporter may well be interested in the details about the processes of your work or your personal background, but it’s vital not to eschew the “newsworthy” aspects of your message in favor of the minutiae.
Remember: In many cases, a 30-minute interview can result in no more than a one or two-sentence blurb about you or your company. And, while some reporters may ask to record your conversation, reporters are human, and it cannot be assumed that they’ll publish your main focal point. As a result, it’s up to you to ensure that your message is being received.
A few tips:
- Repeat or rephrase your core message at least two to three times throughout the interview
- Draw the reporter’s attention to your core message (i.e. “The main point here is…”)
- Condense your main themes into a statement that can be conveyed in 30 seconds or less
- Make sure that any examples, supporting points, or details relate directly to your core message
If you would like to read the previous articles in this series, please see the following links:
Beckerman PR Real Estate Team
Bruce D. Turner, AIA
Chair, AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee