In a recent quest for new ideas and insight on our business, I trolled @KarmaAgency’s Twitter for a little inspiration from industry peers. My first click was on a Tweet about media preparation. Atop the author’s shortlist for successful interviews was this glaring contrarian point: forget about key messages and know the subject matter. Say What?
My college journalism professor, an affable “newspaper guy” with a gravely voice and deeply weathered face, foretold the changes in media decades ago. Sam Kennedy lamented the loss of dailies but could have never then predicted how the Internet and new media would force so much change in our business.
Yes, our earned media practice isn’t what it used to be. We have to be more agile. We have to know how to weave a consistent narrative across multiple mediums. And we have to be ready to orchestrate a lightening fast response that plays with authenticity. A lot has changed. Yet, I’d argue that the core of effective media preparation hasn’t. In fact, the basics might be more important than ever. Take key messages. Here’s my own list on why they are essential to readying for an interview no matter how expert your expert may be.
- Force the very best subject matter experts to focus their vast knowledge into easily digested, quotable nuggets of information
- Help assure delivery of the most important points
- Improve consistency of narrative
- Enable the articulation of a strong and logical point-of-view
- Diminish opportunity for irrelevant tangents that may be a distraction
- Provide a go-to bank of content should a reporter surprise with a challenging or unexpected line of questioning
- Offer a means for measuring success
For all of these reasons and still others, message development is a part of the Karma Agency’s earned media practice that will endure. Look soon for new blog posts about some of the media work we’ve been doing for our clients from FMC to Simon Properties to Lincoln Financial to Not Your Average Joe’s.
Adrienne is a Senior Strategist for the Karma Agency.