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Lights, camera, action!

The Salvation Army (client) prepares to go on-camera with WJBK to discuss emergency disaster relief efforts in Detroit. Through the help of Franco PR Group, clients are armed with advice and key messages to tell their story to its publics through the media.

My 98 year young grandmother asked me the other day, “What exactly do you do in public relations?” Where do I start? There’s internal/external communications, social media, crisis communications, community relations, and event planning. The list could go on and on, but I thought it would be easier to give her the short answer, one that she can better relate to than the official definition of PR. My response was, “I help my clients tell their story in the media.”

It’s easier said than done.

A lot of work goes into media relations efforts. Before a phone is picked up or an email sent, there’s strategic planning and research involved. Relationships are built with members of the media. Goals and objectives are identified. A spokesperson is selected. Availabilities for interviews are determined.

After all of that, you’ve carefully crafted your pitch and secured an interview. What’s next?

This is my favorite part of the media relations process – working with my clients to prepare them for their interview.

Prior to going on camera, I remind my client that they are the face of their organization. They are the expert in the eyes of the audience. As a PR counselor, I arm them with key messages to assist in telling their story. I make recommendations for on-camera behavior and attire. I’m their cheerleader and calm them down when they are nervous.

Here is some advice that I give my clients to help them nail their on-camera interview:

  • Eye contact is essential to credibility. Maintain eye contact through the interviewer’s question and into the first part of your answer. This indicates that you believe in what you’re saying!
  • Be aware of your gestures and movements. This is especially important for those who “talk” with their hands. I recommend that they fold their hands in their lap to prevent unnecessary hand movement.
  • Know your key messages and be prepared with personal stories. The personal stories help the audience relate to the overall message. Believe it or not, practicing aloud in front of a mirror helps.
  • Be concise with your answer. Typically, comments made in an interview will be edited down to about eight seconds.
  • Most of all…relax and be yourself. Letting personality shine through is appreciated by the audience.

And my parting words to my client before heading into an interview? “Don’t blink. This will be the fastest three minutes of your life.”

What advice would you add to the list? Share it with me in the comments below.

Andrea Kenski is an Account Manager at Franco.


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