The vast majority of journalists will do at least some research about you before they do a media interview. They won’t be content with your own, carefully written brief or company PR material.
Most often, they will carry a search online and, if you are not careful, this can quickly become the story and change the narrative of any interview.
One of the first things journalists will look at is any previous coverage you or your company has had in the past. They’ll do a Google search, not just for your business but the major players in it. They’ll also look at your company website, of course, but also social media sites like LinkedIn.
If they have time, they may even contact clients or colleagues or check in with professional sources associated with your business or sector.
Why Is This Important?
While you can’t stop journalists doing a bit of investigative work on your past media exposure, it helps to know what information there is about you online. If you are saying one thing, for example, in a media interview and a tweet you posted a couple of years ago contradicts that opinion, it could put you on the back foot during the interview.
This is something you should do on a regular basis, whether you have a media appearance scheduled or not. Many larger businesses do this as a matter of course as part of the reputation management but it’s relatively simple to do even if you’re an SME:
- Do a Google search on your company and major players such as CEOs. Note any media coverage and identify problem areas that may come up during any interview.
- Take a look at your company website and make sure that all the messaging is as it should be and is up to date. Pick out how the company sits in your sector and what the brand messages are.
- It’s not just about you, however. If you are booked to be interviewed by a journalist, take a closer look at what they’ve actually been doing. This will give you the chance to look at their tone and whether they are likely to ask difficult questions for which you need to be prepared.
- Social media is just as important nowadays and it’s relatively easy to a search and find out what people are saying about your company or the individuals working for it. Also check individual CEOs timelines to make sure there is nothing contrary to what your underlying ethos is or the purpose of the interview. The major platforms you should focus on are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.
If you are being interviewed by a journalist, you should always assume they have put in the hard yards to find out about your company. They will be prepared, so you need to be as well. Spotting any contentious areas where you may have to explain yourself and your company in greater detail means that you are ready for any question that might arise and one step ahead of the game.
For help and training in all aspects of the media contact Hawkeye to discuss your needs and how we can ensure your team has the skills they need to do their job.