Monday, May 7, 2012

Key Message is have a Key Message

“Reporters are not your audience. They are the channel to reach your audience.”

If I only remembered one thing that Bremer Bank’s Teresa Morrow, Senior VP of Corporate Communications, said at a recent workshop with Mankato area nonprofits, this would be the gem for me. These two sentences remind me that an interview puts me in a situation where I can talk about what I know best, and that I’m in charge. No reason for a TV or newspaper reporter’s microphone and camera to take me out of my strong place.

Deep breath.

There were more nuggets. 
  • News is ultimately about people, because that’s what people can relate to, that’s what they want to hear about.
  • Frame your message to what benefits your audience, rather than what you do or provide.
  • Ho-hum: “We work with people who can’t find jobs.”
  • Not Ho-hum: “We all want to live in a community where people who are seeking work, find work. We help to make that happen here.”
  • Key messages – what are yours? If you don’t have key messages for the purpose and the context of the interview, don’t do the interview. The key message can be just that – one key message. Repeat it during the course of and at the end of the interview.
  • Initiate your main point no later than the second question into a media interview. Stay in control of the topic.
  • News boils down to good storytelling, so tell a good story. 
Teresa shares her skills and stories gained through many years of communications experience in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations through her workshop, “Managing your Reputation: Media & Communications for Nonprofits.” The workshop is for the benefit of Bremer Bank area community organizations. We had a great morning with a good crowd in Mankato.
Tami Reuter, Executive Director of South Central College Foundation, aced the mock interview with
Bremer’s Teresa Morrow.

Posted by Lois Schmidt, NRS, Willmar Charter

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