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Message, Message, Message

To conduct successful interviews you will need to know what your key messages are.

  • Rule 1: Don't have more than three main points. More than that is too confusing.

  • Rule 2: All messages should support the organization's main goals.

  • Rule 3: Messages themselves are not necessarily soundbites, they are ideas you are trying to get across.

  • Rule 4: Messages are reinforced by soundbites, phrases, statistics and anecdotes.

  • Rule 5: Messages take time to create. Don't rush the process.

  • Rule 6: Messages don't change frequently. For messages to have impact they have to be repeated over and over again.

  • Rule 7: Messages can be tailored for specific audiences, while still remaining constant. (See rule 6)

  • Rule 8: Consistent messages should permeate all of your communications efforts, not just your media interviews and communications.

  • Rule 9: Messages must be simple. They are ideas that can be explained in a sentence or two -- if it requires a paragraph or two, keep working.

To help craft your message, try downloading this message development tool. The message development tool is in Acrobat format and you will need an Acrobat Reader to view it. Acrobat Reader is a free download.

To download and print this entire section of the site, click here. You will need a copy of the free Acrobat Reader to view it.

Successful interviews are message-driven.

To have successful interviews, you need to answer questions in a way that supports your messages. If, after an interview, the quotes included in a story do not support your main messages, then you are what we call in the industry "off message." This is bad. You had an opportunity to get out your message and you blew it.

To avoid mistakes, practice interviewing using the messages from your message box. All spokespeople for your organization should be familiar with and proficient in delivering these key messages. Remember: part of getting out messages successfully is picking the right spokespeople. Certain spokespeople will resonate better with your target audience than others. Don't let egos eliminate a chance to showcase your best spokespeople and get the most from a media interview.

Back to Successful Interviewing.

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