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POSTED 1.8.2019

Making business interviews count

Sometimes it can be difficult for a CEO, a managing director or a site lead to communicate a range of messages to a mix of people across a broad spectrum of internal and external audiences.

In a world choked by awful corporate-speak and jargon (that’s guff to you and me), messages that talk about accomplishments, aims and ambitions can veer terribly off-course or misfire completely.

That’s why media business interviews matter – the kind of expansive slot or platform where, with a little focus and preparation, a leader can really get to the heart of stories that will hit the mark, to make points that will be digested and noted.

A Sunday or daily newspaper business interview or profile – usually taking up most of a page – offers a powerful package of visual prestige and actual audience reach that few media platforms can match. It also offers that rarest of things in today’s media – depth.

With an obsession for short-form content and stories that often do not get past the 200-word mark, the flagship business interviews usually come in at a relatively whopping 1,200 to 2000 words. They focus on already successful established companies and multinationals.

Of course, online media outlets do carry these and even longer pieces, I’m just saying that when it comes to the world of print, these are premium slots.

Usually, business interviews are accompanied by a larger than normal photograph of the interviewee (the interviews always have a different format to ordinary news stories) and maybe a small panel of Q&As or personal details. (‘Favourite film: ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ etc…you get the picture!)

With a focus on one individual – usually the most senior management figure in a company, the pieces give leaders a chance to colour in a little of their personality and character traits and dig into the stories behind their company’s successes – or failures.

The interview is also a tremendous opportunity to explain current brand behaviour or to signal change or to announce something that will impact staff and customers. This is value-added information that editors and journalists will love: news is their business after all.

It’s all down to what you are going to say and how you say it.

Beckman Coulter Site Director Orlaith Lawler recently sat down with the Sunday Independent and talked through the US bio-medical device maker’s expansion in Co Clare where it employs 390 people. In June, Orreco CEO Dr. Brian Moore featured as the subject of the Irish Independent’s main business interview, explaining the Galway-HQ’d company’s recent deals in the US, where it works with elite sports teams across a suite of bio-analytical services.

Landing a slot is a highly competitive business in itself. Take a typical daily or Sunday newspaper – each business section carries just 50 of those full-page, main interviews a year – drawn from the hundreds and thousands of Irish companies in the market-place today.

These flagship interviews get seen, they get read and they get shared. The profile leads to more media inquiries and interest in the work that a company or an individual does.

If you need help with PR or raising your profile, get in touch with us at 01 685 3029 or email me at ciaran@storylab.ie.