The Most Important Thing to Remember in an Interview

We work every day to brainstorm, develop and pitch story ideas to media outlets for nearly all of our clients. It’s a valued PR tactic that benefits clients tremendously when executed properly. We also conduct media training for clients to prepare them for interviews when needed.

One of the biggest reminders we offer to our clients in preparation for interviews – besides never responding with “no comment” – is to always stay on topic. This can be especially difficult during broadcast interviews, but I like to remind clients to always try to bring it back to their key message if the interview goes off track. This can be accomplished if you come prepared with your memorized message, or as some like to call it, your SOCO – single overriding communication objective.

Your SOCO is the No. 1 key message you want to drive home with your audience through the media. In some interviews, this may be accomplished easily if it’s a simple message for your audience to grasp and remember. If it’s a little more complicated, you may have to expand on your key message with additional supporting details.

Why is this important? Because sometimes, it feels like interviews are over before you can blink an eye. If you don’t get to your SOCO quickly, you may miss the boat entirely. While the end result may not be a bad story overall, it could lead to one that does nothing much for your communication goal.

So, before your next media interview, take time to define your key message and create your SOCO. Here’s a short guide:
Define your key message in one brief statement.
Outline key facts. What are the top three things your audience needs to hear to support your SOCO?
Identify your audience and speak to them.
Practice staying on message.