CEO Interview Mistake #2

Not Knowing Where Reporters Go For Research

Fact: Reporters’ First Research Source is NOT the Info You Sent Them

Only one in 10 journalists surveyed by the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) ranked the info sent by the company or its PR firm as the first source they use when conducting research before a CEO media interview. That means 90 percent of journalists are going somewhere else for their first research stop, and these other sources may help shape the story’s tone and content before the materials you provide can have an effect.

Previous coverage by other media was the top choice for journalists surveyed, with 36.3 percent; followed by the company website with 20.4 percent; and Google with 17.7 percent.

So, does that mean you shouldn’t bother with providing journalists solid background info before they interview your CEO?

You definitely should provide info, as it is still among the top several most-often-turned-to sources for research … usually just after previous media coverage and the company website.

To help prepare for the best possible CEO media interview outcome, you should:

  • Know what media coverage on your CEO and company is out there. Do a Google search yourself, and review previous media coverage, especially any negative coverage, from credible or popular media outlets. Use this coverage to help you identify and address any potential problem areas or hot issues.
  • Look at the stories resulting from the reporter’s most recent CEO interviews. These can help you to see what the usual tone, topics and takeaways from such interviews are. These insights can be important in helping you CEO prepare for the interview, as well as in selecting what materials to provide the journalist in advance.
  • Make sure your company website is current and that its key messaging aligns with your CEO’s current thinking and strategy. The journalist will often look to a company website to get some sense of how the company positions itself, and will search for cues and data that may shape some of the interview questions.
  • Check social media to see what is being said about your CEO and company. More than 21 percent of reporters surveyed said they use social media platforms as one of their top three research sources. And as more digital natives join the professional ranks of journalism, social media is likely to become an even more important research source for reporters.

Among the 21 percent of reporters that said they use social media as a research source for CEO interviews:

  • 69 percent said they used Facebook,
  • 65.5 percent said they used Twitter,
  • 62.8 percent used LinkedIn, and
  • 32.7 percent used YouTube.

So put these channels on your radar (if they’re not already) and monitor what your company’s and CEO’s channels are communicating to the world.

One last point: More than 56 percent of journalists surveyed said they interviewed 10 or fewer CEOs per year; with 29.2 percent saying they interviewed five or less CEOs a year. This suggests a few things:

  • CEO interviews are few and far between, so the opportunities you get for your CEO should be managed and maximized; and
  • Reporters typically put a lot of preparation into the interview despite their crazy, time-pressed schedules. So everything you can do to make their job easier will be appreciated.

The PRGN journalist study surveyed more than 110 journalists from around the world to get insight on how media professionals prepare for and conduct interviews with CEOs, as well as to understand how their reporting duties and needs are changing. Click here for more info.Bianchi Bio Image full-white bgd