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How to choose the best media spokesperson for your business

An important component of your public relations plan should be to raise your business's profile and maintain its reputation. For public relations and marketing purposes, having a spokesperson to represent your business is essential. This holds true regardless of your sector or company size.
Source: Henri Mathieu-Saint-Laurent from Pexels

In essence, the spokesperson you select will be the face of your organisation, the person with whom the media will speak, and the person who the general public will see and hear.

Why does a business need a media spokesperson?

There are numerous reasons why your business needs a spokesman. Perhaps the most important reason is to have someone to contact when dealing with the media. The media can contact or show up on your doorstep if you have a noteworthy issue. You may keep your message constant by directing the media to your spokesman. Spokespersons have been trained to know what to say to the media and how to say it so that you can maintain quality control.”

Who should you choose as your business’s media spokesperson?

Larger companies frequently hire public relations agencies to act as intermediaries between the public and the business. In smaller businesses, an employee – usually a main executive or a manager – is frequently chosen. It is entirely up to you who you choose. Simply ensure that the person you shoose is capable of speaking on behalf of your business and persuading the audience to support your business.

Ultimately, one of the most important traits in a spokesperson is enthusiasm; a quality that cannot be taught. A business representative needs to ‘buy in’ to your PR team and strategy, and an eagerness to engage with the media and be a forward-facing representative for your business is vital.

From a practical point of view, it’s also important to remember that building the reputation of a business is all about longevity. As such, it would be wise to choose a business representative who is genuinely invested in the business, and who is likely to stick around.

A business that changes its spokespeople every year is likely to confuse the media and fail to get traction – and the benefit of a consistent and regular presence over a period of years in creating market awareness of your business cannot be understated.

So what should be considered when choosing your business’s media spokesperson?

  • A media spokesperson must be a high-ranking executive

    In many circumstances, the CEO is the most trustworthy name you can use; they obviously understand the business and have the ultimate say on all matters; yet, if the CEO is not media-friendly, they may wind up doing more harm than good. The CEO may not be the greatest individual to represent your business if they have a hesitant or shy demeanor or come across as untrustworthy. Another executive with more self-assurance is certainly worth consideration.

    Larger companies should also invest in having more than one spokesperson who can talk about the technical business areas they specialise in.

  • A media spokesperson must be knowledgeable of the business and its key messages

    Knowing the business's main themes and being able to connect them into an interview, regardless of the questions addressed, is one of the most crucial lessons in PR. The spokesperson should be well-versed about the business's history and the issues that a journalist might bring, as well as the confidence to respond to inquiries while adhering to the PR plan.

  • A media spokesperson must be well presented and well-spoken

    No matter how knowledgeable a member of staff is, they shouldn't be your spokesman if they can't weave a sentence together for radio or appear presentable on video. It may sound harsh, and it surely isn't just about appearances, but this person represents your organisation, and you should think about how you want the public to perceive your brand.

  • A media spokesperson must understand the importance of media

    Your spokesperson does not need to understand public relations, but they must recognize the power of the media and the importance of excellent press for the firm. If your spokesperson considers public relations to be a waste of time and a problem in their already hectic schedule, they will not present the greatest image and may not transmit the correct message.

Media training is recommended for media spokespeople

When approached by the media, many people become scared, but if you have a strategy in place, your spokesperson will have a better chance of delivering a successful interview. Learning how to respond to questions and maintain control of an interview by communicating your essential themes can be quite beneficial.

The first step would be to create a media policy that outlines the key messages, how to respond to certain sensitive questions and what to do in a PR or communication crisis. All press releases, media queries, and interviews should be routed through your spokesperson only as this will ensure that your messaging is consistent.

It's also highly recommended that a media spokesperson receives some kind of media training, whether it's a one-day intensive class or a half-hour briefing with your PR person before the interview — the difference is evident.

About Cathlen Fourie

I am a B2B Public Relations Professional, Content Marketer, Communication specialist and writer. As owner and Chief Content Creator of CF Communications I am responsible for the overall strategy and content creation for all clients.

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