How to get your message across using flagging

By Annette Larkin, Public Relations Consultant, CONRAD, Washington, DC

When conducting media trainings, I always tell people that if they learn nothing else, they need to take away how to effectively flag key messages during an interview. Why? Because there’s nothing more important in an interview than getting your three or four key messages into a story, whether it’s print, radio, or broadcast. Despite what the reporter is asking, if you do almost nothing but repeat your key messages in a way that forces the reporter to listen, your messages will likely be included in the story.

Follow these guidelines before and during your interview:

  • First, tailor your messages to your audience—think about who will read or listen to the story and make sure your messages are what they need to know, with the appropriate language.
  • Make sure your messages are concise—if they are too long and hard to understand, the reporter may have difficulty using them in the story.
  • Limit yourself to three or four key messages.
  • Repeat these messages several times, throughout the interview. Repetition helps drill your messages in.
  • Finally, use these phrases to introduce your messages:
    • “Let me tell you the three most important things you need to know . . .”
    • “The key issues are as follows . . . 1, 2, 3”
    • “The main points are . . .”

October 8th, 2013