‘Getting Your C-Suite Media Ready’ with Kristan Hines, Vice President, Public Affairs with National PR and Elisa Schupp, Vice President, Enterprise & Strategic Sales with Cision at the CIRI National Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia on June 11, 2019.

Kristan Hines, Vice President, Public Affairs, National PR & Elisa Schupp, Vice President, Enterprise & Strategic Sales, Cision

This informative discussion helps the IRO prepare and support their Executive team to convey leadership and power and maintain control of their interviews. These can be interviews with the media, roadshows and meetings with analysts and events such as AGM’s and townhalls. Your executive team needs to be ready to speak on behalf of their organization.

In the 10th Annual, Cision’s 2019 Global State of the Media Report, journalists responded to a survey that identifies the changing role that media plays in the world today.

Some key takeaways to note are:

  1. Journalists are making more data-driven decisions around the content they publish.
  2. Social media is becoming a more challenging and complex partner for publishers.
  3. Facing a lack of resources, journalists are overwhelmed and overworked.
  4. Journalists believe the public’s lack of trust in the media might be on the decline.
  5. PR outreach needs to be more relevant and targeted to stand out.

The goal of journalism in 2019 is to provide coverage so informative and so reliable that people around the world are willing to pay for it. Trust has become a business model.

The biggest challenges for journalists over the last 12 months include:

  • 22% of journalists feel that the social networks and influencers bypassing traditional media
  • 20% reduction of staffing and resources
  • 19% facing the ongoing conversation of “fake news”
  • 15% of journalism is challenged with the blurring lines between editorial and advertising
  • 14% face attacks on freedom of the press
  • Only 8% are adapting to advances in technology & 2% are concerned for their personal safely or security issues.

To read the full Cision 2019 State of the Media Report: click here


Remember, nothing is “off the record”

If you are not telling your story someone else will tell it for you. It is very important to have a spokesperson that can tell your company’s story and manage the interview to ensure that your message is how you want the story told.

Who is telling your company’s story?

  • CEO?
  • CFO?
  • Board member?
  • Spokesperson from the communications team?

Have you had the conversation with your C-team that journalism is evolving and changing year to year? Staying on top of change will remind them that their reputation is a reflection of the company and they are the face of the company. Depending on the size of the company, 4 to 5 people need to be trained to be spokes people. This is done so that in the event of any issues or crisis, the level of urgency can be escalated to the CEO accordingly.

For an effective interview:

  • Know your corporate narrative
  • Know the key messages
  • Be prepared for any type of situation
  • Be empathetic
  • Be authentic
  • Become the trusted spokesperson

Today’s media environment is fragmented, crowded and noisy; it’s more important than ever to write for the end consumer. In today’s environment, you need to understand your media contacts audience and be prepared. Build the relationship by finding out what matters the most, ask what they are looking for from the company. Make sure your pitches are relevant and newsworthy.

Plan a meeting with your C-Suite during the corporate strategy sessions, introduce situations that can arise and discuss how the team responds. This is a great opportunity to create a media strategy by crafting the top 10 questions that the media would ask and include the top 10 questions they do not want asked then, practice…….practice …….practice.

Use the resource tools available such as bridging mechanisms to provide scenarios and practice with your team on stay on point and not get side tracked, practice potential questions and learn how to pivot the question to another direction to stay on the message. Learn how to take a negative question and avoid creating issues and practice to prevent your C-Suite to miss speak. Take the time and brief the team about the key message. Practice builds confidence and the more times you do it the easier it gets. Always remember, at the end of an interview take the opportunity to reaffirm your message.

“Do you have anything to add?”

About Odette Ries Bustin

Odette Ries Bustin is a Strategic Account Director with Cision Canada. Odette is a respected provider of top client services with B2B expertise and builder of loyal relationships. Her client base includes a consortium of public companies worth over $10 billion to newly listed IPO’s and a host of private companies. Odette has been active member of CIRI Alberta since 2007 and continues to enjoy being part of the event planning process, ensuring that CIRI bring value to its members through networking opportunities and programming. Odette is actively involved in a number of charities, including Cystic Fibrosis 65 Roses Ladies Golf Tournament (Organizing Committee), and Project Outreach (Gala Committee).

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