Aubia Communications

Make it memorable: How to use key messages and sound bites in media interviews

You just gave a great interview about your company’s new product release. You provided all the details about how the gadget helps make consumers’ lives easier, how Research and Development spent hundreds of hours developing the product, and how the product is revolutionizing the industry. The broadcast airs and your announcement leads the news hour.

But wait, the reporter didn’t use any of your great details. All those facts you provided were cut and left on the floor of the newsroom. Why? It could be the reporter already had an angle in mind that your information didn’t support, but most likely, you didn’t present the information in a notable way. Journalists present in a concise and simple manner. If you don’t want your quotes to get the axe, you need to learn how to put your key messages into memorable sound bites.

Make it memorable: How to use key messages and sound bites in media interviewsWhat makes a good sound bite?

Sound bites are quotes taken from the interview that stick with the audience, and remember interviews are the conduit through which you speak directly to your target audience. Sound bites need to be powerful, passionate and short statements to be memorable.

Powerful statements resonate with your audience. You bring the audience in and capture their attention. You follow up with passion, showing your genuine interest in the subject. The more you show that you believe in what you’re saying, the more authentic you will come across to the audience. The more authentic you are, the more trust you build. The more trust you build, the more the audience believes in what you have to say. Now wrap up that power and passion in 20 seconds. Keeping your message short makes it easier for your audience to recall it.

How do you create powerful, passionate and short sound bites?

1) Start with your key messages
A wise mentor once told me that any situation you walk into, always have three prepared key points you want the audience to take away. Is your company releasing a new product? Develop three key messages about why that product is important to your consumers. Maybe your non-profit organization is hosting a fundraising event. Develop three key messages how that event helps the less fortunate.

2) Find out what the reporter is interested in

Industry courtesy dictates that you don’t ask a reporter for a list of questions to be asked before an interview – it’s just insulting. However, you can pitch a reporter on a topic and ask him how he might like to cover such a subject. This will give you an idea on how to prepare your key messages. I once pitched a reporter about covering a job fair, and after discussing the event, he decided he wanted to concentrate on how the military prepared veterans for life after service. This gave me valuable insight to prepare our program specialists with memorable sound bites about servicemembers continuing to serve communities and businesses in civilian roles.

3) Make your words standout

You want to capture your audience’s attention. Use words that will stir emotion and resonate. For that product release, talk about how your gadget helps “give more time back” to consumers. Don’t focus on the product; focus on what the product can do for the consumer.

4) Let your personality shine

You need to build trust with your audience that you believe in your own words. Show through your body language and tone of voice that you are passionate about what you are preaching. For the fundraising event, show through example where dollars are spent to benefit the needy.

5) Now cut back

The more concise the sound bite, the easier the audience can recall it. A pattern of one-syllable words is best for remembering and sharing with others.

In the next week, watch some media interviews and see if you can identify outstanding sound bites. Let me know what you find. Visit again next week for tips on pitching the media.

photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photo pin

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3 Comments to "Make it memorable: How to use key messages and sound bites in media interviews"

  1. […] make sure you’re answering the question with the most information you can provide plus your key messages. Once you’ve done this, stick to your answer explaining to the reporter this is the best response […]

  2. […] message development, you must have your target public in mind. Mass blasting out one message to a diverse audience […]

  3. […] pitch even more, and you start to get your key talking points. These strategic snippets are used in interviews to leave a significant impact on your audience. Key talking points are simple and […]

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