Key messages are, quite simply, those points you want the audience to hear in any media interview. Sounds obvious, but all too easily forgotten or ignored in the heat of a media interview.
Key messages should be simple and brief. You have to be able to recall them in an instant.
They must be relevant to the audience. No point in promoting some obscure internal point if it means nothing to those listening, watching or reading about you.
They must be positive. Don’t offer up negative thoughts – the interviewer will simply seize on them, and they may become the story.
Often, a key message will be something so obvious that it is easily overlooked. For example, “we’ve been in the business for more than 70 years, so we have unrivalled experience”. That is such a familiar fact that it has become part of your DNA, but for your audience it is a vital piece of information.
The preparation that is vital before any and every interview must include formulating those key messages. Not too many – two or three are enough for the typical media interview.
Key messages also provide an escape route if the interview turns negative or confrontational. Use them to change to a positive direction, and remember that you can always use the same key message a couple of times. Repetition equals emphasis.
So the key message is – never go into an interview without them.