How CEOs Can Better Prepare for Media Interviews with North American Journalists

While not all journalists are the same, a recent survey by our global PR agency network offers some interesting insights on how some North American journalists prepare for, and conduct, an interview with a corporate CEO.

As a communications professional, knowing a journalist’s preparations and preferences can help you better prepare your CEO for the best possible interview outcome.

Key findings of the survey, conducted by members of the worldwide Public Relations Global Network ( include:

• Most North American journalists rely on previous media coverage as the top source of information in preparing for an interview (82 percent), followed by the company website (58 percent) and press releases and annual reports (56 percent each).

• Reporters frequently turn to social media channels to research a CEO’s background. When they do, they typically review LinkedIn (80 percent), Twitter (70 percent) and Facebook (64 percent) profiles to get a better sense of the CEO’s background and personality.

• Journalists expect the CEO to demonstrate outstanding knowledge of their company and market (94 percent), have an engaging personality (80 percent) and a strong performance track record (74 percent).

• Not surprisingly, many reporters are put off by arrogant behavior (70 percent), a CEO’s failure to answer material or sensitive questions (66 percent) and a CEO trying to dictate to the reporter what should and shouldn’t be included in the story.

PRGN recommends that CEOs who are preparing for their next media interviews with a North American journalist should:

• Update their personal LinkedIn profile to make sure it is accurate and positively represents their company and brands;

• Work to secure favorable media coverage in credible media, and take advantage of opportunities to contribute by lined articles or thought leadership pieces, and share that media coverage on their company websites and social media channels;

• Be ready to meet the reporter’s expectations in terms of company and market knowledge, present an engaging personality and provide proof points regarding the company’s performance;

• Have answers for questions, explanations why certain questions cannot be answered, and alternate information that offers insight to help meet the reporter’s needs without revealing confidential information.

Other PRGN survey results, including European journalist preferences, will be published in future posts. For more info, visit: .

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