Cultivating Company Spokespeople: 5 Steps That Will Yield Your Best Spokesperson Group Yet

Raise your hand if this has happened to you: you have a great media opportunity secured, but can’t for the life of you get someone at your company on the phone with the reporter.

Your spokesperson matrix? It’s empty.

A reporter calls looking for a subject matter expert? Everyone’s too busy to make time for the interview.

You want to hold a media training…. But have no idea who to invite.

You’re not alone! Here are five steps to growing a thriving spokesperson program, making sure that your hard-won media opportunity doesn’t go to waste….

  1. Plant the Seed: A great spokesperson is hard to find… and you have to seek them out! Look for natural communicators who are able to think on their feet. Often, you may even incorporate skills testing for these qualities during your hiring process. A good spokesperson is worth their weight in gold – and your HR manager may be able to point you to someone who demonstrated these qualities right off the bat.
  2. Provide a Solid Foundation: You may find that potential spokespeople are unwilling to participate because they simply don’t understand the expectations. Are they going to get requests in the middle of the night? Have to give up weekends to do training? Make sure to outline time commitment, types of potential opportunities (and benefits!) up front.
  3. Water the Roots: It’s often the fear of the unknown that scares away potential spokespeople. Make sure to provide year-round coaching and media training workshops that cover through the gamut of potential opportunities for approved spokespeople. This should include everything from responding to an email interview, to the full on-camera experience! You may even choose to make these training sessions open to every member of the company – helping to cultivate spokespeople early in their careers.
  4. Nurture a Budding Spokesperson: While any media training should involve ‘mock interviews’, help spokespeople shake off early jitters by queuing them up for curveball-free opportunities. It may be a technical overview that’s right in their wheelhouse, or a background briefing. Participate as a silent listener, assuring them that you’re on the line and ready to step in should they get stuck on an answer.
  5. Show Off a ‘Green Thumb’: The biggest mistake you can make is to keep a spokesperson out of the loop once the interview has been completed. Even if it’s a long-lead opportunity, make sure you follow up to provide the final masterpiece. Involve the C-suite so they’re aware of the spokesperson’s ongoing good work. Provide circulation numbers, target audience and highlights so that they can see the impact of their participation (bonus points if you’re able to show sales driven, website traffic, or frame clips at the company HQ.)

What are some other tips you have to lining up company spokespeople? Share below.