On the up · 14 March 2019

How to be authentic in PR interviews as a business owner

Lucy
“It has never been more important to connect emotionally with your audience”

Lucy Werner, the PR guru behind communications consultancy The Wern, offers business owners her top five tips for delivering authentic interviews to help raise their profile.

In a world where consumers are increasingly making decisions based on feelings (a lovely lesson Brexit/Trump has taught us), it has never been more important for business owners to connect emotionally with their audience.

I went on a seemingly popular rant on my social channels this week over the use of the words “delighted, excited and thrilled” often spotted in the business wilderness to robotically inform followers of their happiness. Hands up if you have announced an award win, a new client, inclusion in your dream title with these words?

It’s not just these little snippets I’ve spied, increasingly I listen to a LOT of business owners being interviewed on podcasts or included in “A day with” or a “A week with” type articles and quite shocked at the shameless uninspiring roll calls of clients, packed with the status quo generic business activities with a pinch of ‘*my wife and child* glimpse into the personal at the end.

*Insert saccharine personal anecdote that most applies to you here

Heads up: This is dull AF, no-one learns anything about you, it isn’t inspiring and frankly does you and your business a disservice. So, a heads up for agency owners, service business leaders or founders of startup brands – instead of employing PR agencies to write generic answers for you because you are “too busy” to do your own PR, it’s about time you learnt how to show us the real you.

So here are my top five tips to be authentic:

  1. Don’t use PR as an excuse to list all your clients

I really don’t believe you see THAT many clients in a week or a day, or you are THAT productive. It makes you sound like a salesman or crap advert. Also, it’s great if you genuinely support your clients work BUT THAT’S HOW IT SHOULD BE. It’s 2019, surely, we should all have enough business integrity now that we only work for businesses that we truly believe in. Wanging on about them in a profile about YOU is not actually telling your audience anything about you.

  1. Think struggles, challenges, lessons learnt

It’s not negative or oversharing to show you aren’t perfect. In fact, people connect with you a whole bunch more when you are being open and a bit vulnerable. Business is about connections, you sound and look a hell of a lot more impressive by being real then showing off about which swanky bar you have a connection to because of your client. Give me a problem over an overpriced cocktail, please.

  1. Business heroes

Be original – don’t just name-check the big names in your industry. We’ve all heard of them. I want to hear about genuinely interesting people I might not have heard of before or someone that is personal to you that shows me a bit of what is up your (permission granted to photo the ankle) skirt.

  1. Greatest business advice

*Rolls eye* – don’t talk about hiring great staff. Don’t get me wrong here. Hiring great staff is important BUT EVERYONE KNOWS THAT and if they don’t, they shouldn’t be in business (or won’t be for very long anyway). Pass on something you wish someone had told you, not some generic “one size for all” advice.

  1. Tell me about you

It might be a business interview or profile but so much of what makes you great to work with is you. Your personality is what shapes the culture of your company and it should permeate all of your communication. Not just where you live but what are your hobbies, what do people not know about you give the audience something different and unusual to make you stand out.

In my business journey I’ve met a lot of businesses who claim to be innovative, disruptive and doing things differently but these “tick the box” PR responses aren’t showing that. If people can’t differentiate between you and anyone else, then why they gonna work with you?

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Lucy Werner is a PR expert and founder of The Wern, a specialist communications consultancy and training hub for startups, entrepreneurs and independent brands. She has worked with top emerging business talent such as Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, The Marshmallowist and Vinyl My, Please. She also consults for innovation, marketing and other public relations consultancies on their go-to market strategies, raising CEO profiles and developing thought leadership. Her first book “Hype Yourself: A no-nonsense DIY PR toolkit for small businesses” is launching January 2020.

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