MacDougall Musings

5 Tips to Ensure Your Biotech Company Is Media Interview Ready

The MacDougall team brings decades of experience helping leading life sciences companies elevate their communication and connection with key audiences. Your success depends on visibility and credibility with your core audiences, partner with MacDougall to amplify your message and its impact.

It’s the big day. Your biotech company’s news is ready to go. Your press release is final, your PR agency is starting to pitch reporters and your Board and executive team are ready to start seeing results from your communication strategy. Only one problem: you’re the company spokesperson and you are nervous! No matter if this is your first or 100th press interview, this is a completely normal reaction. The best antidote to these news-centered nerves is prep, prep, and a little more prep.

Here are five key tips to help even the most seasoned life science executive prepare for a successful media interview.

  1. Understand the Opportunity – This one might seem obvious, but the first thing you need to do is understand the angle the journalist wishes to cover. Are they covering your news as a feature? Or part of a larger trend report? Or maybe they’re looking for commentary on breaking news? Your PR agency should provide this information in advance, but perhaps you have back-to-back interviews, or just prepped for a Board meeting and lost track. When in doubt, ask the journalist at the top of the call for clarification so you are able to share the most relevant commentary based on your experience. Your candor will often be appreciated.
  2. Know Your Interviewer – Every journalist has a different style and it’s important to know the reporting style of who you’re speaking to. Do they tend to publish punchy quotes? Think of a few soundbites in advance that might resonate. Are their articles straightforward summaries of news? Get to your key messages quickly. Do they cover issues from a macro level? Be prepared for how your news fits into the bigger picture as it relates to the industry. Catering to their individual style will increase your chances of landing ink.
  3. Land Your Message – An entire post could be dedicated to the importance of landing your message and key points. A media interview is a relatively short amount of time to get news about financing, clinical data results, or a vision for your company across. We recommend sticking to no less than three key messages, and certainly no more than five, as the messages start to get lost after that point.
  4. Dos & Don’ts – We have an entire session dedicated to media training with many Dos and Don’ts to prepare biotech executives for the intricacies of media interviews. Some spoilers: Do eliminate distractions, do stick to your key messages, do speak clearly, slowly and concisely. Don’t go off the record, don’t keep talking to fill silences, don’t focus on the competition.
  5. Bridge, Bridge, Bridge – Situation: the reporter asks a question you don’t exactly want to answer, aren’t ready to share publicly, or just don’t feel confident in your response. We hate it when that happens too. How do you get out of this uncomfortable pickle? We arm our clients with bridging phrases for each of these scenarios to ensure they’re able to navigate in and out of conversations that will best serve the company’s goals and future initiatives.

At the end of the day, journalists are people too and are well-versed in executive interviews. Getting to know reporters on a personal level and maintaining positive relationships over time are key to laying the foundation for favorable coverage of future company milestones.

If your life science company has news coming up and you want to make sure you and your executive team are interview ready and prepared for effective public relations, we can help. Reach out to the MacDougall team here.