Manufacturing Media Interviews: How To Ace Them

What you need to know before you agree to  speak to a reporter

mark fabrisonic and bill k SME

Our client, Mark Norfolk of @Fabrisonic3D, being interviewed by Bill Koenig, reporter at @MfgEngNews

They like you, they really like you. So, you have a reporter or editor interested in speaking with you about your work and company. Perhaps he/she responded to a press release, met you at a trade conference or your agency arranged the conversation. Preparing for the interview and obtaining just the right coverage is critical. In this article, we will discuss the strategy you should take for nailing media interviews. Note, in this article, we are talking about a typical media interview NOT a crisis situation or the dreaded “ambush” interview with a reporter shoving a microphone in your face. How to handle a crisis or “ambush” interview will be discussed in a future article.

For your typical interview, you should have a strategy for these five steps: 1) Know their audience, 2) Research the reporter and their history, 3) Have your facts straight, 4) know your desired outcome, and 5) Have your art ready.

First, are you familiar with the publication? You need to know who they consider their audience and if there is a fit with the content you hope to convey. Research their website, peruse past issues, and look at their media kit. The editorial calendar is of particular interest. These are the “big rock” issues they will be covering editorially. If you can align with a proposed topic, you will be doing yourself and the reporter a huge service. Second, get to know the reporter. Read articles they have written. Pay attention to tone, depth of technical expertise and look for any bias the reporter may have, especially if that could either help or hurt your cause. By demonstrating your familiarity with both the publication’s editorial direction and the reporter’s work, you are also showing you have respect for their organization.

Make sure that you are well versed in your subject matter. Whether you are meeting in person or over the phone, make sure you know the facts about your organization. While you cannot anticipate every question, you should know your content cold. If you are not the expert, either get briefed by one prior or better yet, have them participate in the interview. Knowing your facts and developing key message points are not always the same thing. Your message points are fact-based content that you want to highlight. One tactic you can use is to request questions ahead of your interview. You have to be tactful here and be prepared for no. But, if you get the questions ahead of time, do not squander this opportunity to prepare.

Now that you have your facts and message points ready for your interview, know exactly what you want to get out of this interview opportunity. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask the report how their story will be used. Is this a feature on your company or are you being included in a larger piece? Is this a sidebar to a separate story or simply a product mention with a photo and caption?

Lastly, have graphics in the form of charts, photos or infographics ready and in the proper format. When you reviewed the publication, you already made note of the “art” they publish to support their content. Make sure your supporting graphics are ready to be emailed or uploaded. If this is a print publication, they will undoubtedly want the highest resolution photos or graphics you can provide. A jpeg off your website will usually NOT work. We have seen time and time again our client’s interview featured simply because we had the best and most readily available supporting graphics. Just as important, relax. You are prepared and ready for this opportunity. And, if you string a few of these together, you will certainly be viewed as an industry expert.

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Manufacturing Trends to Watch in 2016

As a marketing and public relations firm squarely positioned, and exclusively serving, manufacturers we were intrigued and pleased to see positive predictions for U.S. manufacturing in 2016. Of particular interest for our client Fabrisonic as not only was 3D printing mentioned, but many of the prediction are already reality for Fabrisonic and 3D metal printing.

Reprinted from Manufacturing Leadership Blog

Global Manufacturing to Grow Modestly: Economists and governmental organizations are predicting respectable industrial growth in 2016, assuming that there are no disruptive political or economic events. A 2.6% growth rate is foreseen in the U.S. China and India, although currently in contraction, are seen as faring better, with 6% growth predicted in China and as much as 8% growth foreseen for India. With its economy continuing to recover, European manufacturing growth, while uneven country by country, is expected to grow faster than the U.S. The yet-unknowns: the migrant crisis in Europe, the global threat of ISIS terrorism, and the possibility of more sophisticated cyber attacks, any of which could upset business conditions and damage growth.

 U.S. Election Year Blues: Despite a rise in state-sponsored manufacturing competition from countries such as China and India, U.S. manufacturing will struggle for visibility during the U.S. Presidential election year as terrorism, immigration, and rising income inequality, among other topics, dominate the national political debate. None of the major candidates from either political party have demonstrated knowledge of or a focus on manufacturing. The one bright spot: the selection of the U.S. as the partner country at the world’s largest industrial event, the Hannover Fair, in April in Germany. And the participation of President Obama, the first time a sitting U.S. president will be in attendance at the Fair.

 Manufacturing 4.0 In Action: 2016 will be the year when the much-vaunted theories behind Manufacturing / Industry 4.0 that have been developed over the last few years move into real-life practice as front-line use cases begin to bring to life the opportunities for applying advanced new digital, cyber-physical approaches to plant floor automation and processes to significantly improve manufacturing productivity, flexibility, quality and efficiency. Companies that can serve as role models for others will emerge. And end-user demands for interconnectivity and software standards will intensify.

Small Manufacturers to Fight the ‘Digital Divide’: Concerned that they could fall rapidly behind global competitors with greater financial and other resources, small- and medium-size manufacturing companies will move more aggressively to develop strategies to embrace Manufacturing 4.0 concepts and technologies. For many, this will include modernizing plant floor equipment and moving to state-of-the-art operational systems, including cloud-based ERP systems, to better manage information.