Super Bowl Media Interviews: How to Manipulate What a Reporter Writes

Gerard_Saints_Quote-350x257How often do you do a media interview with the intended goal of having a specific quote used by the media?

It is one of my intended goals for every media spokesperson in every media training class I teach, and here’s why…

Every reporter writes their story around your quote. And guess what? You can manipulate their edit by writing, practicing, and delivering your quote perfectly.

Why leave it to chance? Why throw out lots of marginal quotes for a reporter to select from when you can plan a quote that is guaranteed to be used?

As a public relations expert, what would be your Super Bowl victory?

How about having a front page headline quote?

Here is the inside story on how I scored a front page headline quote when the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl in 2010…

and how you and your spokespeople can learn to do the same thing.

The best Media Training teaches you that effective communications happens when you plan your quotes before your media interview. You must practice your quote to the point that you have internalized the words and you know that you’ve created a truthful, natural sounding sentence. Next, you must flawlessly deliver the quote to the media.

Out of a crowd of one million people, I created a real-life one in a million quote. My headline quote read, “We have endured the American nightmare. It’s our time to live the American dream.”

When the New Orleans Saints went to the Super Bowl, the story for all of the media was that after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the Saints recruited quarterback Drew Brees and coach Sean Payton. Both were moved by the city’s destruction and dedicated themselves to rebuild New Orleans and lead our NFL football team to a Super Bowl victory.

After our team’s victory came the victory parade. That’s where I come in with a plot to be a one-in-a-million quote on the front page of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Logic says a profound quote by Drew Brees or Sean Payton should be the quote of the day. Instead, the best quote appears to have come from, as the paper called it, “parade spectator Gerard Braud.”

Knowing that Hurricane Katrina was the back story and that all news reports were focused on the compare and contrast of destruction versus victory, this meant a great quote would need to illustrate this compare and contrast.

The first version of the quote was, “We’ve suffered the American nightmare. It’s our turn to live the American dream.”

While this is a pretty darn good quote, you must parse your words carefully to make it a great quote.

  • Step 1: The word “suffer” needed to be replaced with the more uplifting word “endure.”
  • Step 2: The word “turn” implies entitlement and should be replaced with word “time,” since such a victory represents a unique moment in time.

With those careful edits, the quote became, “We’ve endured the American nightmare. It’s our time to live the American dream.”

 

 

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