In preparing for a storytelling workshop in Asia last week, I spoke with six different journalists from blue-chip properties like Reuters and The Next Web.
I asked a simple question –
How do you prepare for an executive interview?
While each journalist has formulated his or her own approach to due diligence, two common denominators surfaced.
Recommended for YouWebcast: The Art of Growth Hacking: Gaining Early Traction by Doing Things that Don't Scale
They google the executive’s name.
They check out the exec’s LinkedIn profile.
I realize this isn’t exactly a revelation. In fact, when we hosted LinkedIn for a “lunch bucket” a couple years ago, we heard how the company spent considerable time educating journalists on how to navigate the platform … and we were given an upgraded account at no charge.
But here’s where things get interesting.
In my recent talks to journalists, I learned that more than checking out an executive’s background, they’re extrapolating from the executive’s LinkedIn page to make broader judgment calls.
In one journalist’s words:
“LinkedIn is the best place to get a sense of the person, what they did before, their career trajectory. It also tells me how much they want to project themselves to the outside world.”
That one phrase “how much they want to project themselves to the outside world” is pretty darn revealing.
Everyone talked about understanding the executive’s personality and style from LinkedIn. Two journalists went as far as to say they use LinkedIn to qualify an executive before accepting an interview.
For all of these reasons, PR should be guiding executives in applying storytelling techniques to their LinkedIn profiles so they make an impression on the outside world.
For example, 99 percent of people put their current title under their name when the format already allows slots for both current and previous titles. The real estate under the name can be put to better use by sharing something about the role, the person’s passion, etc. You can see example of this in my own LinkedIn profile below.
As a second idea, the summary section is the perfect forum for a glimpse into the executive’s take on thought leadership, not just a laundry list of skills and achievements.
And sharing a personal tidbit or two can round out the profile.
These three changes can transform a drab LinkedIn profile into a preconditioning tool for media relations.