The Relevant: Lessons from Leonardo DiCaprio on handling broadcast PR interviews

Beyond thanking his The Revenant co-star Tom Hardy and producer Alejandro González Iñárritu, it’s what he went on to say that struck a chord: “Making The Revenant was about man’s relationship with the natural world – a world we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year on record.

“Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow. Climate change is real, it’s happening right now, it’s the most urgent threat facing our entire species…”

Boom! He delivered one of the most crucial social / environmental messages amid his acceptance speech. How? He made it entirely relevant. It didn’t feel forced, out of place, nor did it make anyone behind the scenes cringe with I can’t believe he just said that.

As much as I’d love to do PR for climate change, I work with SMEs which have everyday business issues that qualify for broadcast interviews.

Here’s how to secure accreditation and promotion without it seeming forced.

Overt plugs are for basins, not broadcast publicity

Lucky enough to secure a TV or radio interview? First rule of engagement is that you’re not supposed to blatantly plug your product or service, unless directly asked. Generally, we all know this much – the show’s producer or your PR will normally make this known.

The consequences are clear if you break this rule. Not only will you sound out of place and overly keen to sell, but you’ll never be invited back on air. It will have the reverse PR effect. And no, I don’t believe there’s no such thing as bad PR.

Why spending a lot on marketing doesn’t always deliver results

Troubleshooting

There are a few safeguards to ensure you are properly accredited. You or your PR must be able to ascertain in the first instance that your opinion will be accredited, otherwise “no deal” with the media outlet. Suggest a caption title text to run alongside you with your name and business details – it’s not always guaranteed this will happen, so be proactive about it. 

Secondly, make sure the producer / presenter can correctly pronounce your name and that of your business. I cannot tell you how often I’ve seen unhappy interviewees with misquoted names and business titles. Do it behind the scenes with email clarification, accentuating any unusual pronunciations (while waiting in the green room) or even on the phone while waiting to be connected to the presenter live. If you’ve covered this base, there’s less chance of it going wrong.

Continue reading on the next page for the three remaining tips that will enable you to deliver Oscar-winning interviews.


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