The inside scoop on working with talent

Posted on: October 23rd, 2012

Much of our work at Stellar* Concepts involves working with ‘talent’ celebrities or people with expertise in their field who act as a spokesperson or an ambassador for a client’s brand or campaign.

We’ve pulled together some ‘pearls of wisdom’ about working with talent, taken from our collective experiences over the years, including working on Taste of Sydney, Grand Designs Live, Katy Perry for ghd and Dita Von Teese for Cointreau, to name just a few:

  • From the outset, clearly outline what topics the talent is prepared to talk about. They may not wish to discuss aspects of their personal life. Ensure this is communicated to the interviewer sensitively and diplomatically prior to the interview to avoid instances like this one: ‘The questions Christina did not want to answer’.
  • Take the time to research your talent and share a bio with the interviewer to avoid the same repetitive set of questions being asked over and over again. Are there any interesting or unique insights about the talent that you can share with the interviewer that may not have been covered before?
  • Vetting media that may not be appropriate for particular talent is another important consideration. While it may be attractive to put talent in front of top-rating breakfast presenters, they may be uncomfortable with their approach or line of questioning. Some international talent may have had a bad experience with one media title in an overseas market and will not be prepared to work with the same title in a different market.
  • Consider your intended audience. It’s tempting to go for a high-reach outlet but you may be better off targeting niche outlets with an engaged audience that are more likely to be receptive to the message your  talent is trying to convey.
  • Be mindful that most media outlets will generally only conduct one interview. If your talent has been interviewed on the breakfast program of a radio show, it’s unlikely that the drive time presenter will also be interested. Competing media outlets may require exclusives.  If your talent was interviewed in a monthly magazine the year before, don’t rely on the publication to feature them again.
  • A lot of talent may also have pre-existing alliances with particular networks or media outlets. This will directly impact with competing titles.
  • Where possible, try to obtain advance questions, so that the talent feels fully prepared. If you are unable to get questions ensure your talent has some basic media training or experience before putting them in front of a journalist.
  • Provide detailed briefing notes a couple of days prior to the interview so that the talent has time to properly digest the nature of the publication, its readership, the brand’s key messages etc.
  • It’s not always possible to have a direct line of communication with talent – often there are times you will need to liaise with agents or managers. Bear this in mind when meeting media deadlines.
  • If you are setting up a full day of media interviews, ensure that there is time allocated to allow for unexpected eventualities, – like traffic – and make sure your talent gets chance to eat and take a break! The timings of radio and TV appearances are fairly rigid. It’s crucial to be on time, if not ten minutes early. Similarly, ensure talent is on time for photo shoots, as news photographers in particular are generally very busy and do not like to be kept waiting (turning up late can impact the likelihood that coverage will appear).
  • For phone interviews (particularly radio), try to get the talent to a landline phone to avoid background noise and black spots.


Manu Feildel

Do you have any additional insights about working with talent that you can share?

Posted by Georgia McKay

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