Benefits and Risks of Appearing in a ‘Profile Piece’

Is it a smart idea to try to push the opportunity for a profile-raising article in a trade publication or magazine about yourself or the boss of your organisation?  Sometimes these are pure personality pieces about high-profile individuals, or a ‘CEO interview’ which can position you as a forward-thinking leader in your field, focusing on trends in the sector and where things are going in the industry.  Or, it might be more of a business feature about your organisation as a success story (or one under threat).   These are often long-form interviews, an hour or more face-to-face rather than a fifteen-minute phone conversation. Think of the ‘Lunch with the FT’ feature if you are a reader of the Financial Times.  As it’s more in-depth, you need to put in more preparation and thought beforehand.  There is time to go into things in more detail, potentially exposing weakness or getting on to topics you don’t want to discuss.  You can also find yourself being asked personal questions about outside interests, family life and so on.  You have to decide whether you are willing to be drawn on this sort of thing; if you clam up you will appear very defensive.  Such interviews can be a great opportunity, however, the risks are real. If you don’t make the right impression on the reporter, you could be painted in an unflattering light. Prepare carefully what you want to say! 

 (Adapted from the book The M-Factor by Tom Maddocks)