Talking points: How to develop this key marketing tool

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

By Mark G. Auerbach

Let’s talk about “talking points,” those important messages that may describe your product, service, or situation that you must get across during interviews, presentations, and/or collateral materials. Talking points may include: your mission statement, your product or service description, your qualifications, and/or the elements that make your product or service unique. As you develop the list of talking points, you may determine a priority list, from most important to least important. So, as you plan your presentation, you decide which come first.

When you have a list of talking points, they become a framework for your presentation, or a road map to keep you on track, so you don’t get sidelined into conversation that drifts away from your points.


How to prioritize your talking points depends on the situation. First, consider the parameters. Are you doing a long-form, sit-down (or ZOOM) interview with a print reporter? Are you doing a 90-second radio sound byte? Are you making a presentation to a group (who may have a short attention span)? If you have ten minutes or less to make your case, what’s the most important of the points?

Who is the audience?

Second, consider your audience. If you’re speaking before a group of colleagues who know what your business does, some talking points are more important than others. If you’re doing a short radio or TV interview (which might run 2-3 minutes), who will likely be listening or watching your presentation? (You might want to look at that media’s advertising rate card, because that will tell you where the audience comes from, and their demographics, just as a Facebook page’s insights tell you who is clicking).

Third, consider your market. If you’ve got a product or service with a national reach, craft your talking points appropriately. If you’re trying to reach a local marketplace or a niche market, customize your talking points, so they have the best impact on the person you are trying to reach.

So, when the conversation sways, how do you return to your talking points? I’ve been interviewed on behalf of a client, when the interviewer asks something seemingly off the chart. I respond “That’s an interesting question/perspective/idea, but”…and pivot back to a talking point. Or, “I can’t really respond to that, because we don’t work in that particular arena”…and pivot back to a talking point. If you veer too far off the track, it’s difficult and time-consuming to get back on course.


You’ll want to be very familiar with your talking points, but you don’t want to come off as though you’re spitting out something you’ve memorized. So practice enough so that you sound natural but not rehearsed. Also, no matter how familiar you are with your talking points, it’s good practice to always look at them again before going into an interview or similar situation. And, finally, it’s important to realize your talking points might need to be periodically updated as your business situation changes and as new trends emerge that might be worth talking about. So put reviewing your talking points and doing any necessary update on your list of things to do at least annually or perhaps even more frequently.

Mark G. Auerbach is principal at Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, a Springfield, MA, based marketing, public relations, development and events consultancy. You can find more information about Mark at Facebook and LinkedIn. Mark also produces ArtsBeat in print in The Westfield News, on radio for Pioneer Valley Radio and on TV and radio on WCPC15 and 89.5fm/WSKB. He also produces the TV and radio series On The Mark and Athenaeum Spotlight with Guy McLain.

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