The news release was issued to the media and now they are calling asking for an interview. Can you pick up the phone and begin talking? No. Take a few minutes to read this guide and learn some techniques to be certain your media interview is impactful.
Consider it this way – would you step on the stage and give a presentation to tens of thousands of individuals without preparing your ideas and fine tuning your message? Hopefully not. Think about your media interview as a presentation to a large group of people. Even if you can not see them, hundreds or even thousands (possibly millions) of people will read the article, listen to the interview or see the clip.
Okay let’s get started with some basic strategies to prepare.
1. Write down your three important messages. When you’re done your interview, what are the three important points you want the reporter, and audience, to recall?
2. Formulate your interview around these key points. When asked questions which are”off message” go back to these points. Use them to transition from sticky questions. Example – while that is a good question, I want to stress what’s important to remember is… insert key message.
3. Determine what media outlet you’re talking to and the average amount of audio or video clips or story length for print. If it’s television or video, you could get 60 seconds of you speaking in the story.
4. Tailor your message to meet the needs of the audience of the media outlet. Is this a local news outlet? National? Is the audience your peers or the general public? Each media interview ought to be unique, tailored to meet the needs of the particular audience, versus repeating the same information the same way in 10 different media interviews.
5. Take account of your appearance. Solid colours are perfect for video interviews. No crazy patterns or logos (unless it is your own company’s logo). And for guys – button up your shirt and empty your pockets so that you are not tempted to jingle your keys.
6. Stick to your three important points. This way when your comments are edited, what appears in the story will be on topic.
7. Thank the reporter.
Once the story is live, review the coverage to see how well you delivered your message and identify how you can improve for future interviews.