Media interviews are an important part of any public relations campaign. They are a great way to promote a company by highlighting its products, services, and successes. Because any size company, from entrepreneur to holding group, can benefit from media interviews, being prepared will boost confidence and help your company get the most from its media experiences.
Here are a few tips on how to prepare for a media interview:
Understand the Publication
Ask your PR agency to send some information about the publication including the topics it covers, it’s target audience and circulation. Ask for sample articles that have been published for another company within the same industry. This will help you understand their style so that you can direct your tone accordingly.
Watch, Read, Research
Find out more about the journalist who will be conducting the interview. Make notes about their style, attitude, audience, and previous stories. Based upon what you discover, try to anticipate how the reporter might approach your interview, and be prepared.
Get the Latest
Meet with someone in your company’s marketing department, or someone who has a pulse on the current issues surrounding your company, to find out more about the product or service you will be speaking about. Don’t forget to gather information that may be helpful in refuting negative claims or work to reinforce a positive image.
What’s the Point?
Establish and memorize two to five key talking points that you want the audience to take away from your message. You will need to have a thorough understanding of these points, and you should ensure that you are aware of any potential surprises the reporter may have in store.
Discuss your Interview with the Reporter
Prior to an interview, you may have the opportunity to speak with the reporter and go over some background information. It is important to use this time wisely in order to anticipate questions you may be asked. This could also work to your advantage if you are able to influence the reporter’s questions.
Practice, Practice, and More Practice
Practice your interview with a colleague or consultant. If the interview will be on audio or video tape, put a camera in the room so you can be comfortable speaking in front of one to avoid being caught off guard.
Keep your Answers Short and Simple
You don’t want to be answering only “yes” or “no”, but you also don’t want to drone on and on about a complicated subject that the audience will not understand. Speak in a manner that is appropriate for the audience and do not use technical or professional jargon that may be confusing or come off as patronizing.
Confidence is the key to a successful interview. The audience or the reporter will sense any hesitation, so remember that you are the expert. It’s why you were chosen for the interview in the first place.