Rock your media interview with these six tips
So, you have sent the perfect media release, and the media is now interested in you and your biz, and wants to interview you. It’s pretty exciting, right? Until you realise that: The. Media. Wants. To. Interview. You.
The excitement soon turns to anxiety. But you need to remember the media – in all its forms – is not really the bad guy. And unless you have done something dodgy (or work in politics) they are unlikely to give you a hard time.
Time for some media interview preparation!
So take a deep breath and take note of these six tips that will help you not only survive the media interview, but totally rock it!
Take your time: It’s vital that you never speak to the media without preparation. Even if a radio station calls you and wants to put you on air. Now. (Which is probably never going to happen, so don’t panic). Just politely decline a suggest and time, at least a couple of hours later. Don’t worry about perhaps losing the opportunity of media exposure. Because no exposure is better than saying something that might damage your brand.
Give a little background: When the reporter calls (or when you call them), it’s great to start with a little background information. This not only helps them understand more about you and your business, but can also lead them to ask you the questions you want them to ask. For example: “Hi Ita, thanks for your interest in my online fashion shop. Did you know we were the first in the country to commission Indigenous artists to design our fabric. And we also visit China a few times a year to ensure we are only working with fabric makers that commit to ethical work practices.” At this point, it may also be worthwhile to ask what angle the journo is following, and whether they will be interviewing anyone else.
Don’t go off the record: Let me just say this one: There is no such thing as “Off The Record”, except in Hollywood. A good journalist will know that while the Code Of Ethics (yes, there is a journalist Code of Ethics. No need to be snarky) means they have to keep confidences (including “Off the record” comments), it doesn’t mean they can;t keep digging to find someone who is happy to go on the record. In fact, “off the record” is often used by those leaking information, who don’t want to be the one quoted in black and white.
Preparation makes perfect: Use your time to put together three or four key messages and stick with them, and always refer back to them if the interview is going somewhere you are not comfortable with. This is particularly important if you are doing a live television or radio interview, and you don’t want to get lost for words. Part of your preparation should also be checking out the journalist and their news organisation, which will help you get an insight into a possible angle.
Give good 15 second grab: Putting together your key messages will also help you give good “grabs” (or quotes) to the journo. Keep these to about 15 seconds and you will be considered “good talent” , which will not only mean this interview will run smoothly, but the journo might even come back to you as an expert for a future story. You can also buy yourself time by repeating the journos question while you collect your thoughts.
Presentation: If you are going on TV, get that haircut you have been putting off, and maybe a new outift (any excuse, right?). But don’t worry too much about what you might look like on air – as long as it doesn’t dilute your message. Anjd even if you are doing a phone interview for a newspaper or radio in you PJs, make sure you the “ums” and “ahs”, speak slowly and correctly.
Hopefully these tips will mean that when the media asks to interview you, your media interview preparation means you can be excited, without the anxiety!
Till next time