How to make media interviews work for your business
- Posted by Alaia Williams
- On August 8, 2014
If you are about to launch a PR campaign, you will want to make the best impression possible! But media interviews can be daunting, especially if you aren’t used to attention from the media and the public. In this article, you’ll find several tips that will ensure you say and do the right things in front of the media.
Preparation is paramount
All reporters are looking to tell a story that readers can relate to or find interesting. Prior to speaking with anyone in the media, think about the key points you want to make with the reporter and how you want to get those points across. This is known as messaging and is a critically important part of any interaction with a reporter.
Why are you being interviewed?
When you’re being interviewed by the media, it can be easy to forget why you’re being interviewed. Before you go in to the interview, make sure you know exactly why you’re being interviewed. It’s unlikely that you will be speaking with a reporter to provide them with raw data. The more likely scenario is that they are interviewing you to obtain some kind of perspective. Always concentrate on the bigger picture and consider how the interviewer may twist your words.
Sometimes less is more
Good media communication is all about getting to the bottom line as quickly as you can. Your aim should be to communicate the data, facts and then provide backup information after you have delivered your message. To make your message accessible for a diverse audience, avoid using jargon, inside language or slang. If you tell the reporter a story, make sure it’s concise and communicates the points you really want to make.
Never lie to a reporter
One of the worst things a business owner can do is lie to a reporter. This doesn’t mean that you have to bare all. It simply means that you need to remain credible at all times by making sure that everything you say is true. Remember, when media is published online it is there to stay! Being honest with reporters will also reduce the need to correct statements at a later date.
Clear your mind before the interview
Before entering a media interview, spend 10-15 minutes to relax and clear your mind. Shut down your computer, turn off your phone and just sit. Think about whom the interview is with, what you want to say and exactly how you want to say it. Go over your notes and make sure that you enter the interview with a clear, focused mind!
Practice makes perfect
The old adage of ‘practice makes perfect’ could not be truer in the media industry! It can take a while to get comfortable with delivering your messages and reducing them to short well spoken statements, but as with anything, the more you do it, the better you will get. Regardless of which reporter you speak to, local, regional or international, you should follow the same 3 process of knowing exactly who you are speaking to, why you’re speaking them, and determining what you want to say.
Never use the words ‘no comment’
In the media, the words ‘no comment’ are often seen as ways of saying “I’m hiding something” or “I’m guilty”. By using the words no comment, most reporters will want to pursue the question even more. If you are unsure of how to answer a question or cannot discuss it, let them know.
Treat every interview like it’s a big opportunity for your business
Regardless of who your interview is with, someone is interested enough in your business enough to want to talk about it and share your story with other people. Remember, every interview is an opportunity for your business to gain more exposure. You don’t have to accept every interview opportunity that comes your way, but as soon as you’re interviewed by the media, you should view it as an opportunity to communicate your brand message.