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How to Give Great Media Interviews

How to Give Great Media Interviews

Getting publicity for your business through the media can be incredibly effective. It positions you as an expert and provides third-party credibility for your products, services and entrepreneurial success.

In a recent blog, we shared five tips to help create buzz for your business, suggesting steps to get the media interested in you and your story. Once you start reaching out to journalists, you never know when an interview opportunity will pop up. Here are eight tips to make sure you are ready when the media comes calling.

  1. Know your story.

    Establish the most important points you want to communicate and any supporting facts before you give an interview. PR professionals refer to this information as “key messages.” These core ideas help journalists shape their stories. They should also be the most important things you want the audience to hear and remember.

  2. Practice answering questions out loud.

    You will often have an idea of the types of questions a journalist will ask in advance of the interview. This is especially true if you suggested the story. There’s also no harm in asking because reporters and editors want interviews to go well too.

    “Spend some time thinking about how you would answer their questions,” suggests Christine Payne, who started her career as a journalist and has since spent more than 15 years in PR. “Practice your responses out loud. It may feel strange the first time you do it, but it will improve your confidence and you’ll become a better spokesperson too. I also recommend recording yourself so you know exactly how you look and sound. You’d be surprised at how much this can help you prepare for your moment in the spotlight.”

  3. Drive home three points.

    Throughout the interview, emphasize a few of the messages you think are most important. This will help provide clarity for journalists. It also improves your chances of having these particular ideas included in their story. Be sure to vary the way you share this information so you don’t sound repetitive. Tip #2 will help you become a pro at this.

  4. Smile.

    In most interviews, you will be sharing exciting news about your business and latest accomplishments. Or perhaps you are being called upon as an expert to discuss a new retail trend or comment on something that has happened in your industry. By smiling as you speak, you will always seem warm and sincere, even on radio.

  5. Don't rush when you respond.

    Think about discussions you’ve had with people who speak really quickly. Do you find it hard to understand what they are saying? Sometimes, you may even ask them to slow down or repeat themselves.

    When you are being interviewed, treat it like a conversation and do not rush. This makes it easier for journalists to hear you and keep the interview moving. Those who take notes will find it easier to quote you accurately. And, in broadcast interviews, it makes editing and using your comments easier too.

  6. Be precise and concise.

    When answering questions, try to get to the point without rambling. This works best if you go into your interviews well prepared, so be sure to follow tip #1. By giving clear, brief answers, you will make it possible for consumers to read, hear and understand what you’ve said. As a result, they will be more likely to remember you and your business.

  7. Treat everything you say as "on the record."

    Every conversation you have with a journalist – whether it is before, during or after an interview – could become part of the story. The media is trained to bring any topic to life and colourful information helps provide context and excitement. Treat all of your comments as fair game for reporters to use. Do not say anything that you would not want to see in print or hear in a recording or broadcast.

  8. Always say thank you.

    Just like your customers, journalists are people too. Thank them for their time as warmly as you thank those who buy your products and services.

    “Be sure to reach out after you’ve seen or read the story that features you or your business,” recommends Christine Payne. “Thank them for their time and offer to be a source for future stories. You can also offer to make introductions to other experts who the reporter may find helpful in their work.”

    Being prepared, confident and helpful will build your profile as a successful business owner and as a source for the media. By following these tips, you will be ready and prepared every time the media comes calling.