Doing a media interview no matter how small the outlet requires preparation.
As the saying goes – , “fail to prepare – prepare to fail”.
If you don’t have a lot of experience doing media interviews, then it’s essential that you prepare well. I always advise that you start with a non-confrontational or “friendly” encounter, on a subject that you are very familiar with. That way, you can build up your confidence and show your knowledge and insights.
In this blog, here are my Six Steps to Prepare for a Media Interview.
- PREPARE AND WRITE DOWN YOUR 3 KEY MESSAGES.
What is it you want to say? Gather your points on a piece of paper or write on a screen in easy to follow points – bullet points are better than long sentences. And don’t even try to go beyond 3. That’s the most you will get to.
- WORK OFF A PRESS RELEASE IF POSSIBLE.
This is a pro-active rather than a re-active interview. Ensure you know why you are doing this interview – giving information or advice? Promoting a product or service? Responding to some news?
- DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Gather your facts, your figures and your stories – good anecdotes or stories to give examples in interviews with a journalist. ALSO research the programme you are going on or the journalist you are speaking to – what is the style of the publication/ programme?
Do a dry run with someone you trust. Particularly important for broadcast interviews but also for print. What questions are you likely to get asked? What questions do you not want to be asked? Get the phrases, the stories right. Most broadcast interviews are done on the phone – so arrange a phone call with someone to experience the interview this way.
- ASK QUESTIONS.
When approached by a journalist to do an interview, you can ask them questions such as – What’s your deadline? Will an email response suffice (if print?). Can you send me an email with the question areas you want to cover? If doing a broadcast interview on local radio, for example, will it be live or pre-recorded? Will there be someone else on the interview as well? Will the presenter be taking live questions?
- YOU CAN DECIDE NOT TO..
if you think you are not prepared. Because not being prepared could lead to mistakes. Tell the programme or journalist you can’t do it today (or at one hour’s notice) – but could be available at another time. Sometimes you do not have the time and that’s okay.
I hope those steps are helpful and encourage you to do media interviews.
We provide a bespoke “Dry Run” media preparation service, in which we put you through the real experience of a media encounter, for print, radio or TV.