Getting media attention for your business or organization can seem daunting, especially if you aren’t used to talking to journalists or you don’t know much about the media industry. But it’s easier than you think! Read on to learn how to give your best media interview so that your story can get told and shared with thousands or even millions of people.
Know What You Want
Before you do anything, you need to know what you want. Before agreeing to an interview, sit down and write out exactly what you hope will come of it. If possible, try to write out an ideal script for your conversation—this will help give you direction if things start getting off track. Make sure that every interview has a purpose; it could be as simple as ‘to increase your name-recognition in the media.’
Before The Interview
First of all, you'll want to review your talking points and get comfortable with them. A good place to start is with your elevator pitch. If you're an expert on a particular topic, you've likely given it more than once—to friends or family at cocktail parties, for example. Practice it so that when a journalist calls out of nowhere, you don't need time to think about what you're going to say. This doesn't mean memorizing every word; just make sure you have your story down cold—and be ready to give at least three compelling reasons why someone should interview you about that subject.
Before you have an on-camera interview, you'll want to inform your boss and colleagues that you're speaking with a journalist about something work-related. They may want to know why, too; is it because of an upcoming project? Did you do something newsworthy? They might need more information or they might not care. It all depends on your company culture and how much media attention your organization is comfortable with.
During The Interview
Pay attention, because things are about to get hectic. It’s your moment in the spotlight, and you want it to be perfect. Here are a few tips that can help you give your best media interview: be enthusiastic, practice ahead of time, smile, maintain eye contact and focus on getting your message across without seeming too canned or rehearsed. Finally, remember that interviews are meant for you—not for interviewers. Answer their questions succinctly but don’t feel obligated to address something they bring up unless it pertains directly to your message.
For written interview requests, listen carefully and ask questions. Ask them about their deadline, what they need from you and whether or not you’ll be able to edit your response. If they ask any difficult questions, don’t be afraid to request a follow-up conversation. And remember: Just because a reporter is calling doesn’t mean that you have to respond – it’s ok if an interview isn’t a good fit for you at that time.
After The Interview
Don’t forget to thank your interviewer. Many people do, which is a terrible mistake. A simple email or phone call thanking them for their time can go a long way in creating a positive impression and will help you secure more interviews in the future. Remember, journalists need sources! So when you have a great experience with someone at a media outlet, it’s important to let them know you appreciated working with them and that you hope they can feature you again in their publication or on their show in the future.
Also, make sure you are recording your interview, or have established that the outlet will provide you with a copy!
Here is to growing your name and brand for years to come.