For most small businesses, an interview with a journalist to promote your product or service is a welcome opportunity to grow your business and get valuable media exposure. Other times, an interview with a reporter is necessary to help correct wrong information the public has about your business. Whether your interview with a journalist is at your invitation or their request, you must prepare for the interview so that your message is delivered and heard.
Many people are uncomfortable speaking to the public - especially on camera! Whether you are comfortable with public speaking or you're a newbie, there are actions you can take in advance to prepare for a media interview with a journalist.
Media Interview Checklist
- Confirm the topic you'll be discussing.
Ask in writing what topics you'll be covering during the interview.
- Define if its a print or broadcast interview.
Find out if the interview will take place in person, on camera, on Skype, or live broadcast and where it will be published or broadcast.
- Google the interviewer.
Research the journalist conducting the interview, and find out what previous stories they've covered, if they have a particular interest or viewpoint, and if other subjects consider them a fair interviewer.
- Define your key messages.
Determine what points you want to get across before the interview begins.
Then practice, practice, and practice some more.
- Never lie.
Always tell the truth during an interview. If you don't want to answer a question, simply say you prefer not to answer. A lie will always catch up with you, and do more damage than the truth or not responding at all.
- Don't use industry jargon.
Industry terms and abbreviations may be everyday conversation for you, but chances are good the public who hears or reads your interview won't understand your jargon. Use clean, clear language to make your point.
- Don't say something is off the record after the interview.
If you don't want to talk about a topic, before the interview clearly define with the reporter if something is off the record. If it is not agreed to be off the record, then assume it is on the record.
- Don't keep talking when the mic is on.
We've all seen it - when a subject is caught saying something inappropriate when they assume the mic is off.
- Don't ask to approve an interview before its published.
If you agree to give an interview, you are giving the journalist the right to share your comments without your edits.
Media Relations Training helps you find your voice and prepare to talk with the media before a microphone is thrust in your face. It will help you identify who is the appropriate media spokesperson to promote your business, and who should speak if your business experiences a communications crisis. Media relations training prepares you to work with the media and communicate your key messages so the public hears what you want them to hear.
Media training is an essential skill for every professional involved in business relations. A positive relationship with the media can be instrumental to building and managing your brand's reputation. Whether you have a product that needs promotion or a communications crisis, Alchemy Communications media relations training is vital. Our media training provides your team with coaching and practice to deliver your message in a clear, honest and positive voice – even under pressure.