How to prepare for your next media interview: A PR professional’s advice
Preparing for an interview with the media can be a daunting task for many. However, interviews are part and parcel of a successful public relations strategy. And, with the right preparation, they can be enjoyable as well as hugely beneficial to your brand.
Journalists may want to speak to a business’s spokesperson to get more information on a new launch or announcement, for industry insight, or simply to learn more about life in that professional’s shoes. Media interviews should be embraced and can be invaluable in promoting a product or service, elevating your business to become a thought-leader, or setting the record straight on an issue.
A lot of preparation can go into an interview and to help you along, we have put together a list of top tips from a PR professional’s perspective.
Do your homework
In order to get the most out of an interview, it is vital to understand who will be asking the questions. Do some research around the individual journalist – their interests, their usual line of questioning and their knowledge of your industry.
Furthermore, investigate the publication or programme that the interview will be featured in. This will impact the language that can be used in the interview and may inform you on the likely angle the journalist will take.
Understand the medium
Different media require different preparation techniques. Here are some key questions to ask depending on the channel being used:
Radio: Is the interview live or pre-recorded?
Understanding the difference between live and pre-recorded interviews is extremely important. Pre-recorded interviews allow for edits to be made before the interview goes live. Live interviews don’t allow for this so preparing your key messages is vital.
TV: Am I dressed appropriately?
Appearance is obviously key for TV interviews. Outfits reflect the type of business you are representing. Office attire will usually be required on political or business shows, while more casual outfits may be suitable for a daytime chat interview.
Print publication: What are my key messages?
To make the most out of an interview, regardless of the platform, it’s necessary to have key messages prepared. The longevity of online articles means that if you nail your key messages, your SEO and Google search results could seriously benefit from an interview.
Practice makes perfect
Many interviewees fail to prepare for awkward or hard-hitting questions that a journalist might ask.
Rather than simply rehearsing answers to the questions you want to be asked, practice well-thought out and succinct responses to the most difficult potential questions. Particularly, focus on news that’s happening within your industry; it’s important to be prepared to discuss the biggest ongoing news story in your sector.
Relax, breathe, take your time
It’s natural to be nervous before an interview, particularly those that are live. It’s important to remember to take a breath before answering a question. It will settle the nerves and give you time to think about your response. Rather than launching into a rambling answer, consider what key messages you can deliver in your response.
In addition to the tips above, professional media training can be of great help, especially if you are likely to have regular media interview. Comit has a deep understanding of, and close relationship with, the Ireland’s technology and business journalists. We can provide interview preparation for our clients to ensure that they make the most out of an opportunity! Learn more and contact Comit today!