When you aren’t used to being in the spotlight, media interviews can be a daunting and sometimes stressful prospect. But that doesn’t have to be the case, and that is where we come in. As one of Ireland’s top tech PR agencies, we can show you that with a little skill and savvy, you can turn an interview with an intrepid reporter into a PR coup, turning you into a thought leader and increasing your brand awareness.
Here are our top tips for getting the most out of media interviews:
1. Keep calm and carry on
Don’t panic- a journalist is just a person at the end of the day! Don’t immediately assume that an interview is going to be a third-degree interrogation- journalists just want to get to the bones of a story and you are the key to it. Marketing guru Philip Kotler has proven that consumers are five times more likely to be influenced by editorial copy than by advertising, so it really is imperative that you have confidence in yourself and your business. You know your facts better than they do, and that is why they want to talk to you.
It may seem obvious, but you should make a concentrated effort to really listen to the question that is being asked. In the way they phrase the question, the journalist will often give you a clue as to what they want to hear in the answer. Keep it simple and be aware of your audience. Try to avoid going down the rabbit hole of using excessive tech jargon.
Also, it’s important to be polite and friendly and to maintain a professional focus. Be careful not to get carried away or tell too many jokes. You don’t want to be taken out of context!
2. If in doubt, LEAVE IT OUT!
There are two types of media interview- proactive; where you pitch yourself to the media, and reactive; when a journalist cold calls you out of the blue for your reaction to another news story. It’s a good idea to ensure that your business or brand has a defined key message that all spokespeople in the organisation are familiar with. This is especially useful when you don’t have time for a considered or prepared statement and helps to protect your and your brand from possible negative press.
Always take your time when you’re speaking to the media, and if you don’t know the answer to a journalist’s question, simply say so. You can always draw them back in line with your messaging by reaffirming what you do know.
It’s also important to remember that “off the record” is simply a matter of trust between a journalist and their source. So, unless you are CERTAIN that you can stand over what you are saying, don’t say it.
3. Fail to prepare - prepare to fail
It is crucial to you and your brand to have a clear methodology for dealing with the media. This is especially important when you do not have time to prepare your statements or responses, and simply have to give answers. To that end, it’s important to have facts and figures on hand to support your stance and be prepared to back up your comments. Assume that anything you say may end up as a lead story with your name and quotes included. Thus, take your time when talking to reporters- don’t ever wing it or let down your guard!
Finally, if you are focused on a niche market, it’s important to remember your audience. Often, the decisions makers in an organisation and the people you want to reach out to aren’t technical professionals themselves, so it’s critical that you adjust your language and avoid jargon so that the audience can really relate to you and follow what you are saying.
If you would like to find out more about how we at Comit can help you deal with upcoming media interviews, you can contact us here.