On occasion, you may have the opportunity to speak with the press on behalf of your business. An interview can give your company a boost in public exposure and even increase revenues. To take full advantage of a press opportunity, it is important that you practice preparing for a media interview.
There are many positive occasions or situations which may prompt a media interview. You may receive a call from the press for the following:
- Your recent press release about a new product
- Your company was involved with a positive public service
- You are considered an expert in your field
- Your company just celebrated a key anniversary
There could be negative instances for press calls as well, such as a public customer complaint about your business, legal action against your company, etc. These interviews are even more critical than the feel-good, positive interviews, as you must do damage control during your airtime.
Whether the press is due to positive or negative issues, you must make extra time for media interview preparation.
Do Your Homework and Research
It never hurts to ask ahead of time what questions a reporter or media representative will ask. By obtaining questions upfront, you get exactly what you need to prepare for a media interview.
With questions or topics in hand, you can jot down ideas and make a small list of points you wish to make. You don’t have to memorize an answer. In fact, it is best not to memorize your responses in case the reporter asks a variation of a specific question. Preparing with a summary list, and keeping it with you during the interview, gives you the preparation you need to respond without being impromptu.
If you are new at preparing for a media interview, you may not want to contact Time Magazine, but rather start small with a local newspaper or trade magazine.
Practice, Practice, Practice
There is much benefit in setting up a mock interview as part of your media interview preparation. Sit down with your spouse or a trusted work associate who can ask you questions. Practice delivering your responses so you feel comfortable and your answers flow smoothly.
You want to dress professionally, particularly if you are being interviewed for television or are having photos taken for print. Whether it is for television, radio, or print, you are the representative of your company, and you may be a valuable and trusted expert. Look the part.
Try to Influence the Interview
Remember, you want to put your business in the most positive light possible. Preparing for a media interview also means staying active during the interview process. Certainly, you want to be assertive and introduce yourself and perhaps make a little small talk with an interviewer to become more comfortable. By establishing rapport, you can help direct focus on the points you wish to make about your company and frame answers in a positive light. Keep eye contact with the interviewer. Stay calm and focused. Be cooperative, and your interview will shine.