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A News Reporter Just Called: Are You Ready?

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

WHY do you need to prepare for a media interview? We all know the saying…practice makes perfect.  We also know the saying failing to prepare is preparing to fail. It’s true!

You need to prepare for an interview!

If you are NOT prepared you may get nervous and provide the wrong information or come off as flustered. That creates a bad reflection on you and your organization. Your responses should flow easily. This will help you feel confident and in control.

This will help you or your organization become a credible source for future interviews.

OK, Let’s get started…

Before you gather your content for an interview you need to know the topic, as well as the PURPOSE of the interview. You also need to know the media outlet and their audience.

You also need to know WHO will interview you and a bit about their prior stories, articles, or work.

Then you need your content. This includes 3-5 bulletin points worth of information about the interview subject matter. This may also include a quick introduction about you/your organization and your mission or purpose. For many interviews, you can request questions ahead or you can provide suggested questions to be proactive. If you hire a public relations expert this is their job to help you and decrease your workload and a bit of your anxiety about the interview.

Relationship Building Tip

It’s important to break the ice with the person who will interview you so you both feel comfortable with each other. A solid handshake and eye contact is important. Perhaps a simple compliment of a prior piece of their work. Don’t forget! This is Public Relations.

It’s ALL about building RELATIONSHIPS and human connections.

More Tips During a media interview:

  1. If your interview is by phone, SMILE! Your authenticity, positive energy and genuine knowledge of the topic will come through.
  2. NEVER lie to the media.
  3. Credibility is everything for you, your brand, and your organization, AND your reputation.

What Not Say In An interview

  • Do NOT use industry jargon when speaking to the media.
  • Use simple words to convey your idea.
  • If you do not want the public to know about it, do NOT say it.
  • Do not discuss your organization’s financial information.
  • Do not discuss a competitor.
  • If you have nothing else to say in an interview do not babble.
  • Pauses are important. It’s sometimes best to be a good listener.
  • Listening is a tool. Use it.

What is OK To Say During an Interview

  • Information that has been approved by your organization. For example, a press release, fact sheet, bio/CV/resume, statistics on relevant topics within your market/niche are all great documents to prepare ahead of any interviews or a campaign.
  • If you do not know an answer to a question, it’s ok. Offer to get the answer as soon as possible.
  • ALWAYS say thank you. A handwritten or email thank you is very important in building relationships. Send a note the same day as the interview and again when the segment airs or the article or placement hits the public domain.

Here are my final tips for a media interview:

  • Stay positive.
  • Be kind. Be genuine. #BEYOU

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Jennifer McGinley
Jennifer McGinleyhttp://[email protected]
Jennifer McGinley, CEO of JLM Strategic Communications, based in the Baltimore/DC Metro area, helps individuals and organizations increase their connections, visibility, and credibility through strategic and effective public relations programs. Connect with Jennifer via her social media links above.

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