The ball is in your court now and it is up to you to make the most of it.
It is a good idea to think about your interview in three stages – before the interview, during the interview and after the interview – so you are well prepared.
Before the interview:
- Know the audience and objective – Try to develop an understanding of the audience for your media interview. It is worth looking into the publication or program. Read some articles the journalist has written or watch a program they have produced so you can understand their style. Take a brief from the journalist on what information they are looking for and the format of the interview (if it is over the phone, one-on-one, live or taped.)
- Set your agenda – Before you undertake the interview you should prepare a game plan which should cover key issues, possible questions and your answers for each possible question. It is important to write your game plan down and if possible, keep it with you at the time of the interview.
- Prepare your key messages – Think about the critical messages that you want to communicate. Key messages are the core messages you want your audience to hear and remember. They create meaning, headline the issue and allow you to control the interview. Your key messages are what you must say and get across in the interview – irrespective of what questions the journalist asks. With your audience in mind, and focused on your objectives, you should work out in advance of the interview what you must say on the topic concerned and how you can bridge to your key messages.
- Practise – After your initial preparation, you should do a practice interview. Spend at least 10 minutes going over your key messages and answering the questions from your game plan. You can also practise where to look during a media interview and how to control your body language.
During the interview:
- Dress appropriately – It is always good to dress up professionally during face-to-face interviews. For TV interviews wear solid bold colours and avoid distracting patterns.
- Keep control of the interview – To ensure you maintain control of the interview, don’t just answer the questions. Your objective must always be to communicate your key messages. Use the questions as an opportunity to bridge to your key messages. Take some time to collect your thoughts and then answer.
- Don’t say “no comment”- Never say “no comment” as it suggests you are evading the question. It may be interpreted as a cover up. The rule of thumb for responding is to explain why you can’t respond at this time, and move on to one of your key messages. Also, if the journalist says something wrong, correct them politely and immediately. Saying “no comment” in such situations can often imply confirmation of allegations.
- Don’t use jargon – Every industry has its own jargon. Don’t assume the journalist and the audience are trained in your specific area of expertise. It is unlikely they will understand your jargon. Always communicate in language they will understand
After the interview:
- Express gratitude and follow up – Always send a thank you email or make a quick phone call to the journalist who interviewed you. Also, ask if they need any additional or supporting information and ensure that it reaches them on time.
- Share It! Being quoted by the media gives credibility to you and your business, so use this to your benefit. Let your internal & external stakeholders know about your article or media appearance on your business blog, social media profiles, newsletter, and in meetings.
- Learn from the experience – Analyse if there is something that you could have done better. Note down points that you think need improvement so you can address them in your future media interviews.
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Sydney Public Relations Agency, CP Communications provides specialist media, traditional and online PR strategies that get amazing results. Contact us today. For more great tips visit our website www.cpcommunications.com.au.