Are you ready for a media interview?

January 3, 2011

If you run a small business or non-profit, getting earned media about your cause, product or service is more valuable than purchased advertising. It has more credibility with your audience and it’s free! Making the most of your media opportunity takes a bit of preparation. Here are a few tips.

1. Be prepared – In most cases you don’t need a PR professional to come up with a few key messages you want to get across in an interview. Don’t have more than two or three and write them in short sentences. Rehearse these messages. Don’t memorize them or you’ll sound phony. Just practice speaking in short sentences using the messages as your guide. You want to use short sentences because in an edited interview, your message is more likely to stay in tact if you don’t ramble.

2. Stop the interview – If your interview is recorded, know that you can stop the interview and ask to repeat your response to a question if you didn’t get it quite right. If you ended up rambling or you state something factually incorrect, ask to do the question over again, explaining why. I’ve never had a reporter begrudge this request. It’s not something you want to do repeatedly but certainly fine on occasion.

3. Don’t read from notes – If you’re doing a phone interview or radio show, it’s okay to have a few key messages in front of you as a reminder but don’t read from notes in an interview. It doesn’t sound natural and you’ll risk not truly responding to the interviewer’s questions because you’re using your notes as a crutch. Know your stuff, practice ahead of time but then treat the interview as a conversation.

I came across an great blog the other day on media relations by Brad Phillips. Visit Mr. Media Training for heaps of information and tips.

For other posts in my blog on the subject of media relations see:

Media relations basics still apply
Fundraising event not getting coverage? What’s your story?
Media relations 101
Media promotion for nonprofits doing sensitive work

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