Media interviews are a great opportunity to showcase your knowledge and skills in order to build your public reputation. One of the most important steps to nailing that interview is preparation, so here are five tips to help you prepare for your next media interview.
Know Your Audience.
Take the time to get to know the media outlet’s demographic before your interview. Most trade and business publications include this information in the media kit on their websites, but if it’s not there, ask the reporter to share that information with you prior to the interview. Understanding the audience will help you tailor your message in an effective way that sufficiently delivers key points.
Know the Reporter.
Similar to how reporters do research on attorneys before the interview, you want to spend time getting to know the person asking you questions. Read some of the articles the reporter recently wrote so you get an understanding of his/her writing style and issues that are most important to them. This will also help to build rapport with the reporter if you’re able to reference an article he/she wrote. The better you know the reporter, the smoother your interview can go and could potentially create an opportunity where they want to interview you again in the future.
Know the Topic of Discussion.
Often reporters will share a few questions or a broad outline of what the interview will cover so you can prepare. If not, take the time to do some research on the topic so you know your facts and can feel confident for the interview.
Have a Sense of What You’re Going to Say
Once you’ve done your research about the topic of discussion, then begin to have an idea about your responses. Write down your key messages that you want to portray and refer to those notes throughout the interview to ensure that you are staying on topic. If you get asked a question during the interview that you cannot answer, try to gracefully steer the discussion back towards the messages that you want to communicate.
Think Before You Speak.
Once you say something, the words cannot be unsaid. If you are speaking about a particularly sensitive topic, be careful about the wording you choose. You do not want to say something that could negatively impact your business or self-image.