When You Come To The Interview Remember To Bring How to Conduct an Impactful Media Interview

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How to Conduct an Impactful Media Interview

This news has been given to the media and now they are calling for interviews. Do you pick up the phone and start talking? No. Take a few minutes to read this article and learn some techniques to ensure your media interview is effective.

Preparation is the key to a successful media interview. Think of it this way – would you get on stage and present to thousands of people without preparing your thoughts and fine-tuning your message? Hopefully not. You will spend some time reviewing your notes, checking your appearance, and remembering your key points. Think of your media interview as a presentation to a large group of people. Even if you can’t see it, hundreds or thousands (possibly millions) of people will read the article, listen to the interview, or watch the clip.

Ok let’s start with some basic methods of preparation.

1. Write your three key messages. At the end of your interview, what three important points do you want the reporter and the audience to remember?

2. Build your interview around these key points. Return to these points when asked questions that are “off message”. Use them to get out of sticky questions. Example – While this is a good question, I want to note the important thing to remember… insert the key message.

3. Determine which media outlet you are speaking with and the average length of an audio or video clip or story length for print. If it is radio and the interview is for a short news story, keep your interview short as they will only use 10-30 second clips. If it’s television or video, you can speak for 60 seconds in the story.

4. Tailor your message to meet the needs of the media outlet’s audience. Is it a local news outlet? National? Is the audience your peers or the general public? Each media interview should be unique, tailored to the needs of a specific audience, versus repeating the same information in 10 different media interviews.

5. Take stock of your appearance. Solid colors are best for video interviews. No crazy patterns or logos (unless it’s your own company logo). For women – no clunky jewelry or exposed cleavage. And for men – button up your shirt and empty your pockets so you’re not tempted to fumble for your keys.

6. Don’t rush. Stick to your three main points. That way when your comments are edited, what appears in the story will be on topic.

7. Thank the reporter. Very few people take the time to say thank you.

Once the story goes live, review the coverage to see how well you delivered your message and identify how you can improve for future interviews.

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