Media interviews are an important tool for your business to create positive media exposure. They can increase your company’s visibility and allow you to position your spokespeople and your brand as thought leaders in your space.
Media interviews also let you to turn the media’s attention to issues you know to be significant, but it’s important to know how to conduct yourself once a journalist’s tape recorder is turned on. Interviews can go terribly wrong (ask Prince Andrew!), which is why Eskenzi PR has compiled a list of Dos and Don’ts to help you prepare.
Here’s our top tips… Use them wisely!
READ YOUR BRIEFING DOCUMENT
Before any major tradeshow or press interviews, your PR team will provide spokespeople with a briefing document. Make sure you read this document, as it will have information on the journalist and publication you’ll be meeting with. Also, will include a schedule with important timings.
DO YOUR BACKGROUND RESEARCH
Read the publication your journalist writes for and last articles they wrote to understand their style and areas of interest. Also, do some industry research to know what the ‘hot topics’ are.
Have confidence in what you’re saying. You’re the expert and that is why the journalist is speaking to you.
Be yourself and treat the interview as conversation with a friend rather than a corporate driven speech.
BE ON TIME
Press time, especially at tradeshows, is very tight so always be on time or if you know you’re running late let your PR person know so they can rearrange or delay the journalist.
PREPARE YOUR MAIN TALKING POINTS
Try and think of three key points you want to get over to the journalist about that all-important product launch or company announcement.
Journalists like to know who your customers are and how they are using the company’s solutions, but always make sure they are happy for you to mention them to press.
Sometimes there will be questions that you don’t have the answers for, rather than making up responses that could get you into hot water, say to the journalists you’ll find out and get back to them asap.
Although the journalist is there to hear you speak always make sure you listen to what they have to say and the questions they ask. If you don’t understand their questions ask them to repeat it, don’t get caught out by not understating what they are looking for.
Sometimes journalists don’t get all the information they need on the first meeting or call. Be prepared and available for further calls and offer more information if needed.
SAY ANYTHING ‘OFF THE RECORD’ OR THAT IS ‘NOT TO BE PRINTED
Remember whatever you say has the potential to be printed, so please refrain from saying anything you know would be contentious or would.
INDUCE DEATH BY POWERPOINT
Try NOT to simply run through a long company PowerPoint presentation.
ASK TO REVIEW THE ARTICLE BEFORE IT GOES TO PRINT
This will annoy any journalist. It looks like you don’t trust them and question their journalistic integrity. If you have followed the rules, there should be nothing written out of context.