For the past two decades, I’ve helped clients from all industries make news through journalist interviews at a wide variety of media outlets.
If you have an interview coming up, there are several best practices you should follow so you’re ready to give reporters your most compelling insights. Your goal is to provide reporters with dazzling quotes so your thought leadership dominates their news stories.
Here are 10 tried and true tips for acing a media interview:
Best Practices for Live TV or On-Camera Interviews
- Work with your team to identify all the potential the questions you may be asked. Review your answers. Write the answers down, especially if the answers might spur unwanted follow up questions. Be prepared for the positive as well as the negative types of questions.
- Be sure your expert being interviewed is dynamic, engaging and and is confident conveying a good story in short soundbites.
- Most people don’t realize how much power they have to control an interview. Power begins with knowing your key message and having the ability to craft that message as a reply to any question posed to you.
- Often, a reporter will fail to ask the question that leads to your primary message. Someone who is confident in controlling an interview will be ready to take charge and direct the conversation so your primary message gets covered.
- Act like you’re eager and ready for anything — in fact, sitting at the edge of your seat can be your own power pose, showing your host you’re ready to engage in the conversation.
- Refer to your interviewer by name. It’s polite, shows your respect and feels more engaging and genuine. (Have you ever noticed that most celebrities promoting a movie or album rarely call their interviewer by their name? I feel the distance between them when that happens.)
- Be prepared to answer “Is there anything I missed?” Please, please, please don’t answer “No, we’re good.” There is always something more to say! Nearly all reporters ask this question and it’s a great opportunity to repeat your value message and direct your audience to your website to buy something, schedule a consultation, or make a donation.
Best Practices for Interviews by Phone or on Zoom
- Points listed in #1 – 7 apply to all other interviews too. Preparation is the key to a successful interview, no matter what format! Know your goals in reaching your target audience. Know your key message and be ready to explain the call to action for your audience!
- Since you’re on the phone or on a zoom camera, you have the luxury to script any messages. Print out or jot down on note cards the key points you want to make. Keep those notes in front of you so you can glance down at them. It can be stressful doing an interview, whether it’s live or recorded, so take advantage of notes on your desk to ensure you fully convey all key points.
- Smile! You can always hear a smile in someone’s voice, and you’ll become more pleasant and approachable to interview and listen to.