The phone rings, and a journalist is on the other end of the line. Your organization caught their attention, and they want to set up an interview. You set up a time and date, thank them, and say your goodbyes. You’re excited, but one question crosses your mind: How can you make this media interview a success?
Things are constantly changing in the media landscape! However, there are still ways to ensure you share your vision in a clear and concise way with the reporter. Here are three of our top tips on making the most of your next interview.
Know Your Message Front to Back (and Back to Front)
Before your media interview, hone in on the message you’re trying to convey. Are you sharing the basics about your organization? Promoting a new endeavor you’re launching? Is the interview about a recent win? The journalist you’re working with may tell you specifically what they’d like to cover, but if not, choose a few key points and practice, practice, practice.
Answering the Who, What, When, Where, and Why questions about your message in a brand-conscious and positive way should feel like second nature to you! If you have a clear message in mind, you won’t get stuck in the middle of your interview trying to remember your key points or get bogged down in hypotheticals and speculation.
Utilize the K.I.S.S. Principle
The “Keep it Short and Simple” or “K.I.S.S.” principle is a well-known theory in product design, but it is also extremely useful for media communications.
When answering questions, make it your goal to respond in one minute or less. Snappy and memorable “sound bites” are both social-media friendly and will ensure at least parts of your message make it on air, even if your interview is cut short. These types of responses also help keep your listeners’ attention from wandering while you talk.
The other half of this principle can be a bit more difficult, depending on the field you work in. However, you should do your best to avoid industry jargon, and never assume your audience has “baseline” knowledge. Capture their attention by giving your conclusion at the beginning of your response, then support it with concise facts in layman’s terms.
Stay Focused on Your Target Audience
You may be tempted to view the journalist in front of you as your audience, but don’t fall into this trap! The journalist you’re speaking with is simply the vehicle to your audience
Try to keep your target audience in mind—their questions, concerns, likes & dislikes, demographic, and any other distinguishing features they may have—while answering questions. Not only will this make your answers more relevant to the listeners who really count, it will help them feel more engaged, as they will feel you are really speaking directly to them and their specific needs.
Looking for more interview tips? Check out our 10 Do’s and Don’t For a Great Interview.
Media Coaching and Guidance From a Trusted PR Firm
Full Court Press is a PR firm near San Francisco with over two decades of experience in media relations. We’ll help you gain experience and confidence for your next media interview through our one-on-one or team coaching and training services.