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How to nail a media interview

For entrepreneurs and business owners dealing with the media can feel both daunting and exciting. You’ve put in the hard work and now the media are interested in your story. Or maybe you want to establish yourself as the go-to person in your industry. I always advise clients to be fully prepared for this moment by ensuring they are up to speed with the campaign project or announcement that has generated the interest from the media.

For small business owners who are juggling all aspects of their business, this won’t be an issue as you’ll be super invested and know the announcement/ project inside out. However, for larger organisations where there are lots of moving parts, it may be the case that the most senior person will need a full briefing and media training on the topic. Or another individual in the organisation may be more suitable to give the interview, this happens a lot with larger organisations as it makes sense to put forward the most knowledgeable on the said subject for the interview.

However, for this blog, we’re going to assume you know your project well and can talk about it at length.

Print media interviews:

For interviews that appear in print, so your newspapers, magazines, and online media, you’ll either get journalists that will email you their questions and you can fill them out and return them, or you’ll get a journalist that wants to conduct the interview over the phone or face to face (rare these day as everyone is so busy). I’ve arranged many interviews for clients in this way, particularly my overseas clients.

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Broadcast interviews:

For broadcast media so that’s your TV and radio outlets it’s a different story, firstly it may be the case that you are asked to attend their TV or radio studios or the nearest studios to you that they are linked with. Both are time sensitive so you need to be able to communicate your story message in a clear and succinct way. If you get a TV interview be mindful of the clothes you wear and colours and noisy jewelry. Be presentable but most importantly be yourself.

Online interviews:

With everything going digital it won’t surprise you that some interviews are conducted via Skype or zoom, in fact, I recently didn’t an interview with Canadian media out all via Zoom. Again, be aware of how you present yourself and relax.

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8 Top tips

  1. Be ready and prepared – do your research on the outlet(s) requesting interviews
  2. Check out the journalist’s style of reporting so you are not caught off guard
  3. Prepare a Press brief and bullet point your key messages for your story (keep them brief) and add in any helpful statistics (one side of A4)
  4. Listen carefully to questions
  5. Remember to give clear answers that include your key messages (more often than not for broadcast they’ll just take a couple of soundbites from your interview)
  6. Stay on message with your brand – remember why you’re doing the interview
  7. If you get any difficult questions you can’t immediately answer it is fine to say ‘can I get back to you on that’ -rather than give out the wrong information
  8. Relax and enjoy it – you wanted to get media coverage – here it is!

Lastly, don’t take it personally

Remember with media interviews you only have control of what you say, so make it count. Don’t be disheartened if you spent 10 minutes talking to a reporter for a TV or radio interview to only hear or see 1 minute of your interview shown. That can happen and as news is very reactive sometimes so your time slot can be chopped to accommodate other news. The main thing is that you got the coverage and managed to get your top key points across.

What would you add to this list? Leave your comments below. If you want more info like this check out my online DIY PR course.

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5 Tips for getting your business media coverage

So, you want to read about your business in the news, great, I don’t blame you. Media coverage can be a great boost for your business, and can help to build credibility, awareness and conversion rates. Therefore it’s understandable that business owners see the benefit of media coverage.

But how do you go about getting some media coverage for your business, there’s hundreds of thousands of businesses all looking to get their names out to the public and there are thousands of media outlets looking for news, but just the thought of that can feel overwhelming. You might have PR on your to do list and it has turned into a task that you are constantly putting off. Or maybe you’ve tried to secure some coverage for yourself and not had much luck. Well here are five tips for you.

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  1. Is it newsworthy?

I’m a straight shooter, so I’ll get straight to the point, before you spend lots of time on trying to do a big PR push, firstly let’s look at what it is you want to tell the media about. Asking yourself if your story is news worthy is the first point of call. What may interest you might not interest a journalist and their readers.

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  1. Research

Spend some time going through your local newspaper or the relevant publications in your industry to see what kind of stories they cover and see if you can create something similar for your business. Research media outlets that cover your industry and your competitors.

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  1. List building

Following on from your research start to build a mini media list for yourself of those outlets that cover your area. You can always introduce yourself to local media so they know they can come to you on particular stories.

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  1. Think of the readers

Most of the time when clients come to me they are relying on my expertise to highlight relevant media. However, I have come across a few that have their media wish list of titles that they want to be featured in. This can be fine if it fits, however on a couple of occasions the outlets have been a total mismatch for the business. Make sure you are pitching to the right audience and at the right level.

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  1. Don’t be salesy

We don’t like the cheesy sales reps so don’t turn into one yourself, if you have a story idea pitch it to the journalist, be honest and helpful – don’t overdo it and don’t pester. If you send them an email, you can chase up, but don’t turn into a stalker.

 

Have any tips you can think of? Leave your comments below and don’t forget to check out this video on how to get media coverage.