Here’s to the contemporary era, were every brand, be it individual or an organisation must take advantage of public relations (PR) and publicity to sell their brand and what it represents. One of the tactics you can use to accomplish this mission is through media interviews, it helps to put a human connection to the brand.
A media interview is a positive opportunity, whether planned or catches you off guard in public. You are the focus of the interview and any unique insight or knowledge you share gives you an edge of credibility that can serve your business or personality.
Heard of the quote, “The questions don’t do the damage. Only the answers do” by Sam Donaldson.? This tells you that anything you say during a media interview is what will be reported to represent your brand and business.
Successful media interviews are 95% preparation, 5% improvisation If you are to emerge successful from media interviews, you need to consider
• Extensive preparation
• A clear idea of what you want to say and how you will say it
• An ability to take control rather than just stick rigidly to the journalist’s line of questioning.
Keep in mind to sound natural, with succinct memorable sound and take control. If you have interesting messages or answers you can subtly but confidently move from the journalist’s agenda to your own.
Below are some detailed tips that might be beneficial to you or your organisation to ace your media interviews.
Define your goal & messaging: Defining a goal larger than the interview itself will help you get motivated and stay on track. Your messages should be positive and impactful and should resonate with your audience.
Anticipate the Journalist’s strategy: Every journalist and media house have peculiar interview styles. If you have a planned interview, your PR or communication person assist you with a brief about the journalist, media house or the particular show. Watch excerpts of interviews with the particular journalist to build your confidence.
Think before you speak: Journalists work on the basis that anything you say can be reported – so it’s up to you to set the rules! However, when it comes to “Off the Record” – journalists won’t always abide by this rule! If you don’t want it reported – don’t say it!
Cover your agenda: Preparation is essential, and this must include an understanding of why the interview is taking place, so you should ask the journalist a couple of questions before the interview. Make sure you’re succinct and detailed when given the opportunity to talk about your organisation or personality. This is your opportunity to tell the brand experience to stakeholders.
Never lose your cool: If the interview is not going your way, it’s crucial to remain calm. Do not take anything personal, no matter how hard a reporter might try to poke you into answering uncomfortable questions or lead the conversation in a direction that will provoke you into giving newsworthy sound bites- remember you’re always on-record.
Be on time: If your interview is either in a studio or virtual, you need to be there on time, this gives you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the journalist or presenter and other crew members, it also provides and opportunity to have relevant discussions that will guide your conversation.
Emphasise Your Key Message at the End: Take advantage of the frequently asked “Is there anything else you’d like to add?” question at the end of an interview to emphasize your key messages. People pay keen attention to the beginning and end of every conversation or interview.
After the interview, if an error is made, consider whether it would be wise to ask for a correction if it wasn’t live. If it was, you can issue a statement to the media house for correction and they will be glad to help,
Make your brand presence count in 2023 through strategic media partnership.
By Phoebe Pappoe
The writer is a PR Consultant