So you have an interview lined up with the media. Now what?
Well, you definitely don’t want to be unprepared for it. Typically you’ve probably done your research on the reporter to get enough to know what they cover but we always recommend covering your bases (and your a**) before the interview. Here are a few best practices that your PR person AND you should know before your interview.
- Research the reporter – Do your due diligence and get background on the types of articles the reporter has written before. This will also give you a feel of the way they view news and any potential direction they may take with the story that they are creating. It’s good to get a gage on the type of voice so that you can get in front of what they may ask you instead of being surprised.
- Ask for questions in advance – There is no harm in prepping for any interview. Go ahead and ask the reporter if they have questions planned for the interview in advance. If they don’t give you questions, they may give you direction in what to prep for. If they don’t give you any of that. Use your research to create questions of your own and answer them in preparation of what you may be faced with during your interview.
- Draft key messages – Everyone has an agenda and you should too. Make sure you are able to get 3 key messages across in your interview. There’s has to be something you want to communicate (or else why are you in this call/meeting). So jot it down early, fine tune the message and deliver it before you get off the call. Reporters will typically ask at the end of the interview if there’s anything you want to add, go through and make sure all your key messages are checked off.
- Create a Call to Action –At the end of every interview, we always have a call to action. Our call to action is usually to send over the press kit or resources that were discussed during the call. Anything to make the story flow easier and quicker. What do you want from the reporter? This is the time where you can even ask about the timeframe of when the story may come out. Be gentle, as they don’t always have control over timing.
- Follow up with the reporter –Last but not least, make sure to follow up. This is relationship building 101 here. Follow up with more resources, follow up with information or follow up just to thank them. They are people after all and just like you, they took time out of their schedule to interview you. You’re a few feet closer to media coverage, so a thank you note is never a bad idea.
With these few tips, you should be able to ace any interview and get what you need. While you may not always get coverage out of every interview, see it as a chance to build the relationship. The better the relationship, the more likely you are to have them revisit you for a chance for coverage in the future.
Have a broadcast or in-person interview? There are a few different rules for those, stay tuned for tips on those in the near future.