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How to Prepare for a Media Interview

Posted by Media Relations on Thursday, February 16th, 2006 - Comments »

You wouldn’t dream of turning up to a job interview without conducting research into the company and taking some time to mentally prepare yourself. So, why unleash yourself on the media without performing the same due dilligence?

If you say the wrong thing in a job interview, you sabotage your chances of getting the job but at least your embarrasment is confined to the interview room.

If you say the wrong thing in a media interview, not only do you risk sabotaging your company’s reputation and your own credibility, but you also have to face ongoing media coverage and archives that never go away.

Here are a few tips on how to prepare yourself for a media interview:

Understand the publication

  • What topics does it cover?
  • Are there any regular columns or sections that would be a fit for your company?
  • Who is the target audience?

Understand the journalist

  • What kind of articles does the journalist usually write?
  • What is his/her writing style?
  • Has she written about your company/topic in the past?

Develop a key message point

  • What is your key talking point for the interview?
  • What evidence do you have to support your message?
  • What kind of questions do you anticipate the journalist will ask in response?

Integrate keyword phrases

  • What are the buzzwords you associate with your company, service or product?
  • If your prospects were to search for you on Google, what phrases would they use?
  • What image do you wish to project for your company?
      • Eg. IBM reseller v IT architect – there is power in description!

Remember the “Pyramid”

  • Present your information like the journalist writes
  • Always begin with your main point, then flesh out

Never say “no comment”

  • The last thing you want is for the journalist to think you are hiding something (even if you are!)
  • If you would prefer not to discuss a topic, explain why – “we respect our client’s confidentiality”
  • Instead of saying “I can’t tell you that,” provide substitute information: “but what I I can tell you is…..”

Never repeat a negative

  • If the journalist asks you a negative question, respond with a positive statement

Use Blocking & Bridging Techniques

  • If the conversation is taking you in the wrong direction, use phrases like the following to get back on track:
    • I think what you’re really asking is…..
    • That speaks to a much larger issue…

Be Honest

  • If you always tell the truth, then there is never anything for you to remember!

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