When a journalist reaches out and asks to interview you, how do you prepare? The process leading up to it can be exciting yet nerve-wracking, even if it’s not your first interview.
We’ve helped organizations like Meyer Memorial Trust, Consano and Cascade Alliance prepare for interviews with national and regional media. Here are three of our best tips to make sure the interview goes smoothly and that the end result is content you can promote across your website, social media and other stakeholder communications. We recommend that you follow these steps to make sure your responses are polished and that you make the best use of the journalist’s time.
Research the Journalist
To begin, it’s crucial to understand who the reporter is and what topics he or she covers. Read their recent stories to get a sense of their writing style and identify any issues they may ask about. Their bio can help you identify any commonalities you may share–did they grow up in your hometown or do they share the same hobby? Tidbits like those can help break the ice and make you feel more comfortable in the interview.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Journalists often won’t send questions in advance, but that doesn’t mean you can’t practice before an interview. Write out 5-10 likely questions and ask a colleague to help by playing the role of the interviewer. As you answer, weave your main message and talking points throughout.Although it can be intimidating, it’s also a good idea to record yourself via audio or video. Play the recording back and hear where you stumbled or were unclear. Then practice those questions again. And if you record yourself on video, take note of your posture and keep your hand movements natural.
For more advice on answering tough questions from reporters, check out this blog by Mac Prichard.
Ask the Journalist for Interview Details
Setting the stage will help you prepare and feel comfortable. Ask the journalist in advance if the interview will be recorded via audio or video, if a photographer will be present, and how long the interview will last. Knowing this information will make sure you’re ready and will also use the journalist’s time well.
Prichard provides media trainings across all platforms such as radio, TV and web interviews. We also provide crisis preparation, press kits, talking points and other media materials. Interested in learning more? Let’s talk.