Be Prepared for Anything When It Comes to Media Interviews

You’ve written the press release, pitched media your story and now a journalist wants to interview you.  The story WomanBeingInterviewedcould be a feature on you and your business or it could be a trend story a journalist is considering including you in.  Either way, much like you would for a job interview, you have to be prepared for anything when it comes to the media interview.

One great example of this is a client of mine Interview Angel founder Brent Peterson.  My firm recently secured him an interview opportunity with the Wall Street Journal.  The journalist had a job search/interview trend story in mind regarding crazy interview tactics (hoops candidates jump through for a job) that companies take to find the right candidate.   She had a specific angle that she wanted Brent to comment on and we pitched his response to her.  When she was ready to write the article she interviewed Brent who did discuss the things he’d initially responded with but also gave her another angle that was informational and generous on his behalf.

The angle Brent provided was about candidates volunteering their way to a job, which the journalist closed the article with.  What was so generous was that he provided a real life anecdote of someone he hired on a volunteer basis to help create and promote the Interview Angel Sweepstakes.  He not only promoted his business in the article but this young man and the sweepstakes all in one of the country’s top newspaper/online outlets.  Brent followed his conversation with the journalist carefully and found a unique opportunity for his business.

Did he take a risk by going off topic?  Maybe but not before making sure that he covered the specific angle the journalist was working on.  All in all it benefited her story and made it that much more interesting for job seekers.

Being prepared to handle anything in an interview means knowing your business, industry and journalist’s story angle inside and out.  It really truly is like interviewing for a job.  You have to take time to research and prepare before any kind of interview; to be able to speak wisely on your business and industry while communicating key messages,  other story angles that might be of interest and know the conversation can go in several directions.  Once you’ve met the journalist’s needs you can afford to go off topic.  After all, you’re just having a conversation with a journalist and as long as it’s related to the story it can go anywhere.

And practice makes perfect!  Print out what you want to say – story angles, key messages – get in front of a mirror and practice, practice, practice.  Most importantly, remember to speak in short, valuable soundbites that the journalist can easily use as a quote.

And…you will create media opportunities that will truly benefit your business!

Jennifer Fortney, Cascade Communications and

Follow me on Twitter for daily SMB and SMB PR Tips @SmallBizPRXpert


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