So your public relations strategy has gone well thus far and you have finally landed the interview with a member of the media. Congratulations. But it’s not all smooth sailing from here. Without a plan for the interview, things can head south rather quickly. By not being prepared, you run the risk of being misquoted, wrongly identified, being left out of the article entirely, and even being portrayed negatively.
You not only need to be prepared for what you want to communicate but you also need to anticipate some of the questions the journalist is likely to ask. By researching the publication and learning about the target audience and reading articles written by the journalist, you will be better equipped for success.
Some basics not to be taken lightly:
- Make sure to spell your name and provide your title and company name in the beginning of the interview. It is best to provide it in writing prior to the interview in an email if possible. Speak slowly and clearly. Remember the journalist is likely writing down what you are saying rather than recording it.
- Be prepared with key message points. These are three to four simple but salient points about your business that you want the journalist to understand and include in the article. Write them down and have them in front of you for the interview. For example, an industry leader trying to maintain its market stronghold may state, “We were the first to market with (name product or technology) and have 80% market share. Our leadership is owed to our (give three points that show why you are the leaders).”
- Keep a company background sheet with key dates and company facts in front of you as well for quick reference. To gain extra mileage from the interview, offer images or graphics and include the company’s URL.
Remember! Practice makes perfect so rehearse the interview ahead of time with sample questions you anticipate and prepared answers.