Getting on the news (for a positive reason) can be a big opportunity for a small business. Though it is a great opportunity to get your name in front of thousands of people, it’s not something most businesses prepare for in advance. Sometimes you’ll have some advance notice of the interview, but in other cases there’s little time to prepare.
The exact process for an interview may vary a bit depending on whether you’re being interviewed for television news, radio, or print, but the basic approach is the same. Whether you have a few days or less than an hour’s notice for the interview, these tips can help you prepare.
Understand the context
Ask the interviewer in advance to brief you on the overall story. See who else they’re interviewing and what sort of content they’re looking for from you. They may even have a few questions they can send you in advance. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! The more you ask, the more of a grasp you’ll have on what to expect.
Know your key points
Next, ask yourself what you want to say and how you want to say it. Sit down and write out the key points you want to make, then practice saying them out loud. You could even grab a colleague friend to help you practice if needed.
Think in sound bites
A good rule of thumb is to keep it short and simple. Most television, radio, and print interviews will include narrative from the reporter and then quotes from different individuals. You want to make sure you offer them plenty of opportunity to use quotes from what you say. Think about easy sound bites that they can use instead of lengthy examples or rambling thoughts. It’s hard to do when you’re nervous, but the more you can keep it short and simple, the better chance of your key points making it in the story.
Keep it conversational
When someone puts a camera or microphone in front of your face, it’s natural to get a little nervous. Take a deep breath and try to think about the interview as a conversation instead of an interrogation. The reporter wants to understand the issue at hand, and you’re someone who can help with that. Be confident and conversational.
Dress for success
For on-camera interviews, wear something professional yet comfortable. You don’t want to be fidgeting with your clothes or jewelry while on camera, so keep it simple. Solid colors are better than busy prints or stripes when going on camera.
With some focused preparation and a few deep breaths, you can walk into a media interview with confidence in your message to create some positive attention for your business.
If you have an upcoming interview and need help preparing, reach out to the StoryPath Communications team to talk about some media coaching.