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How to Prepare for a Media Interview

We posted recently about how to get your business mentioned in the media. If you missed that post, check it out here. If you took our advice and managed to score a media interview, congratulations! Now it’s time to prepare for the interview.

As soon as you learn that the media wants to interview you confirm the topic(s) they want to discuss with you. Whether you sent them a press release in advance or they are reaching out because they need an expert to comment on a story, you want to know exactly what they are looking for so you come off as a pro rather than someone who just showed up and is unsure of themselves. If you have time before the interview ask the interviewer what types of questions you should be prepared for so that you can have answers in your mind and so you can research if you don’t know something.

“We always suggest that our clients have three or four key messages, or talking points, that they really want to convey in an interview,” said Julie Heidelberg, president of Heidelberg PR, Inc. “Developing these message points ahead of time helps you prepare and clearly identify the most important facts to share with your audience.”

If you will be on television make sure to wear a solid color shirt and avoid busy patterns as this will distract from your message. Don’t wear flashy jewelry and refrain from bright bold makeup. For more on what to wear on television click here. For radio and phone interviews have notes for reference if needed. If you will be talking on air make sure that you hydrate before hand to avoid a scratchy throat. Some people find that hot tea with honey lubricates their vocal chords perfectly whereas others are just fine with water. For print interviews (i.e. newspapers/magazines) ask your interviewer if you will need to be prepared for a photo and again have your notes and talking points ready.

Try to practice in advance as well. Ask yourself some anticipated questions in the mirror and answer them as clearly and effectively as possible. Your answers should be fairly short – think sound bite! If you have someone who can ask you questions and do a mock interview that is even better! Make sure that your message is not coming off as too filled with jargon and acronyms, and that people will understand what you want to say.

Confidence goes a long way in creating a successful interview, and the best way to be confident is to be prepared!

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