5 virtual media interview tips for smashing online broadcasts
While the Zoom family quiz may not survive the pandemic, online media interviews are here to stay. They have helped journalists bring expert knowledge to their viewers, listeners and readers with such ease that it’s a wonder they weren’t used regularly before the ‘new normal’.
For businesses, being able to speak to reporters and record interviews from any location means more opportunities to share your key messages without using up a large chunk of the working day.
But, where there’s technology, and quirky filters, there’s always the chance of a mishap.
Here’s some virtual media interview tips to help you make the most of news opportunities, even if you are sat at your own kitchen table.
Practice your key messages
Media interviews come about because you have a story to tell or you are being called on as an expert.
Whatever the scenario, spend some time preparing your key messages before you go online. This will help you focus on the things you really want to say to promote your brand.
You can even prepare some basic prompts and pop them on your desktop. Just remember not to look away from your camera too much.
Here’s some more tips for staying in control of media interviews.
Know the platform
If a journalist wants to speak to you on a video platform you haven’t used before make sure you log on in advance.
You may need to create a profile and familiarise yourself with the settings.
However, don’t feel like you have to use the platform they suggest. If you are happier on Zoom than Teams, say so. Reporters will be used to chopping between different platforms or may be able to suggest a guide to get you set up.
Whatever you settle on, always test your connection, audio and microphone before the interview. Close all apps and programmes you’re not using to make sure your device and internet connection aren’t overloaded when the call starts.
Get camera ready
Put on an outfit you’d wear for a face-to-face media interview. Also think about your background. If you don’t have the proverbial lockdown bookcase, make sure what’s behind you is tidy and won’t cause distraction.
If you are doing the call on a laptop, prop it up it on a few books. Your camera should be eye level so the journalist and their audience aren’t looking up your nose.
Also think about your lighting. Too much light behind you will put your face in shadow.
Minimise the chance of interruptions
This one is easier said than done, especially if you are working from home.
Let everyone know what you are doing so they don’t accidentally walk in mid-interview.
If it is possible, ask partners, family or housemates to go for a walk.
Perfect your online performance by making sure you’re not on mute, by looking directly at the camera and not rushing.
If you need a moment to consider your answer, acknowledge the question. You’ll hear correspondents and interview pros doing it all the time by starting their response with something like “you make an interesting point”, “yes, it’s incredible news” or “that’s an important question”.
At this point, focus on those key messages you practiced earlier.
If you or someone in your business would benefit from more media interview tips we can help. Amplify PR coaches business leaders for news opportunities and runs media skills workshops for teams.