How to keep control of your message in media interviews
Media interviews are a brilliant opportunity to get your brand’s key messages across to a mass audience. Whether you are invited to speak to a newspaper, radio or television journalist what you say next could be heard by existing and potential customers. So how – when you’re not in charge of asking the questions – do you stay in control of your message?
Here are our tips on preparing for media interviews:
Research the media or journalist
Before you throw yourself into a media interview make sure you’ve done some research about the newspaper, radio programme or television show. Who is the journalist you’ll be speaking to? What have they reported on before? Do they like to take a particular angle on the subject you’ll be discussing? Will it be a live interview? Having these things in mind will help you rehearse your answers.
Ask what they’d like to know
Don’t expect to be given the journalist’s exact questions in advance but there’s no harm in asking what they’d like you to discuss. If they’re interested in any particular facts or figures you can prepare these in advance. It’s always easier to develop a good report with a reporter if you know what they want to get out of the interview. Read more about techniques for pitching news stories to journalists.
Memorise three key messages
A media interview is an opportunity for you to share important messages about your brand while answering the reporter or presenter’s questions. Prepare three things you’d like to say and memorise them – the shorter and snappier the better. Your aim is to communicate these messages at least once each during your interview. Remember, you’ll have less time to get your points across on radio and television, so this is when being succinct counts.
Acknowledge, bridge and communicate
A good technique for keeping control of your message in media interviews is to acknowledge the question, answer it and link your answer to one of your key messages. You’ll see politicians using this tactic in media interviews all the time. It’s not something you should overuse otherwise it looks like you are avoiding answering questions fully. But it will help you get across what you want to say.