The media wants to talk to you, and why not — you’re an expert! (Aren’t you? Of course you are.) Coverage is great, but interviews can be a little nerve-wracking, especially if you haven’t worked with the media much. Here are a few guidelines to help get through — and even enjoy — the experience:
Be prepared It’s a lot easier to relax when you’ve done your homework. Prepare by:
- Researching and gathering material: Have relevant facts, figures, and research at your fingertips.
- Thinking ahead: What’s the story about? What questions will the reporter likely ask? Prepare and practice answers to these questions.
- Crafting your points: You want certain messages in the story or segment. Be sure you know what these points are and how to articulate them in context of the story.
Be available The media works on deadline — sometimes a very tight deadline. Do everything you can to work within a reporter’s timeframe. Considering the value of media coverage of your organization, it’s worth it to rearrange your schedule for them. The more accommodating you are, the greater likelihood you’ll gain future coverage.
Never lie Don’t prevaricate. Don’t mislead. Don’t stretch the truth. Don’t fudge. If a reporter catches you in a lie, it will 1) make you look really bad, and 2) permanently ruin your credibility with that outlet – and others. Besides, if you can’t look good without lying, you’ve got problems that PR can’t solve.
Don’t answer if you aren’t sure You’re only human. You don’t know everything, and that’s OK. But be sure to give a reason why you can’t answer a question: “I don’t have all the data I need to give you a good answer. Let me check on it and get back to you.” Then, follow up.
Relax. Be yourself. Have fun. Working with the media should be fun — you get to talk about your key issue or pet project and you benefit from inexpensive, objective exposure. If you’ve prepared sufficiently, relax and enjoy yourself.