They want to talk to you: Tips for your next media interview

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:

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.