Good news: you’ve been offered the opportunity to represent your company, and strengthen your market standing, in an interview with the media. Whether the opportunity comes from a pitch made by your PR team, or from an inbound request, this is a great position to be in.
However, are you ready to maximise the opportunity to positively benefit your company’s reputation and ultimately, improve its commercial outlook?
5 steps to prepare for a media interview
1.Know what the journalist wants to talk about
This is media engagement 101. Understanding in advance the parameters of the interview will allow you to refresh any hazy memories and gather relevant examples, company data, or market insights. Sometimes, the journalist may have given you an idea of their intended questions. If not, your PR team will have sent a brief with some likely questions and talking points. Read and consider this long in advance of the interview itself to increase your chances of a successful interview.
2. Make sure you can talk about it – or draft someone else in
Having considered the likely nature of the discussion, work with your PR team to ensure that you are well placed to discuss the topics with confidence. Old company material, previous media engagement on a similar topic, and company databases of case studies can all be useful. However, if you feel out of your depth with the topic, it might be beneficial to swap in a colleague with more relevant expertise.
3. Read up on the outlet
All good PR teams will brief you on the media outlet you’ll be talking to, and help you to use this knowledge to inform your interview strategy. But ideally you’ll also have time to familiarise yourself with the outlet, it’s coverage and tone. Outlets targeting directly consumers and the general public (‘B2C’), such as national and regional newspapers, will welcome generalised and relatable market views and statistics. Industry and trade titles, by contrast, are B2B. Their readership is more sector-specific and as such, technical detail will go down well – and sector jargon will be more welcome.
4. Bring data
Statistics and data won’t fail to go down well in an interview. Numbers make great headlines and give the journalist something tangible to deal with – as well as cementing your company’s standing as a respected commentator with hard data to back up its market insights. Again, consider the type of outlet you’re dealing with and bring data and statistics of relevance to its particular audience to add colour and depth to your answers.
5. Read the news
Finally, taking the steps above will ensure that you are well prepared. But – as the saying goes – always expect the unexpected. There is always a chance that you will be asked something you are not prepared to answer, or that you will end up in a difficult situation.
However, something you can do to prepare for somewhat unexpected questions is simply to keep abreast of topical developments in your industry and wider society. Your PR team will brief you on recent news stories of relevance either to your company, or to the proposed interview topics. Setting your answers out in the context of another story making the headlines can be a potent way to ensure editors give your interview a prominent placement.