As a TV producer and host, and a PR/publicity professional and magazine publisher, I have been on both sides of the interview table.
I understand what makes a great interview source, how to conduct a fascinating interview, and how to give a compelling interview. A few tricks of the trade can make you look like a pro — making the reporter’s job easier and most likely translating into a better publicity opportunity.
Here are a few essential tips to follow:
- When a publicity campaign generates a media response, try to respond as quickly as possible to the initial contact and subsequent requests from them. Reporters, editors and producers, and show hosts are on a constant deadline. They will move on to another source if they don’t get what they want from you quickly.
- When doing interviews, present only the facts, and leave out the fluff. Never try to sell your product or service directly. State the specific benefits of your product or service and how you can help your customers solve their problems.
- Speak in sentences, not phrases.
Articulate your answers in the following manner: Subject — Verb — Object — Reason.
Ex: “We (subject) are launching (verb) our new product (object) to give consumers a healthy new option in beverages (reason).”
This will help you give answers that are straightforward and easily understood. Beginning sentences with phrases tends to make your answers seem drawn out, disjointed, and, most times, unresponsive. This is not to say you should never begin a sentence with a phrase.
- Keep quotes and sound bites concise.Effective TV and radio sound bites should be no more than 10 seconds — That’s why they are called sound bites.
- Be a well of knowledge, not a fountain.
Allow the interviewer to draw out your responses instead of offering unsolicited information. Most interviewers know what points they want to convey to their audience, so let them ask the questions. You will seem more genuine and less self-serving if you answer the interviewer’s questions succinctly and professionally. This is especially true when being interviewed about a problem your company is currently experiencing.
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