Education • Smart Start: Media Interview Best Practices • 5 MIN READ

Smart Start: Media Interview Best Practices

Written by Maria Marchewka

Smart Start: Media Interview Best Practices

In this guide, you’ll learn about the best practices you can leverage to make the most of your media interview experience.

What's a media interview and what are the benefits?

Simply put, a media interview is an interview with a media person for the sake of publicity. Media interviews are intended to build brand awareness and share knowledge and opinions with the publication’s audience, whether it’s via television, print, radio, or online.

For small and midsize companies looking to make a name for themselves, media interviews are a powerful way to build brand awareness and showcase their expertise in their respective industries.

Clients that are part of our Press Release Optimizer (PRO) program know first-hand the positive business outcomes generated by media interviews and by turning owned media into earned media.

Whether it’s your first interview or you’ve done more than you can count, it’s always a good idea to brush up on best practices so you make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.

In this guide, we’ve highlighted seven tips you can use to knock your next media interview out of the park.

Media Interview Best Practices: 7 Tips to Consider

Understand the Why

Why? This is a question that no matter the situation will help you uncover important details that’ll put you in a position for success.

When it comes to your media interview, ask yourself, why am I being interviewed?

Are they looking for a trend or investigative piece? Will your insights be part of an overarching piece, or is it a solo interview? How can you create the most value for the target audience?

The answers to these questions and more will help you better prepare for your media interview because you’ll be able to frame your approach and messaging to connect with the target audience of the publication.

Do Your Research

The research phase is perhaps the most important step of the media interview process. This is your chance to dot every “i” and cross every “t.”

Prior to your interview, take time to read through or watch the interviewer’s past interviews. Doing so will give you a good idea of the tone and types of quotes they typically pull from their interviews. Next, take to the social channels of the interviewer and their publication and read through the comments on their content. You’ll get an idea of who makes up their target audience and what they’re interested in. This information will help you adapt your responses and position your brand accordingly to create a common link with their audience.

Decide on Talking Points

A fear that people commonly share is having their minds go blank when it comes time for an interview or speech.

It’s lights, camera … crickets.

But that doesn’t have to be the case when it comes time for your media interview. To avoid a situation like this, it’s important to decide on talking points based on the information you’ve gathered from the interviewer and your research.

Once you know the topic and angle of the interview, you can define the key messaging points you absolutely want to cover during the interview.

Identifying these bullet points will keep you grounded should you find yourself stuck and also put you in a position to capitalize on the opportunity at hand.

Educational resource Media Interview Best Practices

Note: Don’t force your talking points. Use them when the time is right and when they align with the current topic of discussion. Steering the conversation off-topic just to cover your ideal talking points can derail and devalue your interview.

Don’t Over Answer

Sometimes, less is more, and brevity goes a long way when it comes to media interviews. When the interviewer asks a question, make a pointed effort to answer in the most concise yet informative way possible.

Long-winded answers can negatively impact the cadence of the conversation. Keep the dialogue flowing naturally with brief but impactful answers.

And be sure to steer clear of industry jargon. Use terminology and provide examples the average person would understand. This adds a layer of clarity consumers crave.

Be Confident

If you come off as timid and uncertain, the audience will pick up on that and not take what you’re saying seriously.

You were approached by the journalist in the first place for a reason. You’re the expert. You’re the person they’re leaning on to add value to the story they’re building.

Believe in yourself and your experience and let it shine through during the interview.

Share Your Interview

Once your successful interview is live, share it with your audience. Here are a few ideas:

Our Inverted Pyramid Smart Start video is a valuable resource for learning how to properly structure your press release. Check it out!

Send a Thank You

Gratitude goes a long way. After your interview is live, make it a point to send the interviewer a “thank you” via email. This quick note of gratitude can help you stand out from the competition and better your chances for future interviews.

If your interview will be recorded and be published on radio, podcast, or video formats, be sure you choose a quiet environment with as little background noise as possible.

For video, choose a well-lit setting with a clear, non-distracting background.

For best results, do a test prior to the interview and make adjustments to your setting and equipment if necessary.

Get help with your press release distribution today!

Not sure what you need from a distribution partner or where to start? Newswire’s team of expert PR Strategists can conduct a free, comprehensive needs analysis to determine the right solution. In addition to press release distribution options, Newswire offers additional media and marketing communications support through the Press Release Optimizer.

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