Have you ever been scared by the prospect of a media interview?
You realise it’s a wonderful publicity opportunity when a newspaper, TV or a radio station calls you and asks for your opinions. But, there’s always this nagging uncertainty and unfamiliarity that stops you in your tracks?
Publicity Favours the brave. This is my advice to help you seek out and relish each and every interview opportunity that comes your way.
1. Expect to be mis-quoted in publicity.
Mis-quoting and mis-reporting can happen. This can occasionally be down to carelessness on the journalist’s part. Or sometimes expect the journalist to use different quotes than you were hoping. Or because he/she already has his story planned before he speaks to you and wants your comments to fit in with his story. His loyalty is to his editor and his readers – not to only represent you accurately.
If you expect to be mis-quoted – more often than not, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised. And your interview will be perfect.
2. Minimise the chances of being mis-quoted.
For written interviews, you can sometimes ask for the questions to be emailed then prepare some written answers. This works if you can write with authority using plain English – basically the way you would speak. If your writing is good, journalists often copy and paste large chunks of your copy. This gives you more control over how you appear in print.
The chances of being mis-quoted in a radio or TV interview are, of course, very slim …
3. You will have heard this before: Don’t speak off the record.
Everything you say is fair game. To reassure you it is rare that journalists want to trip you up. Most are really decent people – despite what you may read! If you go into interviews expecting to be stitched up your tone will be guarded and insincere.
4. Speak with passion, expertise and authority.
Readers won’t remember too much about the detail of your information so don’t obsess about it. Some PR pros won’t like this, but don’t obsess about delivering key messages too much either. If you’re constantly trying to recall a mental check list of points to make each time you answer a question, you’ll be stilted and awkward in your replies. Be familiar with the details of your subject. But, above all, be yourself. Offer opinions. Say what you think.
You really need to mess up an interview pretty badly to have a detrimental effect on your business. But they will hopefully remember how you come across. Give it plenty of passion. (People buy from people they know, like and trust.)
5. Before the interview, ask where it’s going to be used
… and get an understanding for who the readers are. Speak with them in mind when you answer the questions.
6. Aside from the interviews, build and maintain relationships with journalists.
Help them where you can, even if there is no direct benefit to you in doing so. This isn’t about gaining favour. It’s about being a decent useful member of the business community and behaving with integrity. The kind of people who always reflect well in the media.
Don’t ask to see a copy before it goes. Just pre-prepare as above and deliver a brilliant interview.
The better your interview; and, the more you give the journalist what he/she wants with minimum hassle – the more chance you have of being used in the future. And after all, practice makes perfect.
Publicity favours the brave. So say what you think and share your opinions with passion and confidence. Good luck!
Richard Glynn will help you stand out, build influence and become easier to buy from.
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