Executive Media Interview: Helpful Training Guide to Elevate Your
Skills in 2024

25/04/2024



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Do you remember your first interview? The sweaty hands, the nervous stomach, stumbling over words as you tried to string together coherent answers. It’s a nerve-wracking experience, especially when trying to land that crucial internship for a first job. But, not all interviews are set up like this. Media interviews, in particular, offer a unique opportunity to showcase your brand’s message. But only if you know how to effectively communicate with reporters.

The media landscape is always changing, which is why it’s important to use strategies that will connect you with your audience. One of the best ways to do so is through media interviews. They help give your brand a human connection.

With the right skills and preparation, you can make your voice heard and convey your brand’s identity in a professional and knowledgeable manner. Let’s delve into some essential strategies for mastering your next media interview.

Looking for advice on how to turn down a media interview? We talk about it here.

Think of them just like conversations! Media interviews don't need to be scary, just answer the question with confidence and be yourself.

Media Interviews

Media interviews present an invaluable opportunity to connect with a journalist or personnel for the purpose of publicizing your brand. While they can be unpredictable, with journalists often asking tough questions to craft compelling stories, they are also highly informative and can significantly elevate your brand’s visibility.

Most interviews can occur across various platforms, including virtual interviews, in-person interviews, or television interviews. Regardless of the platform, there are a few things to remember when you are being interviewed.

News media channels have been turning more commonly toward virtual interviews after the pandemic.

Read about J.O.’s approach to public relations work.

Prior Research

Upon receiving a call from a reporter, try to find out their name, title, employer, the subject of their story, and how you can help them do their job. Understanding their perspective and the context of the interview is crucial for tailoring your responses effectively. If you are the right person for the interview, it’s time to begin preparing.

First, spend a little time researching the interviewer and the publication. This media training will give insights into what type of questions they ask when conducting a media interview, and their editorial stance. Understanding their perspective can help tailor your conversational style appropriately and can help you anticipate questions for successful media interviews.

You may not always be able to get on the same page as your interviewer, but you can prep for the conversation with some research.

The actual interview typically won’t come with a question list in advance. Take the time to familiarize yourself with potential questions and formulate thoughtful responses. This groundwork ensures you’re equipped to communicate your brand or company’s most important points professionally and effectively.

Key Messages

Main ideas are crucial. Keep your three main ideas at top-of-mind while preparing for the interview. You want every answer to relate to one of the three points you want to get across. What is the number one thing you want your audience to understand? Make sure you develop responses tailored to these main ideas.

These talking points will help you remain focused and not stray from the question being asked. Sometimes, these are agreed on and given before the interview, which gives the reporter key message points, and helps both parties know what direction the interview is going in.

Executives at the C-suite level often undergo extensive briefing sessions to prepare for big media interviews. Preparation is key and will help you feel confident and more at ease when answering. After all, you have all of the knowledge. Remember that this is an opportunity to share your insights and generate a positive impression. Practice until you feel comfortable with what you want to say, and how you want to say it.

Before the camera turns on, be sure you practice your most important point and any sound bites you'd like to provide.

Be Respectful

In order to have a successful media interview, you have to be respectful of the journalist’s time and questions. Show up on time, maintain eye contact, and answer questions honestly and concisely. Steer clear of jargon and filler words, ensuring your responses resonate with the audience and align with the interviewer’s objectives.

Recognize that anything you say is fair game and can be quoted. Be mindful of your body language and facial expressions, especially in filmed interviews, and aim for clear and confident communication during the media interview. Be weary of your facial expressions, especially if you are being filmed.

Keep It Simple

Less is more when it comes to media interviews. At the end of the day, this is just an everyday conversation, where the media outlet is hoping to find out more about you and your brand’s message. When in doubt, it’s better to use short sentences, so the reporter can take direct quotes easily. Another good rule of thumb is to avoid jargon, because anything you say can be used by the reporter, so sometimes it’s better to just stop talking.

In interviews, remember to maintain good eye contact and stick to your talking points.

After the Interview

After the media interview, you should take a look at how you did. Did you make sure to cover key messages and key talking points? If it was a television interview, did you maintain eye contact? Did you speak clearly and confidently? Were you aware of your body language and answers to the interviewer’s questions?

Reflecting on your performance is crucial for improvement. Consider recording your interviews to review them later. This allows you to analyze your delivery, identify areas for improvement, and refine your communication skills for the next interview.

Make sure to follow up with the interviewer, thanking them for their time, and inquiring if there are any additional information or clarification needed. Reporters sometimes begin crafting their story, and find themselves needing another quote, or more information on a certain topic or important point. Know that the editing process could take a few weeks before you see the final product. Building a rapport with journalists can strengthen your relationship and increase the likelihood of future media opportunities.

Mastering media interviews requires preparation, skill and confidence. By implementing the strategies outlined above, you can effectively communicate your brand’s message, build credibility, and leave a lasting impression on your audience. Remember, media interviews are not about just selling a product or service; they’re about sharing valuable insights and connecting with your audience on a human level.

See how J.O. Agency prepped Flix Brewhouse for interviews ahead of and following the grand opening of their Mansfield, TX location.

Work with J.O. Ahead of Your Next Big Interview

If you’re looking to enhance your media interview skills and maximize your impact, please consider partnering with us at J.O. Agency. Our experienced team offers comprehensive media training tailored to your specific needs, helping your navigate interviews with confidence and professionalism. Contact us today and take your communication skills to the next level.

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