Top 9 Media Interview Tips and Skills Business Owners
Need to Master

16/05/2024



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Media interviews — they can make your stomach churn, turn you into a thought leader and even raise the profile of a reporter. When you step back and look at the possibilities though, successful media interviews also communicate your key message points and allow an audience to get to know you and/or your brand better.

While it’s reasonable to approach a media interview with some trepidation, there are tips and skills you can work on to not only prepare yourself, but build yourself into a great interviewee. You want your voice heard and you likely have key points you want to communicate. Let’s talk about how to get you ready for anything a reporter asks and how to nail your next media interview.

Nervous about being interviewed? We'll fix that with the tips in this post about media interview.

What to Know About Media Interviews

A successful media interview is an opportunity to connect with a journalist or interviewer with a platform for the purpose of publicizing your brand. While they can be unpredictable, interviews 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, podcast interviews and television interviews. Regardless of the platform, we have some key tips for how to prepare for your next interview.

Looking for more on media interview preparation? Check out other J.O. blogs:

Tips for Communicating Your Key Messages

1. Do your research ahead of time.

Before you sit down for the interview, you’ll want to do some research on the interviewer or journalist conducting the interview, the outlet they represent, and the audience for the interview. All of these details will help you guess what kinds of questions you might be asked, prepare your answers and tailor your own talking points.

2. Anticipate questions.

In case you missed it in the answer above, make sure you consider what kinds of questions you might be asked. Just as you might have goals for this interview and certain things you want to communicate, the journalist or interviewer probably has their own as well. From your own personal story to the history of the organization to your current work, think through the topics that are likely to come up. Anticipating questions will help you prepare your answers and any stories you might like to share.

3. Prepare key messages

You and/or your organization likely have a reason for doing this interview. Media interviews present a great opportunity to share key messages about a product, event, or change in your organization. Make sure you work with your team’s communications director or a PR professional to figure out the crucial points you are hoping to share and how to say them clearly and concisely. We recommend no more than three points that you want to communicate.

Preparing key messaging ahead of time will help you communicate your ideas and feel in control during your interview.

4. Avoid jargon.

As you work on how to talk about your business and your brand’s message, make sure you think through how to use language that everyone will understand. Consider the acronyms that people in your field know, but outsiders most likely do not — you may want to explain those instead of rattling off the letters. Not sure which words in your messaging are jargon? Practice your messaging on a friend or family member and ask what terms they’re not familiar with.

5. Be confident and be yourself.

A successful interview starts with not only feeling but coming across as comfortable. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be. Make sure you spend time thinking through potential questions, practicing how you want to communicate your key talking points and feeling comfortable in the interview setting.

You may want to ask someone to help you prep with a mock interview so you can get the jitters out. When you sit down with the reporter, remember that you are an authority on your subject and have a wealth of information to offer.

6. Stay on message and be concise.

In an interview, it’s important to stay focused on your messaging. Stories or rabbit trails that pop up in your brain during the interview — don’t chase them! Keep your messaging at the front of your mind and stick to it. If your interview is on television, you may be under real time constraints as well. Work on keeping your answers concise. Once you’ve said what you’ve wanted and/or needed to say, stop talking. Forbes has a great tip about using silence to your advantage that’s worth checking out here.

7. Make sure you have good eye contact.

Remember that your interview is essentially a conversation between you and the interviewer. Therefore, eye contact is key to building a connection. Generally speaking, eye contact is considered a nonverbal sign that you are being honest. You may be accustomed to easy eye contact in an in-person situation, but for virtual interviews, you’ll want to practice looking in the camera and not the person on your screen. It will probably feel unnatural which is why we recommend practicing ahead of time.

8. Dress for success.

You will absolutely want to put some thought into what you wear in the interview. Will you be seated for the entirety of the interview or will you stand and/or walk at some point? This can make a difference in what you wear. Overall, you’ll want to be comfortable, but also appropriate. More than anything, you want viewers to focus on your words, so make sure you choose something that will not distract. Patterns are typically avoided and solid colors are considered more camera-friendly.

As the spokesperson for your business, make sure you dress appropriately for your interview.

9. Practice, practice, practice.

One of the best ways to build confidence and feel prepared is to practice multiple times. Review how you will handle tough questions, make sure you speak slowly and go over the comments you’re hoping to use as sound bites. You can practice your answers in the mirror, but you may also consider a mock interview as well. This is your chance to focus on eliminating filler words from your answers as well.

For more on key messages in your public relations strategy, check out these blogs:

Let’s Work On Your Key Message Together

Let’s get you ready for your next media interview. J.O. Agency specializes in public relations — from media training to crisis communication. See our work with clients including Susan G. Komen and Flix Brewhouse here. You can reach us through our website or call 817-335-0100 today.

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