How to Prepare for a Media Interview

So your PR efforts have paid off and a journalist has arranged to interview you. Congratulations!

Your work is far from finished, however. Now you have to prepare.

One of the often overlooked elements of preparing for a media interview is to get more information from the reporter.

Here are 10 questions you should ask before your media interview:

1. Whom do you write for?

Know which media outlet the reporter works for. Do some background research, just to make sure they’re legit, but also to get a better understanding of their readers/viewers/listeners, editorial style and biases (you’ll be surprised; the media aren’t as objective as you thought).

2. What types of articles do you write for your publication?

If the journalist writes features, then you’ll know that you should be armed with human interest stories. If he writes news items, then have all your data with you.

3. What story are you writing now?

Know in what context your interview will appear. It could be just a part of a bigger story, in which case the journalist may be using your story to illustrate a point. Or you could be the entire story. Either way, it’s good to know exactly how your interview will be used.

4. When’s your deadline?

By knowing this, you can respond to her requests in a timely manner–which you should always do anyway.

5. Are you contacting other companies?

Not that you’re demanding exclusivity, but it’s good to know whether competitors or complementary businesses will be featured alongside yours.

6. Would you like a sample of my product or service?

The reporter may forget to ask, so be proactive and offer a sample.

7. Would you like a customer reference?

Again, this is something the reporter may overlook. Be ready with feedback or testimonials from your happy customers. They may just be quoted in the piece!

8. What trends or issues are you seeing in this segment?

This is good market research for you. It will also help you frame your answers so you can be more relevant.

9. How did you hear about my company?

This is a good way to find out which of your PR efforts are paying off.

10. When is the story scheduled to run?

Don’t expect the reporter to give you copies of your interview when it’s published or aired. Be ready to monitor and file your own copies.

These are just some of the most important questions you can ask a journalist before your media interview. Don’t be timid about getting the information you need to go into the interview prepared and confident.

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