7 things to ask before agreeing to a media interview

media relations, PR, Pierman CommunicationsYou’re ecstatic – you’ve finally landed a media interview about your business!

Your first thought is: “Cool!”

Your second is: “Now what?”

The good news is that you have an interview. The bad news is that you should never have gotten this far without having an experienced PR person to guide you.

That’s because there are many other important questions that need to be asked before agreeing to any media interview. For instance:

  • Does your target audience consume this media?
  • Are you familiar with the reporter’s work?
  • What kind of angle does the reporter have in mind? Is it positive?
  • What are the most likely questions the reporter will ask?
  • Are there any hot-button issues that could come up during the interview?
  • What type of media is it? Print, broadcast, digital, etc.
  • Knowing all this, what is the risk vs. benefit of participating?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you’re not ready for an interview. You’re ready to call a PR professional who will find out the answers to these questions and more.

What’s your goal for a media interview?

My goal is to prepare clients for whatever comes their way. I want to help them achieve their business goals and to feel comfortable and confident during every interview. Sometimes that means saying no to an opportunity.

For example, I had a client whose friend connected her with a business reporter (without my knowledge). She was thrilled about the prospect of an interview. Hey, any coverage is good coverage, right?

Wrong. You want your media relations plan to advance your business plan.

In this case, the reporter covered startups. While my client’s business might have been considered a startup in some aspects, the real goal was to attract customers.

Since the product was food-related, I suggested we bypass the business section of the paper and approach the food editor instead. The result? A column by the editor that generated plenty of interest from not only customers, but from other media.

The lesson? Slow down, be thoughtful and evaluate each media opportunity to determine if it’s a good fit before saying yes.

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PR Tip

How to Craft a Successful TV pitch

Always remember that, when pitching the media, it’s important to consider what they want.

And what does TV news want most of all? Visuals, and lots of them.

Today’s audiences like action, and lots of it. With the advent of social media, attention spans are dwindling by the second. In order to grab and keep viewers, you have to keep offering information that is interesting and relevant.

No media outlet wants to air a static interview where you see only talking heads. Think about B-roll, background video that you can provide to help illustrate your story. Consider using statistics to create a graphic. Offer before and after photos, provide logos of your business, write bullet points that can be superimposed, or “supered,” onscreen, give them your web address, etc.

Most important, remember it’s not all about what you want. To successfully pitch a topic, consider what audiences want, and you’ll likely get the chance to tell your story.

What Sue’s Clients Say

Sue has an extraordinary ability to connect with the media. She is gifted at finding angles that appeal to news directors and reporters and is meticulous in preparing her guests for interviews. Sue worked with Stillwaters Cancer Support Services to promote our annual Hospital Food Fight fundraiser. Not only did she secure a slot for us on The Morning Blend, our target audience, but she walked us through every aspect of the interview.

Immediately after the show aired, registrations and calls were coming in. We got rave reviews for our interview skills on the show, and it was all because of Sue’s expert coaching. She also helped promote the interview and the event via social media. I can’t recommend her highly enough - her media connections, media training, writing and editing are stellar.

Theresa Reagan, Executive Director, Stillwaters Cancer Support Services, Waukesha, Wis.