You’ve been working really hard to share your business story at every available opportunity and this effort has finally paid off with a call from a journalist to arrange an interview.
As tempting as it is to freak out and avoid the call (yes this does actually happen), the best course of action is to take a deep breath and follow these five tips to help give an interview worth quoting:
1. Deadlines – the journalist contacting you for an interview will only have so much time to put the story together. If you are not available within that time frame they will look elsewhere, so always ask when the deadline is and work with it.
2. Buy time – it is not often you will be forced to speak on the spot (unless you’re doing a vox pop in the street), so ask the journalist for an outline of their story, if they can send you some questions for you to think about and then agree on a time for the interview.
3. Prepare – use the time between the initial call and the interview to prepare the 3-4 main points you want to highlight and gather some statistics to back these points up (journalists love stats). Think about your answers to any potentially difficult questions as well, making sure you bring everything back to the points you want to focus on.
4. Keep it snappy – the best interviews are those full of 5-10 second ‘sound grabs’ that can be used as quotes on radio/TV or in a written piece. Watch the news tonight or read an article and see how long each expert speaks to see what I mean.
5. You’re the expert – the journalist has contacted you because they need to know information you have. You can ask to see your quotes for accuracy, but you may get a no. Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of being interviewed, just keep focusing on your key points and then you can’t get in trouble.
Once you see or hear what the journalist produced from your interview, keep in mind it is unlikely to be exactly as you thought it would be. If you’re happy with it let the journalist know. If you’re unhappy think carefully before responding – inaccurate facts can be corrected via a polite email, but journalists hate being corrected so tread carefully.
A journalists’ job is to tell a story in the best way possible, so you’ll be their best friend, and more likely to be contacted again, if you can make that job easier.