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Are You Ready for Your Media Interview?

by Paul Lima


You never know when journalists will call, so be prepared!


Continued from Part 1 of the article.


Embellish with anecdotes and stats

Embellish your key messages with anecdotes to add a human-interest element to your message. For instance, in order to convey how some people are paranoid of journalists, I often tell the story about the business owner who answered “no comment” to every question he was asked by a reporter. The interview was intended for a positive profile about recent business success. But with “no comment” as the only answer, the reporter could not write the positive profile.

When telling my “no comment” anecdote, I do not use the person’s name. But I also drop names when telling some of my media success stories. If you have case studies that illuminate your message, obtain permission to use the client’s name as that gives your anecdote greater credibility.

Here’s another important tip: have some interesting and relevant statistics handy and use them when appropriate, For instance, if a journalist asks me how important media relations is to business. I would say that public relations generates 28% of sales inquiries, second only to advertising (38%), according to a study by Inquiry Handling Services in California. If the journalist doesn’t ask about the importance of media relations, I weave that statistic into another answer – because I want my target audience to read it.

What if the journalist is concluding the interview and I haven’t worked my stats into an answer? It’s time for me to ask a question: “By the way, I have some stats that support the importance of media relations. Are you interested?” In most cases, the reporter will say yes and I then deliver my 20-second stats spiel.

Practice, Practice, Practice

After you develop your key messages and anecdotes, practice, practice, practice. If possible, have someone conduct a mock interview and tape your replies. Although it can be disconcerting to see yourself on tape, the best time to feel nervous is while you are rehearsing.

You may still have butterflies before the interview, but that’s normal. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to media interviews, I’d rather be prepared and nervous than unprepared and nervous!

***********************


About the Author: Paul Lima paullima.com is a freelance writer, writing coach, media trainer and the author of How to Write Media Releases: To promote your business, organization or event. He uses mock interviews to prepare business owners and executives for print and broadcast interviews. For more information, email: info@paullima.com, call 416-628-6005 or visit paullima.com/mediainterviews.
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