Positive and impactful media exposure, both in mainstream and social channels, starts with effective media training.
A successful interview producing powerful media coverage has multiple brand benefits:
- Catapults your brand exposure.
- Fosters credibility for your performance claims.
- Energizes your brand with customers and influencers.
- Delivers valuable third-party content for your channels.
- Helps control the message during the interview.
So, with so much riding on a successful interview, media training is a smart, savvy and no brainer exercise. Just winging it is dangerous and frankly reckless. Why? The media coverage can be damaging if it even happens. Bad interviews mean no brand coverage or a relationship with key influencers.
I recommend following these nine media training guidelines to ensure a successful interview and exposure that drives business:
- Identify and value the brand or company reasons and specific goals for an interview (beyond those listed above). Ask yourself, do you want to separate your brand from the
competition, position your spokesperson’s market and category expertise, accelerate new product introductions or support your team’s sell in to retailers and sales sites? If you can’t accomplish these or other goals, give an interview a second thought. Training and prep can take time to achieve success. But consider this, you will now be ready for future interviews. Here’s a simple but easily ignored piece of advice — be certain that your product is readily available for sale or distribution before you do an interview. Nothing frustrates buyers, sites and stores more than learning about product they can buy NOW.
- Nail your messaging — get your messaging down in a maximum of one to three points. Simple suggestion is to know and believe in the why your brand and how it specifically offers solutions in a novel way. Make them bitable. So one tip is to say 10 words and 100 words. State your “headline” in 10 and embellish in 100. “Uber is a simple and convenient way to get there. (10 words).” “You can arrange a ride Uber nearly everywhere through a smart phone app. You simply enter your location and destination and wait (shortly) and then ride to your office, home, show, restaurant or game. It’ simple and convenient and affordable travel. We have millions of people using Uber anywhere and anytime around the world. You charge the ride and can offer a tip from the card on file (70).” Consider how your subject matter (introduction, innovations or solution) addresses these news values. And use this comprehensive guide to supplement messaging development.
- Prepare and practice — take time to do as much planning as possible. Take out a piece of paper and write down every question can anticipate for the interview and formulate a tight, sound bitable answer. Ask members of your team to brainstorm potential questions too, even the most outlandish ones, so are taken off guard. Get in front of a camera also with a professional media trainer or even use your most challenging and confident team member. You can hire a former reporter to conduct interviews with you. Concentrate on your delivery and your presence so you appear to be a calm, engage and informed spokesperson. How much practice and preparation? Some experts recommend 10x the amount of time for a presentation and I recommend this for an interview. And dress appropriately for the interview. If business, wear business casual. If outdoors, wear what wear in sport. If in kitchen, don the chef’s apron. You get it. This reporter Beatrice Politi gives great “nuts and bolts” advice like DITCH jargon and every question is a new question; the viewer wasn’t there for original interview. So don’t say “as I said or again, I said.”
- Create interviewer profile – collect and study all the stories that this blogger or reporter has broadcast or written, so you can understand the type of interview you can expect as well as what this person is interested in. Consider asking if the reporter will send questions ahead of time. Explain that you want to be fully prepared and deliver an informed, compelling and valuable interview to enhance their story. Don’t be surprised if they don’t share them. They want a candid interview. Sometimes, producers do a “pre-interview” to see how good a spokesperson you are. If bad, and no media training shows that, you are rejected, and your trained competitor gets the spot (it happens). Begin following the reporter on all social channels
and even set up a Google alert on the person and his company. Trolling? No, they would be surprised if you didn’t.
- Dive deep and deeper like a media researcher – do a deep dive into your and leading competitors’ websites, all social channels and media coverage. The reporter will certainly do this research to be prepared and you should be equally prepared too.
- Think beyond the interviewer – what do your customers and team want to learn, understand and appreciate from your interview and media coverage? Give this considerable thought as you think messaging, conversation and most guidelines above.
- Have a conversation — while the media may have a reputation for being difficult, they really want to get information from you as a critical part of your story. So, while you want to be attentive and listen actively, think of this as being a conversation with a friend, although a friend who can challenge you for information. Don’t be fearful or act agitated. Be polite and cordial. See preparation above.
- Ready and willing to correct — don’t hesitate to correct a reporter who offers inaccurate information and who may be leading you to his or her point of view. Make a mental note during the live interview and have a notebook for radio and print interviews where you can track the interview. If you get asked why, tell the interviewer you want to give valued, accurate, informed and compelling answers.
- Bridge to make a point — you can take something the reporter says and bridge it to a point you want to make – “Yes, we do see some people becoming obsessed with social media and our platform might contribute to this, (bridge) we encourage them to take long breaks, have more live conversations and be mindful…”.
Immediately after the interview, thank the reporter. You can even send them a thank you note (old school note card) to stand out. When the story or post is published, send your thoughts, focus on positive. Start following the reporter and nurture your relationship by keeping reporter on your list and suggesting ideas for future stories on your company, category, innovations, etc.
So, how do you prepare for important interviews to get compelling exposure?
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