How to Successfully Conduct a Media Interview

by J.B. Maverick

2 min read

A media interview provides an unparalleled opportunity to obtain positive public relations exposure and advertising for your small business. For a new small business with a limited marketing budget, a media interview offers you the chance to get free advertising with a wide audience reach. An interview by the local newspaper or a local radio or television station can be immensely helpful in quickly spreading the word about your business, and without the necessity of spending a dollar on advertising. One of the other principal advantages of doing a media interview is it isn’t perceived as advertising, but as independent coverage of your business by a third party. Even if the interviewer doesn’t directly endorse your business, you nonetheless benefit from the enhanced credibility provided by the interview.

Preparing for an Interview

Just as with preparing to pitch to an important potential client or investor, it’s essential to come to a media interview well-prepared. Make sure to get a clear idea from the interviewer beforehand on the precise subject of the interview. Is the interview going to be focused on you, your company, the industry you operate in, or perhaps a new product or service you launched. Once you know the precise subject, you can gather and review the information you want to present, and take the opportunity to rehearse a bit with a colleague or friend. You can steer an interview in a desired direction by being the person who initiates it. You do this by issuing press releases, or more directly by telephoning or sending an email to a potential interviewer. Local news outlets are constantly looking for stories so the launch of your business, introduction of a new product, or reaching significant milestones in your business all afford an opportunity to get your business presented in the media.

During the Interview

When doing an interview, you want to present a solid, professional appearance and tone but also strive for a friendly, conversational manner of speaking. Media interviews present an opportunity to humanize your company and engage potential customers on a personal level. Avoid using industry-specific jargon. A common adage of public relations firms is to explain things in a manner that your grandmother could easily understand. Try to concentrate on the central thing you want to accomplish through the interview. It might be enhancing your position as an industry expert, revealing an innovation or new service your company is offering, or generating additional leads. If the interviewer asks a question and you don’t know the answer, acknowledge the question and then bridge the conversation to something else. An example of this is saying something like, “I understand your concern, but the main thing to understand is (fill in the blank).”

Productive Follow-Up

Don’t neglect to actively follow up after the interview. Send the interviewer a thank you note, along with any clarifications you feel the need to make. Try to get copies of articles, videos, or audios, so you can obtain additional benefits by sharing these liberally through your company’s social media outlets. Posting interviews on your company website can substantially boost your credibility and perception as an authority. You don’t want to overlook the significant potential advantages that good public relations in the form of media interviews can offer your small business. Integrate ongoing public relations efforts into your company’s overall marketing plan.

References & Resources

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