Today we have a blog post from Rosemarie Ascherl, PR Foreman at Sonnhalter, discussing tips for successful media interviews.
Do you ever pick up an industry trade journal and wonder why your company’s perspective hasn’t been included? Editors often rely on “round-up” articles, which entail interviewing several manufacturers’ spokespeople to develop an industry trend story. The trick to getting your company included in these stories is to portray your company as a thought leader.
Proactively developing and leveraging relationships with the media to make sure your company is included in round-up articles is fairly easy to do. Your marketing communications firm has these relationships and can facilitate the media interviews with your company spokesperson.
Once an interview is scheduled, what do you need to do?
- If you don’t know the editor, familiarize yourself with the editor by reviewing past issues of the publication and checking out the editor’s LinkedIn profile.
- Make sure your calendar is blocked for the interview and you are in a quiet office where you will not be interrupted. Most interviews are conducted in a simple 15- to 30-minute phone conversation. Editors are always working against deadlines, so cancelling or postponing an interview could mean you’re not included in the article – or worse, your competitor gets included instead!
- Request questions prior to the interview. Editors sometimes provide you with questions to guide the conversation. Make sure you review the questions before the interview and give them some thought. It doesn’t hurt to talk them through with a colleague that may have additional input.
- Sometimes the conversation will veer from the questions, but know what you want to tell the editor. The editor should be able to walk away with three to four main points regarding the subject.
- Follow up, or have your public relations representative follow up, with appropriate press materials or graphics that you reference in your conversation.
- Do not tell the media anything you don’t want to see in print. Be honest. If the editor asks you a question you aren’t prepared to answer, tell him or her you’ll get back to them with an answer [and then be sure to follow up].
- Do not expect to see the article before it is published. Some editors will provide you with a chance to review your comments; however, this is merely a courtesy and should not be presumed. If given the opportunity to review the article, stick to checking the facts you provided and don’t attempt to alter the editor’s writing style.
- Thank the editor for the coverage. And of course, offer your assistance and time for future articles that the editor might need help with.
Once the editor knows you’re a well-prepared, reliable source, they will be inclined to request your opinions for future articles—resulting in more valuable editorial content for your company!