Getting interviewed on a blog, podcast, radio show, or even TV show is an excellent way to gain exposure and to build your authority. But being a great interviewee is often easier said than done. I listen to talk radio quite a bit (mostly sports talk), and I’ve heard my fair share of interviews that made me cringe for the person being interviewed. Nervousness and unpreparedness can turn this golden opportunity into a damaging situation for your company.
Thankfully, there are several things you can do to prepare for a media interview. Here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Know your s*#!—Showing up to your interview unprepared reflects poorly on you and your business. You need to be ready to answer every question the reporter throws your way, but at the same time, if you truly don’t have an answer for a question, don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” Do your research and have some statistics and facts ready to support your answers.
2. Learn about the interviewer—First, learning about the interviewer is important because you don’t want to call the host Jim when his name is Tom. But that’s not the only reason it’s important. You need to understand what type of podcast, blog, or show the interviewer runs. Who is his target audience? What do they care about? What’s the tone of his content? The more you know about the interviewer, the better you’ll fit in.
3. Practice key points of your message—Make a list of a few (3-5) key points you want to address during your interview. Simplify them as much as possible, and practice talking about them so that you’ll be comfortable addressing them. Crafting your message can help you stay in control of the interview, making you appear calm and confident.
4. Beware of over preparing—Of course, there are two people involved in an interview, so you can’t control every aspect of it. While being prepared is a top priority, you don’t want to be so prepared that you’re incapable of handling any curveballs that might be thrown your way. If you’re over prepared, not only can you get blindsided by unexpected questions, but you can also end up sounding like a robot with your prepared answers.
5. Go beyond “yes” or “no” answers—If you want to tick an interviewer and his audience off, give short “yes” or “no” type answers to every question you’re asked. Or, deliver a bunch of old, tired, meaningless lines (like the athlete who says “We have to take it one game at a time”). However, if you want to be remembered, give thoughtful answers that incorporate your unique point of view and personal anecdotes. This engages the audience and helps you look your best.
How do you prepare for media interviews? Leave a comment with your best tip.